Why Jake Mamo is aiming for centre stage at Castleford Tigers

Jake Mamo hopes to secure a spot at centre for Castleford Tigers next season after the “best year” of his career in the position in 2021.

The 27-year-old knows he is approaching what are likely to be the peak years of his career, having signed a three-year deal to move to the Jungle from Warrington.

Mamo scored 16 Super League tries last term, a figure bettered only by Salford’s Ken Sio, despite going into the season as a bit-part player at the Wolves.

That scintillating form came thanks to a run of games at centre, with the former Newcastle Knights and Huddersfield man spending most of his career previously at fullback or on the wing.

“I’m too small to be a winger, and I’m not good enough to be a fullback – I’ve tried that,” Mamo told League Express. “I’m resigned to being a centre, which I prefer much more, it’s a lot easier!

“I think I’m better (there). I’m too small to be a winger, you’ve got to be strong now. You’ve got Derrell (Olpherts), Bureta (Faraimo), Mahe (Fonua), all those are big strong guys.

“And fullback is too stressful, I don’t like catching balls. I’ll stay in the centres for now.

“I aspired to be a fullback, mainly because they get paid more! After a couple of years there trying, I did okay but it was never going to be my position.

“It’s much better (at centre). I’m probably not taking on as many one-on-one carries, running back into the line and smashing my head up. I’m all about self-preservation!”

Mamo added: “I’ll hopefully be playing centre here. I suppose that was my first full year at centre ever, so I’m still going to hopefully learn a bit more and improve a little bit in the position.”

The Aussie has played in the NRL and made a spectacular start to his Super League career with the Giants, but his form rocketed in 2021.

“I suppose when I look back, I’d say last year was probably my best year, which is kind of surprising,” he said. “I would have thought it would come earlier.

“But I think people mature and play their best rugby around 27-30 (years old), so that’s what I will be planning on doing.”

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