He may have lifted the League Leaders’ Shield for the first time in the club’s history last year, but Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton believes there is unfinished business and more to come from the team in 2018.
While it was a great achievement to finish top of Super League, the long time Castleford favourite felt defeat in the Grand Final left a sour taste and there is a real determination to go one better and win a final this year.
He told the Express: “We want to move on from last year and kick on again.
“Our goals are very high and we want to achieve something this year. To do that we’re going to have to be right on top of our game and everyone’s standards will have to be extremely high.
“We’ve got to play consistent football like we did last year and I’ve got no doubt that this group of players can do it. It’s a motivated team.
“To win a final is always your aim, but the general belief is there that we can this year.
“But what you’ve got each season is fresh challenges and you’ve got to get to grips with all the challenges you are going to be faced with. It’s a different feel and people will look at us different from the outside, but we will focus on ourselves.
“At the back of our mind we’ve got to realise we are more of a target on the perch now ready to get knocked off and teams will be really focused when they play us now.
“Maybe more teams will be coming after us after how well we played for most of last year. But I don’t think with Daryl in charge and with the experience in our group that we will be complacent at all. We will be ready to go and very difficult to play against.”
Shenton feels the warm weather camp in Lanzarote that the Tigers are now heading for can play a big part again in fine tuning preparations for the campaign ahead.
He said: “We’ve got to get that special feeling we had last year.
“When we came home from Lanzarote last year we were thinking we can do something special – and we ended up doing that. We’ve got to get that again and focus on 2018 and make sure we’re ready to go.
“We’re not quite ready for the season, but there’s still a few weeks to go and we’ve got a nice camp now when we can work on things. It’s not major things, but if you want to reach the highest standard it takes to win games in Super League consistently you’ve got to have all the basics down and have something a bit extra ready to go.
“It helps us that we’ve already got a platform from the last few years what we know and our understanding’s pretty good. The new guys coming in are getting to grips with it as well now so we’re feeling pretty good.”
Shenton added: “The training camp in Lanzarote has been good for us.
“It’s something we look forward to in pre-season and we’re excited about going out there, getting some work down and hopefully we can enjoy a bit of sunshine. That always makes things feel a little bit better.”