Hardaker, who spent half of the season with Penrith, has now joined the Tigers.
“I wasn’t really keeping tabs on people back home so I didn’t really know the form of the guys but with what I did over there I thought it’d been enough,” he said.
“Looking at the guys that played I thought I should have definitely been in with the way they played. But that happens and it’s just made me strive even better for this year.
“I’m really determined to play even better for Castleford and play for a real good squad and see where it goes from there.
“It’s made me switch on even more and try and show people what I’m capable of doing this year.”
Hardaker has been included in the Cas squad to play Hull FC on Boxing Day.
If he takes the field it will be his debut for the Tigers at the Jungle.
“Playing down here it’s not a great experience if you play for Leeds Rhinos but I’m really looking forward to being down here and representing Castleford and having the fans on your side,” he said.
“It should be a really good, the buzz about the place, the season ticket holders that have been through the door the last couple of days.
“There’s been quite a lot of people with smiles on their faces and trying to have pictures with us while we’re training.
“Theres a bit of a buzz around the town and I think they’re looking forward to, hopefully us guys producing something good for 2017.”
Hardaker admits he was unsure what reception he would receive from Cas fans, after joining the club from local rivals Leeds.
“It’s not been too bad I was expecting a lot worse, I’ve been pretty happy about that,” he said.
“You get some good you get some bad and that’s life, I’ve learnt that the hard way.
“But the best way to show the fans and other people is just get out there and play and I’m really looking forward to Boxing day against a good Hull team.”