TRAINING ALONGSIDE former Australian Test ace Joel Monaghan is paying dividends for fellow Castleford Tigers recruit Jy Hitchcox.
Monaghan could stand between Hitchcox and a place in the team, but the ex-Featherstone Rovers back believes he is the ideal player to learn off.
“I have learned a lot from Joel, he has taken me under his wing and given me some tips,” Hitchcox said of Tigers’ star signing, who bagged 125 tries in 127 Super League appearances from 2011-2015.
“I am learning every day. The senior group is a really strong nucleus of the team and they have been really helpful.
“I have been really impressed with the squad here.
“Everyone is a tight knit bunch and it will show on the field, I believe.
“If you are happy off the field you are happy on it. That’s the way it seems at Cas, so it’s good.”
Hitchcox, 26, made four NRL appearances for Wests Tigers in 2014 and was a regular in Featherstone’s Kingstone Press Championship side last season.
He has joined Tigers on a one-year deal and admitted getting in the matchday 17 is his first priority.
“I want to establish myself in the team, push for a position and do the best I can,” said the Aussie, who has been awarded squad number 25.
“I have got my own personal goals and I think I can achieve them.
“I am looking forward to it.”
Hitchcox’s versatility could be an asset. He added: “I can play centre, wing or full-back, I don’t really mind.
“I am happy to be the piece of the puzzle that Powelly (team boss Daryl Powell) wants me to be and wherever I am needed I will do the best I can.
“We have got a lot of options and that’s what keeps those players strong and playing well. If anyone slips up there’s players to replace them, so it’s good competition.”
Hitchcox admitted to knowing little about Tigers before joining them, despite spending a season with their near-neighbours.
“I didn’t really watch much Super League last year,” he conceded.
“But I heard Cas was a really good club and I heard a lot about Powelly and how he coaches and his techniques and I was happy with that.
“Everyone here is switched on and everyone has the same goal.
“It is always good when players can buy into the same dream. When that happens you get results.”
Hitchcox, currently on Tigers’ warm weather training camp in Lanzarote, said so far his move to the Jungle is working out as he had hoped.
“It has been good,” he said. “Everyone has been really welcoming, it is a good team environment and a good club and I am happy to be here.
“It was always the goal for me to step into Super League as quickly as I could and when Cas came calling I was happy to oblige.
“It wasn’t exactly planned (to move to Featherstone’s neighbours), but I will take it as it comes.”