CAstleford Tigers’ Adam Milner is looking to “live up to his potential” this season – starting against Super League newcomers Toronto Wolfpack on Sunday.
The industrious loose forward proved his class when the West Yorkshire club surged to the 2017 League Leaders’ Shield and Grand Final.
Twelve months later, he was rewarded with an England debut against France and also featured versus New Zealand.
However, Milner struggled to maintain that sort of form for Castleford last season and was dropped from Wayne Bennett’s England Elite Performance Squad in July.
“I feel like I‘ve probably not lived up to my potential – and probably have not done so since 2017,” he conceded.
“We all had meetings with the coaching staff at the end of last season and I set out with them where I wanted to be at the start of this year.
I have had a good pre-season. I feel a lot better coming into this season than I did this time last year. I feel a lot fitter, faster and stronger and I feel like I needed to get that for myself.Adam Milner
“I’ve come back in and – like the rest of the Cas boys - I have had a good pre-season. I feel a lot better coming into this season than I did this time last year.
“I feel a lot fitter, faster and stronger and I feel like I needed to get that for myself.
“There’s positive signs and now I just want to get out there and get going on Sunday.”
Milner, 28, will also be expected to help lead the side up front given Tigers are likely to be missing five senior forwards for the opener at Emerald Headingley.
That said, such is the depth now in Daryl Powell’s squad, they can still field an impressive pack with new signing Tyla Hepi from Championship Toulouse Olympique hoping for a debut.
Milner said: “We do still look pretty strong and have good players chomping at the bit.
“Tyla’s one of those who has shown what he’s all about in pre-season and it looks like he’ll get a chance. He deserves to be in there and Powelly does like getting players from the Championship; he knows the competition well having spent time there himself.”
“A lot of eyes will be on Toronoto on Sunday especially given their signing of Sonny Bill Williams and if he plays or not.
“And people are talking a lot about the so-called bigger clubs like Warrington and Wigan but hopefully we’ll be a side who can go under the radar this year. We all feel ready to go.”