Castleford Tigers players are back from training camp and raring to get out onto the playing field after impressing head coach Daryl Powell with their efforts so far to be in shape for the start of the 2015 Super League season.
Powell is pleased with the way pre-season is progressing and says everyone is now ready for the first of five warm-up games, which comes against local rivals Featherstone Rovers, at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday, December 28.
He told the Express: “We’re into our seventh week of pre-season and things are going well.
“We’ve got a real good understanding of how we want to play and the relationships and combinations are building up.
“I’m looking forward to us getting on the field and obviously we start against Featherstone in just under a couple of weeks.
“It’s a good opportunity for some guys to test themselves and put their names forward for consideration for that first game.”
Powell took his squad to the Yorkshire Dales last week for a week-long training camp and believes the trip will be of big benefit in the year to come.
He said: “We walked up Pen-y-Ghent, we did some caving and lots of team work and team tasks. It was aimed at pulling the new guys together and we’ve obviously got quite a few this year.
“It was a good mix, a little bit different and there was a little bit of social in there as well.
“It highlighted a few areas that we’ll be looking to improve as well so overall I was really pleased with it.
“It’s good to see people in different settings and see where the leadership is going to come from.
“We were also looking to find out a little bit more about people so it was a really good exercise.
“It’s important to have a little bit of a different venue. Obviously we haven’t been going anywhere with sunshine around so there was a little bit of hardship involved, but it wasn’t about going to an Army camp, it was more about team building and learning about the group.
“It is good to get a different venue for players after they’ve been in pre-season for six or seven weeks. It breaks it up a little bit and freshens it up as well.”
Powell is also pleased with the way his eight new signings are taking to life at Castleford and happy with the squad he has put together.
He added: “The new boys have all settled in well. Ben Roberts and Junior Moors came over a little bit later, but they’ve settled pretty quickly.
“I’m pretty pleased with the new guys and the way they are going, how much they are finding about the way we play and how much they are learning about the people who were already at the club. I think we’ve got a good mix.
“Everybody’s back in training now. Shenny was the last one to come back in last week for the camp.
“We’ve got a pretty big squad. There’s a few young players in there, but age shouldn’t be a barrier. There’s competition for places with real depth that’s quite exciting.”