Castleford Tigers: Ashes joy has whetted Thompson's appetite

At just 19, Castleford Tigers prospect Jordan Thompson has already achieved something most English rugby league players can only dream about – a Test series win over Australia.

The outside-back was a member of the England side which stunned the touring Australian Schoolboys 2-0 in last month's academy Ashes.

He backed that up with a man-of-the-match performance for Tigers as they opened their pre-season programme with a 62-10 demolition of York City Knights last weekend.

The challenge now is to become an established member of Tigers' first-choice 17 and Thompson feels his international experience will help him towards that goal.

"It was a good victory," said Thompson. "We made a little bit of history and it was brilliant to be part of it.

"Coming off the back of 14 Super League games – and with Adam Milner,

my team-mate at Castleford, captaining the team – it was brilliant to put that shirt on and play for my country.

"It has helped me a lot. You learn how other teams play and how the games changes. It was a really good experience."

This is set to be a big year for Thompson, who is looking to take advantage of Michael Shenton's departure to St Helens and the retirement of another specialist centre, James Evans.

Samoan Willie Isa is awaiting visa clearance to join Cas from Melbourne

Storm, but coach Terry Matterson has admitted there is an "opportunity" for either Thompson or fellow teenager Joe Arundel to claim a regular spot this season.

Thompson made two appearances in 2009 and 15 last year, 10 of those in the starting line-up.

"It'll be good to build on that, if I can get more games than that I'll be very happy," said the former Normanton Knights amateur.

"I just need to keep working on the little things. I don't need to do anything big, I just need to keep solid in my position and stay strong there.

"With me, Joe and an overseas player coming over, there's three of us competing for the same spot.

"It'll be good to see who comes out on top."

Thompson has also played wing and full-back. He said: "When I play centre I really enjoy it, but I start missing full-back.

"That's a lot more elusive, in the centre you have to hold your position and there's a lot less for you to do.

"At full-back you can get involved in every opportunity, but we've got Richie Mathers and Richie Owen, so I think it'll be a struggle to get into the full-back position."

Along with Arundel, Thompson was hailed by Matterson for his performance against York and he admitted it was "good to have a hit-out".

He added: "It has been a long pre-season and all the lads were up for it.

"Everyone was looking forward to the Boxing Day game against Bradford and it's a shame the weather got in the way and it got called off.

"But it was good to play at the weekend and I thought it went well personally. I felt strong and fast, so that's all good."

Thomas Christiansen

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