Castleford Tigers star Rob Parker provides his view from the pitch.
SINCE joining Castleford, I feel like I am 19 again, even if I don’t look it! It has given me a new lease of life and I have got a buzz back.
Getting here was a bit of a do-it-yourself job. I wasn’t getting into the Salford team and they asked me if I would go to Swinton – who they have links with – on loan.
I know Swinton are going well in their competition and no disrespect to them, but sometimes you have to back yourself. I know I am still good enough to be playing in Super League and I want to stay at that level for as long as I can.
I phoned a few clubs and I also spoke to Stuart Duffy, who is the football manager at Bradford Bulls and asked him if there was anything about.
He gave me Terry Matterson’s number. I left a voicemail for Terry, he rang back and we had a good chat. That was on the Tuesday or Wednesday and by Friday I had signed on a month’s loan.
It all happened very quickly, but it is exciting and I am grateful to Castleford for giving me an opportunity.
It is probably a bit of a gamble on their part, because I haven’t been playing. I am as fit as I have ever been, but the only way you get fit is by playing a game.
I think Cas could tell I was ready and raring to go and I went in at the deep end against Wigan. I really enjoyed it, even though we didn’t quite get the result.
It was fantastic to pick up my first win last week, against my old club Bradford and it is great just to be playing the game I love again.
When you are injured, you are not in the team for a reason, but not being selected really hurt me. Playing rugby is what I get paid to do – I want to be out on the field.
Hopefully this arrangement will work out for me and the club. I am out of contract at the end of the season so there’s a lot of incentive for me to play well. I am in the shop window and if I can produce some good performances, with a bit of luck it will lead to me getting a new deal – either back at Salford, at Cas or somewhere else. Cas have got a lot of front-rowers out at the moment, so it is going to help them as well.
The travelling over the Pennines is a bit of a pain, but the positive thing about that is I want to be at Castleford, I am enjoying the training and it is good getting up to go to work in the morning.
The boys here have made me welcome. I didn’t know many of them particularly well before I got here, but they are a good bunch.
We are in a decent position after last weekend’s win, but Crusaders on Saturday is a vital game for us and it’s a dangerous fixture.
It’s no good playing well against Wigan and beating Bradford if we slip up in Wrexham.
They are a good team, they’ve beaten Salford a couple of times and the seven players the club suspended last week will be back in action so knowing their coach, Iestyn Harris, he will be sending them out with a point to prove.