Skipper hopes Castleford Tigers learn from final experience

Castleford captain Michael Shenton is held by Kallum Watkins in the Tetley's Challenge Cup final.
Castleford captain Michael Shenton is held by Kallum Watkins in the Tetley's Challenge Cup final.

Inspirational captain Michael Shenton believes that the experience of playing at Wembley can stand Castleford Tigers in good stead for more big games to come this season.

Shenton was bitterly disappointed to be on the losing side against Leeds Rhinos at Wembley, but reckons the experience gained can only be good for the side

He said: “I think winning could have benefited us more, but just to be part of this is something special in any player’s career and is not to be looked on lightly.

“The boys have handled themselves great and the preparation has been good and Leeds were just a little bit too good for us.

“I think we showed in glimpses that we can match them (Leeds) and we can better them so moving forward the belief is definitely there.

“Once we sit down and break this game down, where can we change things, where can we get better, it’s only going to help us as a team.

“They are a great set of blokes and something like this experience could galvanise us and bring us closer together.”

Shenton admitted it was the first half that cost the Tigers their chance of final glory against Leeds.

He said: “We didn’t give ourselves a chance in the first half.

“Leeds had a plan, really stuck to it and we found it hard to get out of that rut and get ourselves going.

“We changed things around a little bit and it really worked. I think we were the better team for the majority of the second half, but there’s no excuses.

“We did show some quality and the effort was there, but we were not quite good enough and it’s disappointing to say that as I feel we have enough to beat them.

“It is a shame. Leeds were a better team though and there’s no qualms with that.”

Shenton said the experience had made him more determined to return to Wembley again and get his hands on the famous Challenge Cup trophy.

He added: “It has been a special week and I’m so proud to have been a part of it and to lead the boys was a great moment for me.

“I want more of it now. The hunger to get more of this and do ourselves better justice is right there.”