Castleford Tigers’ “new old boy” Andy Lynch is delighted to be back at the place where it all started for him in rugby league and wants to play his part in bringing on the next generation of stars at the club.
Lynch, 34, rejoined Cas from Hull FC on a two-year deal in the close season as one of head coach Daryl Powell’s astute experienced recruits and intends to put his 14 years as a first team player to good use.
He told the Express: “My aim for the season is to try and play well every week and keep the intensity high. And a big thing for me is I’d like to help the younger lads, the likes of Dan Fleming and Will Maher.
“Help them understand that it’s not just about being big and strong, but having game sense.
“If I can bring along some of the young lads and academy lads through, help them progress and get them ready for when they do play first team it will be a job well done.
“They do tell me how old I am! But I just want to help them and if they are willing to learn that’s even better.
“There is a lot of good young talent at the club and lads who are wanting to progress so you don’t mind helping them. Every now and then they give me some advice so it can be give and take sometimes.”
Prop forward Lynch started out in the Castleford academy before making it through to the first team where he played 137 games before going on to enjoy successful spells with Bradford Bulls and Hull.
He is excited at his return “home” and is counting down the days until the start of the 2014 Super League season.
He said: “I’m glad to be back at Cas. The fans are great, the people who run the club are great and the players and staff as well.
“Obviously the personnel has changed since I last played for Cas, but the feeling is the same, just the way the fans are with the players.
“I was here a long time. I think it was 1996 I started with the academy and I left in 2004.
“It’s taken long enough to get back and I’m here now and can’t wait to get started.
“Daryl (Powell) and the coaching staff have been great and I feel that I’m still learning, which is a good thing.
“It’s always great to play at Cas. The atmosphere was even great on Boxing Day. I know it was only a friendly, but the fans were great.
“What we want to do is start playing well week in, week out and get all the fans back down so we can get the place rocking. That’s down to us playing well so hopefully we can get everyone on board again.”
Lynch believes it is a good time to be back at Castleford.
He added: “Training’s been going brilliant. It’s been a tough pre-season, but enjoyable as well.
“We had a week down in Devon with the Army lads and they were fantastic. It was a real tough week and we did some stuff that took us out of our comfort zone and brought us together. Hopefully that will stand us in good stead when we are under pressure in games.
“It’s been a long pre-season, but we’ve got the warm-up games now to get it right for the first game in Super League against Bradford.
“It’s a big season, not just for Cas, for all the Super League teams. Everyone will be after getting in the top eight.
“I don’t know if relegation is good for the game. There’s a lot for it and a lot against it, but if we do our job and play consistently week in, week out we’ll be challenging for that top eight with the squad we’ve got and no-one will be talking about relegation.
“We’ve just got to keep improving each week with these pre-season games and get that consistency. I think top eight is definitely achievable for us this year. We’ve trained really well and it’s just about taking that into games.”