FIT-AGAIN FORWARD Oliver Holmes is aiming to help Castleford Tigers to Grand Final glory this year after finally emerging from his injury nightmare.
Holmes, who celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday, came off the bench in Tigers’ 26-12 home loss to St Helens last week.
It was only his fifth appearance of the season and his first since April and he said: “I am happy to be back out there.
“It was a disappointing result, so mixed feelings for me really. It hasn’t been the best year for me up to now.
“Coming in and out of the team with the same injury has been difficult, but the problem has been solved now and I am ready to crack on and finish the season strong rather than looking back on all that disappointment.
Holmes suffered a knee injury in pre-season, which recurred during his brief comeback around Easter.
Explaining the problem, he said: “They found some bones that were in the back of my tendon that had been there probably for eight, nine or 10 years – it’s hard to tell really.
“It’d never really given me much trouble until the start of this year.
“They went in, took them out and now I’ve made a full recovery.”
It has been a frustrating campaign for Holmes who has had to watch as his team-mates built a huge lead on the table.
He said: “It has been difficult sat in the stands, travelling to all the away games not on the bus. That was through my own choosing so the lads have got a bit of space on the bus to themselves.
“But you feel isolated from the team because when they’re out on the field you are in the gym doing re-hab and stuff like that.
“You don’t get to interact with them as much as you would if you are fully fit and training.
“That’s the down side of an injury, but it’s something you’ve got to get through and got to do to get back in with the lads.”
Holmes has returned for the business end of the season with Tigers needing one win to secure a home semi-final.
“The lads have done a lot of the hard work so far,” he said.
“They’ve put themselves in a great position in the league and into the Super-8s.
“Hopefully I can slot back in there, do my job and carry on what they’ve started.
“I got about 35 minutes last week and I definitely feel better for it. There’s no fitness like match fitness.
“No matter what you do on the field in training fitness-wise it won’t replicate what you have to do in a game so my lungs definitely feel better for that time.”