Castleford Tigers: Hooker Milner is ready to step up to replace Clark

Adam Milner
Adam Milner
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CASTLEFORD TIGERS hooker Adam Milner accepts he is a player with a point to prove this year.

At just 23 Milner already has 89 Super League appearances under his belt and five seasons’ top-flight experience, but he spent last year in the shadow of Man of Steel Daryl Clark.

Now Clark has moved on to Warrington Wolves Milner has an opportunity to re-establish himself as Tigers’ first-choice hooker – and it’s a chance he is determined to take.

“Last year was kind of tough for me,” Milner admitted. “I had two operations in the pre-season which didn’t help. I never really got fit and then Clarky, the way he started was like a house on fire and I just couldn’t compete with him.

“I said to family and friends if there was any hooker that was going to keep me out of the team, it was going to be the Man of Steel.

“Deservedly so, he had a fantastic season, but that was last year.

“Missing out on Wembley and the majority of the big games hurt me. I didn’t feel I was a key player in the team last year, so it has just given me motivation to have a big year this year and that’s what I am looking forward to doing.

“I have come in this pre-season really firing and really wanting to get fit and I’ve been working on my game and trying to get better. That’s what I want to do, just get better, get out on that field and put some good performance in.”

As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Milner is taking that to heart and reckons he can benefit in the long-term from the frustrations of 2014, when he made 12 starts, with another 13 appearances off the bench.

“That’s my attitude, absolutely,” he said. “I just want to put last year behind me. I know it was one of the best seasons the club has had, but for me it kind of dinted my pride.

“It wasn’t the best year for me and I am looking to have a more successful season, personally, this year.”

Milner knows he isn’t guaranteed a spot over the next 10 months. Tigers have signed much-travelled former England No 9 Scott Moore and he will also be competing for starts in the middle of the front-row, but Milner reckons he can learn from Moore and the competition will only spur him on.

“This pre-season we’ve trained a lot together and it’s good to have new competition,” Milner said. “It keeps you fresh and it is good to be training with someone different, because you are always going to be learning different things from different people.”

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