Going into 2019, Castleford have so far failed to add to their squad. Yet, Jake Webster, James Green (Bradford Bulls), Gadwin Springer (Toronto Wolfpack), Quentin Laulu-Togaga'e (Halifax), Brandon Douglas (Doncaster) and Kieran Gill (Newcastle Thunder, loan) have all left with the club with Jy Hitchcox leaving for Bradford towards the back end of 2018. The Tigers added Liam Watts and Peter Mata'utia during last season, but fans are being left frustrated at the lack of investment in the team, particularly in the centre spot which former New Zealand international Jake Webster has vacated.

Jon Wells

The furore on social media surrounding the lack of new recruits has prompted Director of Rugby Jon Wells to bring out a statement. It is a run-of-the-mill 'fans need to back the club' statement about how the Tigers are nearly up to the salary cap and that a lot of money has been spent on upgrading players' contracts. If this is the main reason why the Tigers cannot bring anyone else in for 2019, then too many players are on inflated deals. That team was good enough to get to the top four in 2018 but still could not push on and win the major prize at the end of the year. All that points to is the need for new blood, the quality that can improve the side.

Jon Wells also made a point of commenting on the array of potential centres that the Tigers have to fill that right centre spot left by Webster.

Greg Minikin, Alex Foster and Ben Roberts were touted as replacements, but none of these are out-and-out centres. Minikin is a better winger than he is centre, Foster is a better backrower and Roberts is a better halfback. Head coach Daryl Powell already tried to shoehorn Roberts into the fullback position in 2018 - something which backfired spectacularly.

If Castleford aren't careful, they could go through most of 2019 trying to find the right centre like they did in 2018 with the fullback role.

Teams around them strengthening

Whilst the Tigers appear content to rest on their laurels, the teams that are likely to be around them in the table are adding real stars to their sides.

Warrington have signed the likes of Blake Austin and Jake Mamo, St Helens have improved their first-team squad with the signings of Lachlan Coote and Kevin Naiqama, whilst Leeds have recruited NRL stars Tui Lolohea, Konrad Hurrell and Trent Merrin.

Catalans have added Sam Tomkins, Huddersfield have pulled off a real coup in bringing in Akuila Uate and even Hull KR have added NRL Grand Final winner Kane Linnett and Salford flying winger Ken Sio to their squad. Every one of these signings would have been an upgrade to what the Tigers already have.

Castleford have a formidable forward pack; Grant Millington, Junior Moors, Liam Watts, Matt Cook, Mitch Clark, and Mike McMeeken can be devastating on their day, but the Tigers still lack that grunt up front.

Watts was supposed to be the aggressor that Castleford were missing, but in his attempts to stay on the straight and narrow at his new club, he seems to have lost that edge that made him one of the most feared forwards in the game.

Backline troubles

But, adding another forward is the least of Castleford's troubles. If the Tigers go into the new season with a back five of Peter Mata'utia, James Clare, Greg Minikin/Alex Foster/Ben Roberts, Michael Shenton, and Greg Eden then it will be curtains for a Super League Grand Final shot at the end of the year.

The Tigers have no cover on the wing with Kieran Gill the latest to be sent on-loan. As opposed to having six wingers in 2018 - Eden, Minikin, Clare, Gill, Hitchcox, and Garry Lo - the Tigers now have just three of these.

If injuries strike, Castleford will face a real scramble to replace wingers and centres with adequate successors.

For most of the Castleford faithful, it's not the idea of wanting another addition amongst the backline; it's the case of needing one. While teams around them are making great strides to improve in 2019, the Tigers are in real danger of being left behind if at least one quality player does not appear through the gates at the Jungle in the off-season.