Castleford Tigers star Paul Jackson gives a view from the pitch.
IT is a shame both my teams are in action at the same time this weekend.
I will be playing for Castleford Tigers – if selected – at home to Hull KR on Sunday afternoon, when the team I coach, Hunslet Warriors, are taking on Oldham in the Challenge Cup third round.
Obviously my priority is Castleford, so I won’t be able to get to the Warriors game, which is unfortunate.
It is a good club and I am really enjoying myself down there. It would have been good to go along and help out, but Gareth Baker will be coaching them and Paul Sebine, who assists me, will be taking a leadership role on the field, so they will be in good hands.
The third round of the Cup is a great event. It is a big day for Warriors, all the boys are really keen to play and it’s something they are looking forward to.
They got to the same stage last year, when they played Barrow. They had a good day out and gave a good account of themselves and hopefully it will be the same this time.
It is always good for them to test themselves against a professional team and we have got a lot of players coming back from injury, so picking the side is going to be tricky.
Obviously they will have to play at their very best, but I do think they have got a chance. Oldham are a good team, but we have got some ex-pros and a few of them could probably still play at that level if they wanted to.
They enjoy playing with their mates and there is less pressure on them playing for the Warriors. One or two of them have turned down approaches from pro’ clubs, because they have got good jobs or they just enjoy the social side and having a good game on a Saturday afternoon.
I am confident they can give Oldham a game. We are top of National Conference Division Two and we’ve only lost one game all year. That was against Leigh East in the National Cup the other week. The conditions weren’t the best, but we had an off-day. It was probably the worst I have seen them play, though I had to dash off at half-time because Cas were playing Huddersfield that evening. I have been coaching since the start of the season and I really enjoy it. It is something I’d like to do when I hang up my boots, but at the moment I am just enjoying passing on some of the things I’ve learned during my playing career.
I have worked under some good coaches and I try and utilise some of the experience I have gained, as well as a few of the things we do at Cas. It is good to put something back into the amateur code.
Things are going really well for us at the Probiz Coliseum, but we will have our hands full against Hull KR on Sunday. They will be fired up after losing to Catalan last week, but Michael Dobson got hurt in that game and he’ll be out for a while, so that’s a big blow for them. We’ve started the year in good form and we would have liked to have played last weekend, to keep the momentum going.
On the other hand, having a break will have freshened us up and given a few of the boys a chance to get over some injuries, so we are looking forward to the match.
I was really pleased to see that Brett Ferres has been named in the England elite training squad, with Joe Arundel and Jon Walker in the Knights group.
Brett has had a couple of unfortunate niggling injuries, but he is a quality player and it’s about time he got some recognition. He is as strong as an ox and he works really hard in training.
Having three players selected for the two squads is good for Cas, particularly after Adam Milner and Jordan Thompson did so well for England academy last year.
They are all still young and with a few more waiting to come through, the future seems bright for the Tigers.