Josh Hodson on delayed Castleford Tigers debut and ‘breaking losing habit’ against former club

JOSH HODSON was glad to finally make his delayed Castleford debut – and he hopes it’s the start of better things for both him and the team.

The Tigers secured their first win of the season with victory at Championship side Batley in the Challenge Cup sixth round on Saturday.

It was a much-needed success for their coach Craig Lingard on his return to the club he coached over the past four seasons.

But it was also a special day for powerful centre Hodson, who made the same switch from Bulldogs to Tigers in the off-season.

A foot injury suffered in Castleford’s first pre-season game at Keighley in January meant he missed the final month of pre-season and the first five Super League rounds.

“I went through the rehab stage and thought I was nearly back to playing for round one,” Hodson told League Express.

“Then unfortunately I had a bit of a setback and had to have two injections in my foot, so I’ve had a longer lay-off than I initially thought.

“It was good to finally get amongst the boys and play again. I’ve been chomping at the bit just to get back out there. That really pushed me through my rehab to get back fit and going again.”

The irony of his Castleford debut coming at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, where he excelled over two years as a Bulldog, was not lost on Hodson.

He said: “You couldn’t write it. I thought ‘wow, what a place to make my debut’! But I’m glad to have finally made it, and to get the win.

“(Batley) are a tough team. They just do the simple stuff well. They kept coming and kept coming. They treated us to a really tough game. 

“I think we were a bit shellshocked when we got on the pitch. It’s new to a few people and the hill is a bit daunting. 

“But when we came in at half-time (drawing 14-14), we said the game is not won with the hill. Even though we’re going downhill, the game’s not won.”

Castleford went on to win 28-14 and now hope to translate cup success into a first league win of the year this Thursday when Leeds visit the Jungle.

“It’s something for us to kickstart our season and build on,” added Hodson.

“We’ve broken the losing habit now. Let’s start a winning habit and see what we can do on Thursday.”