Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton has laid down the gauntlet to his team-mates: saying it is time for them to cement their legacy by winning a major trophy.
The Tigers did win the League Leader’s Shield in 2017, but have fallen just short of the Super League title in the last two seasons, losing in the Grand Final two years ago before the play-off semi-finals last season.
Add to that a Challenge Cup final loss in 2014, and Shenton admits Castleford have let themselves down at key moments in recent years – something he has promised will change this season, which begins for Castleford on Friday against Catalans.
When asked if it was time for them to win a trophy, he told League Express: “Absolutely. The ultimate goal is to win something and while it’s hard to speak about it before you’ve played a game, I look at our team and believe we should be challenging to win something this season.
“We have to keep doing what we’ve been doing and do better in those big games. We had a lot of injuries that marred our fluency and things like that, but getting to the semi-final was always the goal.
“It was always a big ask going there to Wigan to get it done, but we didn’t challenge them enough and we let ourselves down. That’s two years in a row that’s happened at the wrong time, so it needed addressing. This is a big season for Castleford Tigers.”
Shenton has also insisted that Castleford are ‘more than capable’ of competing for silverware this season despite the likely season-long loss of England international Luke Gale.
He said: “There were times when we were looking around thinking we needed Luke for the big games last year, but we know that realistically, we’ve got to plan without him this year.
“It was a real kick in the teeth when he did it for us, but we’ve got some fantastic halves who we believe in. As a team, we’ll look after Luke because he’s still got a massive part to play, but we have to step up now without him. We’re more than capable of moving past that in my eyes, however.”