Castleford determined to ease reliance on Chase… but star man insists he's got more to give
Pivotal: Rangi Chase is Castleford's key player
England international Rangi Chase insists he can improve on his Man-of-Steel show in 2012, but new Castleford coach Ian Millward admits he needs to make the Tigers less reliant on their star playmaker.
The 25-year-old stand-off enjoyed a stellar year in 2011, beating Sam Tomkins and James Roby to the game's top individual award in a poll of Super League players and helping England reach the Four Nations final after switching his allegiance from New Zealand.
But Castleford just fell short in both domestic competitions, losing out in extra time in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup and narrowly failing to hang onto a Super League play-off place after being in the top eight virtually all season.
Millward, who has succeeded fellow Australian Terry Matterson at the Probiz Coliseum, acknowledges that Chase will again have a key role but is striving to ensure his team are no one-man band.
'We're trying to change our style a bit,' Millward said at the club's pre-season media day.
'It's very obvious if you look at the stats from last year, if Rangi doesn't perform or play, the club were less effective.
'We understand there's quality there, we've just got to work out what's best for the team.'
Chase, who signed a new four-year contract last September, admits he has a hard act to follow after producing the best form of his career in 2011.
Other tactics: Castleford's coach wants them to develop new strategies
'It was a good year for me, with England and Man of Steel, which was the highlight of my career,' he said.
'It all came at once but hopefully I can back something up like that this year.
'It will be very hard but I like a challenge. I'm not bothered about the awards, as long as I personally go well and the team goes well.
'If I'm playing well and doing my job, it will help us reach the potential we have. That's a big goal for me this year, to do my best to help us get to the finals.
'Last year was the best I've played so far but I know I've got more to give and more to improve on. I know I can be a better player, a more rounded player.'
Chase says he is prepared to adapt his game under Millward, who guided St Helens to five major trophies in his time at Knowsley Road, and believes that, in half-back partner Danny Orr and the club's trio of hookers Ryan Hudson, Adam Milner and Daryl Clark, the Tigers have the players to share the playmaking workload.
International class: Chase playing for England
'The ingredients are there for us to be successful,' he added.
'There are a lot of new structures, which is what we need.
player has a role in the team. It's not just playing off me, it's
playing off other boys like our nines and Danny and making sure everyone
contributes to what we're doing.
'They won't be relying too much on me at all this year.'
Meanwhile, Millward is resigned to being without four front-row forwards for the start of the season.
New signing Grant Millington, Craig
Huby, Paul Jackson and Jonathan Walker are all still recovering from
injury, leaving Nathan Massey, Jake Emmitt and newcomer Steve Nash as
the club's only specialist props for the opening game at Salford on
'I'm very confident over the next month they will all return in dribs and drabs,' said Millward, who is loathe to make predictions for 2012.
He added: 'I don't know the players well enough yet to say what we can do but I like their attitude and keenness for a change.
'I respect what Terry did last year but everyone has different views – that's what makes coaches different.
'We've just talked about certain key performance indicators we are looking to be consistent in.
'Last year we conceded 29.7 points a game so we need to get better defensively and we need to be less reliant on certain individuals. We need to work more as a team.'