Castleford Tigers players will have fire in their bellies as they aim to make up for their Grand Final disappointment in the upcoming Super League season.
That is the view of Tigers World Cup player Ben Roberts, who believes the team can use the memory of the defeat to Leeds to their advantage to drive them on this year.
He told the Express: “It was a really good season last year and good to be part of. But with the standard we set ourselves at this club it was disappointing the way we finished.
“After all the hard work we put in over the year to get to the Grand Final to put in that sort of performance was probably the most disappointing thing.
“Credit to Leeds, I thought they played really well and they deserved the win.
“Some of the boys at the time probably didn’t realise just what an opportunity was in front of them.
“After that the fire in the belly should be burning a bit more now.
“There’s definitely a determination to go the whole way this time.”
Roberts reckons the Cas team is shaping up well ahead of next month’s opening game.
He said: “I think our squad’s looking pretty good.
“The depth of the squad is good and that’s a big thing over here.
“We’ve done well to sign a few players who have come in to challenge for positions. Also the young kids we have brought up from our 19s are doing well.
“We want people challenging for positions. No-one’s safe and that’s the way it should be.
“You’ve got young Jake Trueman in the halves challenging Jamie Ellis for the stand-off position. Calum Turner is challenging myself for the full-back position and there’s Jy Hitchcox, Garry Lo and James Clare challenging Greg Eden and Greg Minikin on the wings so there’s a lot of competition in the outside backs.
“We’re all looking forward to the challenges and happy to take that on.”
Roberts was late joining his team-mates in pre-season training after playing for Samoa in the World Cup, an experience he enjoyed.
He added: “Obviously it was a bit disappointing with our on-field performance, but off the field the World Cup was great.
“It was good to be part of a great competition and to see three Pacific Island teams doing so well can only be good for the game.
“Hopefully it will open eyes up for young kids coming through now and making them want to play rugby league.
“Rugby league has definitely given the countries a boost. Hopefully they can try and work out a system where more and more kids will want to play for the Pacific nations and represent their country.”