Paul McShane has been excellent for Castleford Tigers since joining midway through the 2015 season from Wakefield Trinity, however, at times, the livewire hooker's career seemed to be stalling. Coming through the ranks at Leeds Rhinos, McShane made 67 appearances over the course of four years, but struggled to maintain a regular spot in the first team and so moved on-loan to Widnes and then Hull FC in 2010 and 2012 respectively. A move to Wakefield came to fruition at the end of 2013 before a swap deal with Castleford's Scott Moore saw McShane don the Tigers' jersey midway through 2015.

Castleford, meanwhile, had Adam Milner occupying the no.9 spot following Daryl Clark's move to Warrington at the end of 2014, yet Milner was soon forced into the loose-forward position because of McShane's performances. A brilliant 2016 and 2017 saw McShane transform into an 80-minute hooker and a key cog of the Castleford wheel that saw the Tigers top Super League and make their first ever Grand Final.

With Luke Gale and Ben Roberts out injured for most of 2018, McShane has had to step up his game even more with the added responsibility, but he is proving to be an England-quality hooker despite what head coach Wayne Bennett believes.

Multiple awards

Castleford hosted their Player of the Year awards at the weekend and it was no surprise that McShane took home four: Directors', Fans', Players' and Overall Player of the Year in a clean sweep.

McShane has made 1160 tackles, making him Super League's top tackler, and scored eight tries - the most he's scored in a season - as well as kicking 10 goals and one 40/20. Yet, still, McShane has failed to earn a single England cap or an inclusion in this year's Super League Dream Team or Man of Steel shortlist.

Yes, James Roby has had a great season with St Helens, but is he as important to Saints as McShane is to Castleford?

Without McShane's direction at dummy-half, Castleford has looked lost and distribution has been slow. McShane's connection with the returning Luke Gale is one of the best in Super League. But in Gale's absence, the no.9 has controlled games with his astute passing and kicking out of dummy-half, giving rising star Jake Trueman and Jamie Ellis the space and time to get the Tigers on the front foot.

If Castleford gets to this year's Grand Final, a lot of the plaudits must go to McShane; in his three-and-a-half seasons at Castleford, he has improved year on year and 2018 has seen him finally realise the potential that has always been lurking in the back of his early career performances. And, it is these brilliant performances that have seen Tigers fans plead for recognition.

Castleford's best Super League no.9

Super League is now in its 23rd year and, despite the likes of Wayne Godwin, Andrew Henderson and Daryl Clark all impressing in a Castleford no.9 shirt in that period, Paul McShane has been, by far, the best hooker that Castleford have had in the Super League era. He can not only control games with effective and direct passing, but he also has superb organisational skills as well as an impressive kicking game. McShane is the full package and the quicker England head coach Wayne Bennett realises this, the better for the national game.