PASSION PLAY: Tigers loanee Garreth Carvell is hopeful of earning himself a contract for next season at Castleford. Peter Smith reports.
FORMER GREAT Britain prop Garreth Carvell has confirmed he is keen to earn a contract with Castleford Tigers.
Carvell began the year at Bradford Bulls, but quit before the season began and returned to one of his former clubs, Hull.
Having failed to nail down a regular place in the team there, he was loaned to Tigers until the end of the season, when he will be out of contract and looking for a new deal.
Carvell, who made his Tigers’ debut in the last-gasp win over Salford Red Devils three days ago, revealed Castleford is the ideal club at this stage of his career, for on and off-field reasons.
“It has been a frustrating year,” Carvell said. “The Bradford situation wasn’t the best, then going to Hull I have picked up a few little knocks and the travelling was horrendous.
“I am still living in Warrington, so it was two and a half hours each way. Moving to Cas is brilliant, my wife is from Cas and her dad and her brothers and her family all support Cas, so it is one of those things I am proud to do.”
“We are going to move to Pontefract. My little boy’s deaf and there’s a school at Pontefract that has a deaf facility, the Rookeries Carleton, so we are going to have to move over here to be in the catchment area for him. It has worked out perfectly.”
All that means Carvell would like to stay at Tigers beyond the end of his loan deal.
He added: “There’s a few things I need to work on in my game, but I haven’t played for a while and it is just good to get out on the field.
“I will go through the video of Saturday’s game with Daryl (coach Daryl Powell) and see what he wants me to do and what I need to work on to stay in the team.
“Then I want to go on from there, hopefully pick up some form and match fitness and roll on.”
Carvell, 33, is now at the veteran stage. He made his debut for Leeds Rhinos as a 16-year-old in 1997 and has also played for Gateshead Thunder, Hull, Warrington and Hull again.
“I have still got the passion for it,” he stressed. “I think once that disappears you are struggling; once you find you don’t want to get up on a morning and go to training and play, I think then you should pack it in.
“But I certainly don’t feel like that now. I still feel like I have got a few years to go yet and a few years of playing well.
“I don’t want to be one of those players who dips in form and ploughs on and ends up playing poorly. I’ve just got to get the bit between my teeth and get on with it.”
The Challenge Cup was a factor in Carvell’s decision to join Tigers. A four-time winner, he is eligible to play in next month’s semi-final against Widnes Vikings.
“I can play,” he said. “I think Daryl was quite pleased about me not being Cup tied and I think that might have been a factor from his point of view.
“It all happened very quickly. I got a phone call on the Wednesday morning and that was it, I was a Cas player.
“It is one of those things that has just happened and I am enjoying it. It is the most I’ve enjoyed it for a long time.
“It is a good club to be at. Daryl is a brilliant coach and everyone’s honest with each other – which is important – and honest on the field.
“There’s a lot of similarities to the 2005 team I played in for Hull, when we won the Cup. There were no real super stars in that team either, but we worked hard for each other.
“This has got the same sort of backbone as that team.”
Carvell was pleased to mark his debut with a win.
Tigers trailed Salford 10-8, but snatched victory on the final play on the game when Jake Webster slid over five seconds from time.
“Match fitness told, but it was just good to get out there, to pull on a Cas shirt and get involved with the boys on the field,” Carvell said.
“We left it late, but it was nice to get a win, especially against my old mate Moz (Adrian Morley).
“He is knocking on a bit now as well, but he has got a few years on me. It was good to get the win though.
“We will have to improve with the ball, but I think the conditions played a big part in that. It was very slippery out there and holding on to the ball was difficult for both teams.
“It is one thing we need to work on this week, but our defence was pretty good and that’s one thing we can take out of the game, as well as the victory.
“We stuck it out, we played literally to the last minute and if you keep in a game like that and play to the last minute, those things happen.”
Powell believes Carvell will only get better with more game time under his belt.
Said the coach: “He obviously hasn’t played a lot of football recently.
“He ran out of energy a bit on Saturday, but I thought he was good.
“He was strong and he carried the ball well. He got through the line and got his nose down a couple of times and got the game pretty quick for us.”
Hull KR have sacked Australian threequarter Wayne Ulugia just two months into an 18-month contract.
The 22-year-old Auckland-born player, who joined the Robins in April following his release by North Queensland Cowboys, has been cut for disciplinary reasons.