Joe Cator has had some serious bad luck over the last two seasons.
After great form in 2021, his season ended prematurely with an achilles injury against Hull KR.
He returned from injury last year but suffered the same injury again against Leeds Rhinos.
He got himself back in the mix against Sheffield Eagles last week in pre-season and said: “I was fully fit for the pre-season, it was the same normal nerves but getting that first game ticked off will do me the world of confidence,” he said on BBC Humberside.
“I didn’t process it for a while, it was tough to take those first few weeks. I couldn’t believe it, there was a lot of sadness and lot of cries but once I did come round and I had to do it being sad or just get on with it, thankfully I chose the latter.”
Cator will be hoping for a new start and it is a new start at Hull FC with Tony Smith taking charge of the club in 2023.
The loose-forward described Smith as “a breath of fresh air”: “It’s been a breath of fresh air. It’s kind of like a new-look Hull FC, new facilities, new staff and new squad so hopefully we can make it a successful season.”
Meanwhile he described new signing Brad Dwyer as what Hull FC have been needing in recent years: “He’s been what we’ve been screaming out for. A bit of pace around the rook and hopefully it’s going to push us onto the next level. He’s been a breath of fresh air around the training ground and been very vocal.”
Dwyer will be in competition with veteran Danny Houghton and the versatile Joe Lovodua for the number nine shirt in 2023.
Dwyer himself has said he is more than an impact hooker.
He did so last night at Hull FC’s Hall of Fame event.
The former Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves hooker, who is a former Challenge Cup winner with the Rhinos and produced plenty of heroics in 2022, said:
“I think I’ve shown over the last few years that I’m more than an impact hooker – I think I’ve matured and I’ll continue to do that in this new environment.”