Castleford Tigers hooker Paul McShane admits he’s looking forward to tussling with some old friends tonight when the Super League leaders host his former club Leeds – saying he holds no grudges with the Rhinos over being released at the beginning of the career.
McShane has established himself as one of Super League’s best hookers since his release from Leeds in 2013, and is tipped for a spot in England’s squad in the World Cup this autumn after an impressive season.
And, ahead of facing the Rhinos tonight, McShane says he does not bear a grudge for his release from Leeds – saying he needed to go away and learn his trade elsewhere.
He told TotalRL: “I had to learn and understand the game. As a young kid coming into it, I was probably a bit erratic and too over-enthusiastic, whereas now, having learned the game and learned aspects of it which I didn’t know as a kid, I’ve got the right balance now. That’s full credit to Castleford and Daryl for having such a massive influence on me.
“It was probably the right thing to do at the time. I had to go and learn the game and I can’t knock Leeds, because they could have kept me there as a fourth-choice hooker and we’d have both gone nowhere with it. Having had to move on, that’s got me to where I am now.”
McShane has played a crucial role in Castleford’s recent success over the Rhinos – with the Tigers winning their last seven games against Leeds.
“It’s nice to play against some old friends,” he said. “I still speak with a lot of the lads there but you try put it to the back of your mind. It’s a derby; a huge derby in Castleford v Leeds.
“We go into every game against Leeds knowing it’ll be a tough game. You look at the result after the game and realise it’s nice when we win, but we always expect it to be tough.”
And McShane insists that with Castleford on the cusp of something special, he is allowing himself no time to dream of a potential spot in England’s squad for the World Cup.
He said: “It’s not in my thinking too much. I’m just focussed on my role at Castleford because I want us to achieve something special. If I keep performing, hopefully I’ll earn a shot.”