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Joe Westerman opens up on why he ‘had to’ leave Castleford Tigers, changes he has made and club improvements

Joe Westerman will play in a Castleford Tigers shirt in 2022 for the first time since 2010.

After journeying around the UK – and the globe with the Toronto Wolfpack – Westerman has signed a two-year deal with his boyhood club.

And, when the loose-forward finally pulls on that shirt again, it will be a moment to savour for the Castleford-born 32-year-old whose entire family supports the Tigers too.

“It’s massive, I think from being what six-year-old? I’ve supported Cas. To be stood on the terraces watching and then to play for them was a dream,” Westerman told the Castleford website.

“I can’t wait for that first run out at The Jungle, it’s something I always dreamed of – to come back here and hopefully finish here. But I always said I’d never come back if I didn’t have it, if I didn’t have any play in me and I’d like to think I’m still playing pretty good rugby. It’ll be good to come out there, the whole family are Cas fans.”

Westerman is also keen to right a few wrongs from his first spell at the club; after four seasons, the Yorkshireman departed at the end of 2010 for Hull FC.

“It’s a bit of unfinished business really, I think I left when there was a little bit going on with myself and with the team. I didn’t really want to go but it was a case of I had to, so to get a chance to play here again and be back at Wheldon Road is brilliant. I’m grabbing this chance with two hands.”

After joining Wakefield Trinity in 2020, Westerman became one of the West Yorkshire club’s best players, and a lot of it came down to some changes the loose-forward made.

“I really enjoyed my time last year; I think physical wise I trained a lot harder than what I have in the past. I kind of realised you can’t get through rugby league just being smart on the field, you have to train hard in the gym and in training.

“I think I played well, I enjoyed my time last year but once again it’s a new season, back at my home club really and I’ve got to just keep going, training hard and then hopefully on the field it will all take care of itself.”

The cold, harsh winter months make our summer sport seem so far away, but this time is vital for the team as Westerman elaborates on.

“Cold days are tough, running into a headwind but it’s been good, good character building.

“I love it, it is exactly what I expected it to be – you turn up and all the boys are good, the coaching staff are outstanding and I think the facilities are a lot better as well. I’m really enjoying it and we haven’t got too long to wait until we’re playing a bit of rugby and back on the field.”

Already the players appear to be a tight-knit and close group of men who all want the best for each other.

“We are and you look at the group and it’s been so good because most of the boys were in pretty much at the same time, all at once together, not in dribs and drabs. Already we’re really good and a tight group, I can’t wait for the season to roll around I think we have such a good squad here. Being a Cas lad and seeing the squad has to be exciting.”

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