Paul McShane on Craig Lingard, one of the toughest pre-seasons, Super League play-off aims and Wigan Warriors

IF there is one Super League side keen to move on from 2023 then it is Castleford Tigers.

The West Yorkshire side were dismal to say the least last season, finishing second bottom with only local rivals Wakefield Trinity below them in the Super League table.

Three coaches – Lee Radford, Andy Last and Danny Ward – came and went through The Jungle doors with former Tigers assistant Craig Lingard taking on the number one role for 2024 and beyond.

For captain Paul McShane, who missed the last few months of the 2023 campaign through injury, the change has been good.

“We’ve gone through a fair bit of change, there is a lot of fresh meat in our team that are looking forward to getting out there and representing Cas,” McShane told The Sportsman’s YouTube channel.

“With change, it lifts everyone and keeps everyone on their toes which is good.”

So what is new head coach Craig Lingard like and how has the transition been for the new coaching staff?

“It’s been a fairly smooth transition, we had Lingard and Scott Murrell (assistant coach) for a fair chunk of last year and bringing Magsy (Danny McGuire) in is massive for us.

“What he’s done for Hull KR has been great. It’s been a smooth transition and people are really buying into what they want from us.

“Lingard has been really good, so far so good. He’s a really chilled out bloke, he cares and wants us to do well. He’s simplified how he wants us to play and hopefully we can do that.

“It’s only been positive so far, I know people in pre-season say it’s the best one so far but its been really good. It’s been one of the toughest I’ve had for a while.

“That’s especially true being one of the older blokes keeping up with the younger blokes we’ve brought in! But it brings us competition for places.”

What’s the aim for McShane and the Tigers then?

“We’d like to be in the play-offs 100%. What went on last year and the year before, we didn’t reach expectations.

“But the big thing is to focus on each game and tick each game off. For us as a group it’s about caring about what we do.”

So how does McShane feel about coming up against reigning Super League champions Wigan Warriors in round one?

“It doesn’t get any bigger than Wigan in the first game. They have recruited really well and last year they were outstanding.

“But for us we have got the chance to play in front of our fans and we want to get off to the best start possible.”

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