Castleford forward Oliver Holmes admits he’s got a point to prove to himself and the club to show that he’s worthy of a new deal at the Tigers in 2019.
Holmes is out of contract at the end of the current season, and, following an injury-stricken two years, the forward admits he’s keen to show he is behind the knee problems that have plagued his career in recent years.
When asked if his priority was to stay with Castleford long-term, he said: “I don’t see why not. As long as I can stay fit it can take care of itself.
“I’ve got something to prove. I’ve been in and out of the squad for two years and I’ve got a point to prove to people who have doubted me and reckoned I’m not good enough. I’ve got to show I’m good enough to keep the 11 shirt and start every week. That’s my aim.”
Holmes has started both of the Tigers’ games so far this season, and he insists that he feels better than he has done for years after finally discovering what had been causing his long-standing knee issues.
“My knee has been a problem for the last two years,” he admits. “I came back from rehabbing it a couple of times and I eventually discovered I had three pieces of bone floating around near the back of my patella tendon, which stemmed back to an innocuous collision eight years ago while I was playing in the Academy.
“It’s never really given me any problems until a couple of years ago and it got worse and worse. I’ve played dozens of games on one leg, really – but I’m fully fit now.
“I haven’t really done a pre-season in about five years, and my body feels the best it has done for years.
“Mentally, I’m where I should be and I’m back to enjoying training and being out there every day. I’m not missing sessions, and that’s going to have a massive impact on how I play – I think I’ll be able to get back to my best.”
And having cut short his own off-season to ensure he’s fighting fit for this season, Holmes insists he’s already reaping the benefits.
He said: “We’re in this game to play, not just train all the time without an end game. So being in from the start for the first time in a long time is great. I came in a couple of weeks early to get a bumper start and I’m better for it.”