Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell wants his club to further develop its youth structure, and make sure that it taps into all available talent in the local area.
Powell has just inked a new five-year deal at the club, and he clearly has big plans for the next stage of his tenure at Cas.
“I think that if we can create stability, continue to build our environment, get the best young players playing at Castleford – we all know that it’s one of the best areas in the country for young players – then there is no reason why we shouldn’t be challenging to push the top teams come final days,” he said.
“I don’t see any reason why that can’t happen. We have seen this season that we have made a real statement about the club and where we want to go.
“The performances have been fantastic and we have got to maintain that and that’s a very difficult thing to do, but there’s no reason why we can’t.
“I think that we have proved that you don’t need a vast amount of marquee players. We have got some outstanding players in our club, but you can help players to develop and grow and if you do that, then you turn a player that might be worth a certain amount of money into a player that’s worth a hell of a lot more.
“If we can develop players in the right way and help players to consistently get better then there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be challenging.
“We have to keep talking that way; we have to be confident that we can do that.
“Pete Riding has come on board in the Youth Development. A big part of what we need to do over the next five years is get the best Cas kids playing for Castleford, and that’s a big focus for myself, Pete, Ryan Sheridan who’s coaching the under 19s and all the staff at the club.
“Another big focus is going to be building towards the new stadium which will hopefully take the club to a new level. If we can do that off the back of a consistent top eight team that is challenging for honours then we’ll have a club that we can be even more proud of.”
The coach is also delighted at the way the Mend-a-Hose Jungle has become such an intimidating venue for visiting sides.
“There are a number of reasons why it’s happened,” Powell added
“If you look at us on a match day, there’s some bit of genius there with the Sweet Caroline.
“Right from when you walk into the ground you get a sense that people are excited to watch us play and you get a sense from the players that they’re excited to play; when the two things come together you get something that has got a bit of excitement about it and there’s a lot of belief there that it doesn’t matter who we’re playing that we’re coming after them.
“When we come out on top against some of the better sides, what happens afterwards is unbelievable in terms of the atmosphere.”