EXCLUSIVE: Q&A WITH PAUL MCSHANE

Love Rugby League’s Drew Darbyshire had a chat with Castleford Tigers ace Paul McShane ahead of the Super League Grand Final against Leeds Rhinos on Saturday.

Have you got over the emotions of Thursday night’s semi-final win over St Helens yet?

“It probably took me a couple of days because my error during the game almost cost us but now it’s just excitement – I can’t wait for Saturday.”

Was you tough on yourself then after the game?

“When the last (Ryan Morgan’s) try went in, I just wanted the ground to swallow me but then when the ball came back to us from kick-off, I thought ‘this is fate this is! This is going to happen and we’re going to win this!’ and full credit to Galey (Luke Gale), doing what he did under so much pressure.”

When you first joined Castleford, did you ever really think that you would play in a Grand Final?

“Probably not straight away but as soon as I joined Cas, there was just something about the club. From the first couple of weeks and players that I didn’t really know and younger players were tipping me up on how to be better for myself and pushing me in training all of the time and you know if you have that competition in training then you’re onto something good and I think in my first year, we got a fair few injuries but we were still up there competing and from the start of this year, I was fully confident that we could achieve something special.”

How are the nerves in camp ahead of this weekend?

“Personally, I’m more excited than anything else. Probably when it gets to the day I’ll be nervous but at the minute, it’s just excitement. We’ve got a chance to do something special and I think everyone’s embraced that. We had a really good session today when everyone was bouncing about which is good so there’s just excitement at the minute but if you ask me an hour before kick-off on Saturday then it might be a bit different!”

You’ve seemed to have a good combination with Adam Milner this season…

“Since I came, me and Adz (Adam Milner) were playing in the same position and he’s a younger kid than me but he was giving me pointers on how to be better which is nice and for him to change from nine to 13, he probably knows what I’m thinking as a hooker and I know what he’s expecting as well so the bond is good and I think defensively, he’s improved my game massively.”

How big an influence has Daryl Powell had on your career?

“From speaking to him before I even joined Cas, I just had a good feeling about it but probably more at the end of last season, I thought I had a good year and a consistent year and at the end of the season, we sat down and he said ‘you’ve been good for us, but I think you’ve got 40% more in your game’ and to hear that after thinking you’ve had a good year gives you a bit of a buzz knowing that your coach sees that much more in you and you just want to repay his faith. He’s put his squad together really well and he’s a smart guy and he’s got us all singing off the same hymn sheet.”

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