New Zealander Jesse Sene-Lefao has been a fixture at the Jungle for the last four years and now he is out to earn a new deal at Castleford, despite being out of contract at the end of this year.
Sene-Lefao joined the Tigers in 2017 from Cronulla Sharks and has made more than 90 appearances for the club, proving a hit with the black and amber faithful.
Off-contract at the end of 2021, the bustling second-rower or prop, who turned 31 in December, wants to stay with Castleford long-term and ideally finish his career with the Tigers, if given the opportunity.
“Yeah, if I got to write my own story I would stay at Cas and finish here,” he said.
“I’d love to sign another three-year, two-year deal and I still think I’m valuable. But my actions will speak for themselves.”
Sene-Lefao is feeling no extra pressure going into the new season, despite him having no contract yet for 2022.
“There are 16 players off-contract,” he added.
“A lot of people see that as pressure, but it’s been like that since I’ve come in. Every year I take the same approach and I play as if I haven’t got a contract next year. So it’s no different but it makes it more exciting, I guess.”
Sene-Lefao made nine appearances for Castleford in 2020, eight of them off the bench. And he admits that pre-season at the Tigers has been demanding.
“Pre-season has been challenging, really challenging, and that’s a good thing,” he added.
“This year our squad’s pretty strong and we are going in the right direction. There’s a lot of new things to keep us accountable and a lot of focus during sessions and it’s been a big change for me.
“I can’t wait until we puzzle it all together and get into the season.”
The Tigers struggled with injuries and form last year, missing the semi-finals and finishing eighth on the ladder.
Sene-Lefao believes the target this season for Castleford is consistency and being mentally stronger.
“Our goal is for everyone to play at an eight or nine [out of 10] every week consistently, and if so we will be in the best position to win games.
“To do so we have to be durable, smarter and mentally tough, like the top teams. We’re heading in the right direction, and, although we’re not there yet, we’re enjoying the process.”
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