At this stage of the year in 2014, many were expecting Cas to be one of the sides to be fighting for their lives with the re-introduction of promotion and relegation, but not even the most optimistic Tigers fan could have predicted what their season became.
Daryl Powell, and his team of mostly unproven players, helped the club to one of their most successful seasons in recent years. With their entertaining and expansive style, they captured the imagination of rugby league fans across the country, coming within 80 minutes of topping the table. Meanwhile they made the Challenge Cup final for the first time since the 1991/92 season.
Some of their 2014 stars, such as Marc Sneyd and Daryl Clark, were picked off by other clubs. However, the West Yorkshire side look to have absorbed the losses well, bringing in the likes of Ben Roberts and junior Moors. Meanwhile, the club have also managed to retain a number of their key players, with the commitments of Grant Millington and Justin Carney standing out as real positives.
In what is set to be the most competitive Super League season to date, their resources will be stretched and their players will be tested to the maximum, but they are certainly heading in a positive direction.
Ben Roberts looks to be their most promising signing and his running game could prove to be the perfect foil for the ‘the organiser’ Liam Finn. Carney and Millington will also be key if the Tigers are to have a successful campaign, while youngster Mike McMeeken, a London Broncos product, could prove to be a real gem.
With so many players moving both in and out of the club, it could take time for Daryl Powell’s squad to gel, which could prove to be difficult with the #RLNewEra offering no sympathy if anyone suffers a slow start.
Story of 2015
The Tigers will struggle to replicate their league efforts from last year, but I would still fully expect the West Yorkshire side to make the top eight. However, I believe the Challenge Cup will remain their biggest chance of silverware this season.
League Position: 6th
Top Try Scorer: Justin Carney
Top Points Scorer: Liam Finn
Player of the Year: Liam Finn
Young Player of the Year: Mike McMeeken