Castleford Tigers star Paul McShane believes that his team have already shown that they can be true top four contenders this season.
The Tigers have been tipped to do well in 2017 and sent out an early message to their rivals with a 44-16 win over newly promoted Leigh Centurions in the first game.
McShane played a big part in the convincing victory and he backed up the growing belief that Cas can compete for trophies this year.
He said: “We believe we can be a top four side.
“As long as we as a group believe that and we keep pushing ourselves at training to get to that position, then it is all on us.
“We have always known we can play, but we have proved we can defend (against Leigh).
“We knew we had to be on our game because they would come here firing.
“The first 20-25 minutes was really tough, but luckily we came out on top at the end of that.
“We have always been able to attack, it’s the defensive side of things we’ve made massive improvements on.
“There were some little blips in there, but on the whole I thought our defensive performance was great.”
McShane is enjoying his rugby at Castleford after arriving in 2015 and has been tipped by head coach Daryl Powell to go on to push for international honours.
He added: “I’ve been around a bit and I feel like I’ve found my home here.
“I have got a lot of confidence off my coaches and the players around me and that’s pushing me to keep pushing myself and improving myself.”
McShane’s run in the team, going back to 2015, is in danger of being interrupted after he was given a Grade B dangerous throw charge by the Rugby League for his first minute tackle on Leigh’s Gareth Hock.
The 27-year-old faces a possible two-match ban, but he has an early guilty plea available that would reduce it to one - meaning he would miss the trip to Warrington but be okay to face former team Leeds Rhinos the week after.