THIS WEEKEND’S second derby of the year against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats will be a different proposition for Castleford Tigers, hooker Paul McShane has warned.
Tigers crushed Wildcats 32-6 at the Jungle just three weeks ago, but McShane – who joined Castleford from Wakefield last term – believes the visitors will be much improved from that pre-season trial when they return on Sunday.
Wildcats began their campaign with a spirited display in a 24-16 home loss to Widnes Vikings last Sunday while Tigers drew at Hull KR, so it is a big game for both clubs.
“In pre-season games you are still finding your feet,” McShane said.
“It is all about getting combinations right. When the season starts you want everything to fit together and you want to try and win every game.
“I am sure they will put that result to the back of their minds and both teams will want to get the win.”
Tigers will be wary after Wakefield, with McShane in their ranks, won at the Jungle in round one of last year’s Super League.
McShane said: “They’ve had a lot of changes.
“Under Brian (Smith, Wildcats’ coach) I think they have improved a lot and that showed towards the back end of last year.
“They look to have improved their discipline a lot and both sides are searching for their first win, so there’s everything to play for.”
Tigers had a point snatched from their grasp by a conversion after the hooter had sounded at Craven Park.
To rub salt into the wound, Tigers captain Michael Shenton could be sidelined for the rest of the year after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in that game.
“Defensively I thought we were great, so to let the game slip how we did was disappointing,” McShane admitted.
“Losing Shenny is a massive blow. He is our captain and a calming influence for us, but he is still going to be around.
“We have got a lot of leaders in the group, like Grant Millington, Luke Dorn, Luke Gale and Andy Lynch and I am sure they can duplicate what he does.”
On a personal note, McShane is hoping to make Tigers his home after a nomadic start to his professional career.
He is on his fifth club, including loan spells, at the age of just 26, but insisted: “I am really enjoying it.
“They are a really close-knit bunch and I like the way (coach) Daryl Powell wants the side to play.
“Getting in towards the back end of last year got me up to speed, rather than having to start in pre-season. I got a head start and I am really looking forward to the year.
“It is a great club and they have got a lot of good things going for them. As a group we believe we can do something special.
“In the past Cas have probably surprised a few people, but they are starting to believe now. We definitely we can push for something this year.”