Castleford Tigers winger Kirk Dixon admits it would be a huge disappointment to the players if their efforts so far this season do not end up in an achievement of some kind.
With the season heading for the run-in Castleford are still in the running on two fronts in the First Utility Super League and the Tetley’s Challenge Cup, where they are one win away from a Wembley appearance, and they are desperate to take the campaign as far as they can.
Dixon, who has been with the Tigers since 2007, described this year as his most enjoyable season at the club - but only so far as he is quick to point out that they have won nothing yet.
He said: “We’re big believers in that we haven’t done anything yet. We don’t want to look back at the end of the season and saying we did all right, but...
“It would be disappointing from the players’ point of view because we’ve worked so hard.
“Pre-season was tough and we did give it to each other. The emphasis was on tightening our defence up because we’ve always been known to be able to throw the ball around and it’s all right to do this, but if you are conceding too many points you can lose the game.
“If we don’t do something this year we’ll look back and say we started off well, but didn’t finish the job.”
Dixon said his only major goal at the start of the season was to become a regular starter as he knew he faced stiff competition for a place in the Tigers back division.
He said: “This year everyone’s target was just to make the 17 because the squad Daryl assembled was fantastic and everyone’s got Super League experience.
“In years gone past if we lost a player we were relying on a young kid to fill the spot. But this year we’ve got people with Super League games experience and they could fill straight in so you knew that if you weren’t on your game you weren’t going to be playing.
“I just try and contribute where I can. We’ve got players who can win you games out of nothing, but if I can contribute a little bit to the team doing something then that’s great from my point of view.”
Dixon said the players knew they were onto something this season with their work with the coaching staff before it started, but their confidence really grew after they made a flying start to the campaign.
He added: “Internally we always had some belief, just looking round on the camp at the quality we had.
“There was always that belief, but we knew we were coming up against some fantastic teams.
“Once we got playing in the friendlies we noticed what we could do and we started to believe.
“Then we started the season pretty well and the belief grew. We’ve managed to push on and keep on doing what we have been doing well.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good position, but we’ve not done anything yet so we need to keep working really hard.
“There’s a good buzz in the camp and I think that is down to winning, it breeds confidence and that’s what we’ve got at the minute.
“It’s nice to be in an environment where we are winning and we’d like to keep that going.
“We’ve got a group that keeps our feet firmly on the ground and if you don’t do that Daryl (Powell) is one who will bring you straight down again.
“Daryl cuts the games down to blocks and we never really look past the next game.
“I’ve never experienced breaking the season down into blocks before and I think it helps, it gives you a focus. Touch wood, it’s proving to work.
“After the quarter-final your attention went straight to that semi-final because there’s a massive prize at the end of it. But once we’d enjoyed that win it was back into Super League.
“The gap between the quarter and semi-final is massive and we’d given ourselves a good opportunity to get into that eight in Super League and didn’t want to waste that opportunity. So it was straight back down to business.
“You could look that far ahead, but if you’re not playing well in those games you wouldn’t get picked because the squad’s good enough for anybody to play. So it is one game at a time and looking at your own form as well.”