IT MAY be his testimonial season, but Castleford Tigers front-rower Andy Lynch insists his career isn’t winding down.
Lynch reckons he can improve on last year – when he came close to selection for the Super League Dream Team – and revealed he is hoping to agree a new contract with Tigers.
“I want a good season,” said Lynch, who will line up against one of his former clubs Bradford Bulls at the Jungle on Sunday in his benefit match.
“Hopefully it won’t be my last one – I am planning to play beyond this season.
“Talks are going on at the moment and we’ll see what happens there.”
Lynch turned 35 last October, but said the days when players are too old by their early- or mid-30s are long gone.
“At the end of the day, your age is only a number,” he stated.
“If you feel all right I don’t see why you can’t carry on. JP [Jamie Peacock], Moz [Adrian Morley] and [Steve] Menzies have proved it.
“As long as you feel all right, your age doesn’t matter.”
Lynch, from Kippax, began his career at Castleford in 1999.
He moved to Bradford in 2004 and then joined Hull eight years later, before returning to Tigers on a two-year deal ahead of last season.
“There’s no better game to celebrate my testimonial than Bradford and Castleford, where I’ve spent the majority of my career,” he said.
“After three months of pre-season the players are ready for a competitive game and I think we’ll get one and a really good physical test.”
Lynch said that is the priority as Tigers look to build on last year’s fourth-place finish in First Utility Super League.
Coach Daryl Powell rested most of his big guns for last month’s opening pre-season game against Featherstone Rovers, but is likely to field a much stronger side in four days.
“Apart from it being my testimonial, it is four weeks until the season starts,” Lynch observed.
“This game is a massive part of pre-season and it’ll probably show on Sunday what we are going to be good at and what we need to work on.
“Then we’ve got three weeks to put things right for the start of the year.”
Ironically, this weekend’s match is Bulls’ first since they were relegated to the Kingstone Press Championship at the end of last year.
Lynch joined Bulls following Tigers’ own drop out of the top flight 11 years ago, but feels his return has given him a new lease of life.
“I am enjoying my rugby, being back where it all started off,” he said. “It was a tough decision all those years ago to leave when we got relegated.
“It is good to be back and to see the club moving in the right direction after a few tough years.
“We set a good standard last year and we want to do the same this year. If we perform well on the field it brings in revenue through the shop and we get more fans through the gate.
“The club is on the up and it all comes down to the players. If we perform, everyone at the club can build on that.”
Lynch reckons the signs are positive. He said: “We’ve been training really well.
“It has been tough, but probably the right amount. Ben Cooper [Tigers’ physio] has done a fantastic job.”
Cas will field a new-look side this year, but Lynch is confident there has been no drop in quality.
“We don’t want to talk about last year,” he said. “We want to talk about the squad we’ve got this year. Players come and go every year. I feel we’ve got a top-quality squad who will work well together and put in good performances.”
Sunday’s game kicks off at 2.30pm. Admission prices are £15 for adults, £10 juniors and concessions.