Castleford Tigers star Luke Gale believes increased competition for places can drive the team to success in 2017.
With Greg Eden and Zak Hardaker brought in, Rangi Chase’s deal made permanent and Michael Shenton and Ben Roberts back in training after missing much of 2016 there is big competition in Gale’s half-back position and among the rest of the backs.
Gale reckons this can make Cas real contenders for silverware this year.
He said: “I think the recruitment we’ve made is outstanding.
“We’ve made some great signings. Jesse’s ripped in straight away and he’s put on board what Powelly has asked of him. Zak is training outstanding and Greg Eden and the London boys as well.
“It’s been really good and we are looking forward to an exciting year.
“It’s probably a good dilemma to have as to who to play in some of the positions like half-back.
“We’ve got real strength in depth this year.
“Benny will add to the squad. Rangi’s looking good and a lot fitter, we’ve two or three options at full-back so it will be a good decision to make on who to pick. We’ll let Powelly think about that somewhere down the line.”
Gale sees improving the defence as the key to the Tigers improving from their fifth place of the last two years.
He added: “We’ve finished fifth both years I’ve been at Cas, just not quite getting there, but if we shore up defensively - and the signings we’ve made can help that - then we can kick on to the next level.
“I think we can beat anybody on the day, it’s just the consistency we lacked at times last year.
“We’ve worked hard on improving defensively already. I think we’ve got a real chance.
“The injuries cost us massively last year. But although they didn’t obviously help the young players that came in, the likes of Greg Minikin, were kind of helped as they got blooded a lot earlier than they thought. It can only bring them on.
“We’ve got a fighting fit Michael Shenton back and we missed him last year. On and off the field he’s a great leader and he’s looking sharp in training so I think he’ll be ready to go.”