New boy Joe Wardle sets sights on silverware with Castleford Tigers

STAR SIGNING Joe Wardle says he is 'impressed' by his early experience of Castleford Tigers.

Monday, 15th January 2018, 5:43 am
Updated Monday, 15th January 2018, 12:05 pm
Castleford Tigers' Joe Wardle.

The former Huddersfield Giants man has joined Tigers after a season with Australian outfit Newcastle Knights and feels his new club can finally get their hands on major silverware in 2018.

Wardle is expected to add strike on attack and defensive aggression to the squad which finished 10 points clear at the top of Betfred Super League last year before falling flat against Leeds Rhinos in the title decider.

The 26-year-old forward saw at first-hand how much that hurt, but reckons Tigers will use their Old Trafford agony as added incentive this season.

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“I came in a little bit at the end of last year, towards the Grand Final, just to get used to how the guys do stuff,” he revealed.

“I didn’t really train much, just showed my face around the place and I was really impressed then.

“Things have really kicked on since the start of pre-season, all the boys have really knuckled down and we have trained hard.

“When we are training we are all switched on, which is really impressive. It has been really good and I am just looking forward to the season now and seeing how we go.”

Wardle stressed: “We are really keen to go one step ahead this year. The boys were disappointed for a couple of weeks after [the Grand Final].

“They really wanted to finish the season well and they probably saved their worst game until last, so we are looking forward to it and everybody’s itching to go and hopefully get some silverware again.” Despite playing in 16 of Knights’ 25 games last year, Wardle did not settle and reckons going from the NRL’s bottom team to the Betfred Super League leaders is a dream move.

“It was an experience and I’m glad I’ve done it,” he said of his stint Down Under. “I would have kicked myself if I didn’t, but at the end of the day it wasn’t for me and my family so you’ve got to move on with life and get back to business.

“It has worked out well – obviously you’re not going to complain when you come to a side that’s got to the Grand Final and won the league leaders’.”

Though he began his career as a centre, Wardle confirmed he will be playing in the pack for Tigers.

“I’ve played back-row for the last three years,” he said.

“Basically I play back-row and when I’m needed at centre I play centre, depending on injuries and things like that.

“Hopefully I can team up well with the left side they’ve got here and see how it goes.”

Wardle accepts he isn’t guaranteed a place in Tigers’ starting team, describing competition for spots as “really strong”.

“I think that’s what’s bringing the best out of everybody,” he added. “There’s four of us at the moment: Alex Foster, me, Mike McMeeken and Oliver Holmes.

“We are all good players and we could all play every week. There’s plenty of competition and we have a good laugh about it, which I think’s good.

“We will see what happens. Daryl [Powell, Tigers’ coach] has a keen eye, he understands when people aren’t performing and he is definitely not scared to do something about it.

“That proves what a smart coach he is; a lot of coaches would probably just leave it and see what happens. He has really impressed me and the team are looking really sharp in training.”