PAUL McSHANE believes added “grit” could be the difference as Castleford Tigers make their latest bid to win an elusive maiden league championship.
The experienced hooker has been a central part of the club’s development under Daryl Powell in recent years.
He helped them finish top for the first time in 2017 and reach a first-ever Super League Grand Final.
Castleford slipped up, though, at Old Trafford and have fallen short in the play-offs for the last two years leaving many thinking their best chance has gone.
But ex-Leeds Rhinos star McShane, 30, insisted: “We’re all hungry for it.
“We all definitely want it as players and as a club it’s something that we’re striving for.
“We’ve made play-offs now for the last four or five seasons so we’re there or thereabouts.
“It’s just fine-tuning it and hopefully we’ve done that over this pre-season and we can now put that into practice.”
Asked what needs to change, he added: “It’s the bigger games where we seem to slip away.
“It’s probably having that bit of a grit as a team and the control with it and being able to adapt.
“Some teams adapt well to different conditions and for us it’s just about being smarter and having that bit more grit,” he said.
“I think we have.”
McShane expects big things from Danny Richardson, their new scrum-half signing from St Helens.
“Him and Truey (Jake Trueman) have got a really good relationship on and off the field and I think that shows on it,” he said.
“But Dan’s come in and is chomping at the bit. He just wants to play rugby after not playing much last year.
“He’s probably what we lacked as well and I can’t wait to play with him; he’s a voice and for a kid so young he’s confident in what he can do.”
Saints managed to ease to the title last year largely without the England Knights No 7 who made the Super League Dream Team in 2018.
As for who will challenge in 2020, McShane said: “A lot of teams have recruited some top, top players. You can say your Wigans, St Helens and Warringtons but I think Hull’s recruitment has been great.
“They have some real tough forwards in there but I’d like to think we’re up there, too, so I’m sticking confidently with us.”