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Castleford’s McMeeken looking to find his best form

CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ England forward Mike McMeeken admits he has yet to reach his best form this season.

The back rower came back late to pre-season after being a member of the England World Cup squad and by his own admission has been something of a slow starter in the Betfred Super League season, although he was one of the Tigers’ most consistent performers in their exciting 25-24 win over Leeds Rhinos at Elland Road.

Mike McMeeken takes some stopping in Castleford Tigers' game against Leeds Rhinos at Elland Road. Picture: Matthew Merrick

Mike McMeeken takes some stopping in Castleford Tigers' game against Leeds Rhinos at Elland Road. Picture: Matthew Merrick

“I am still working on match fitness and little things on the field to make myself better,” he said.

“You are never going to be the finished article and there’s always things to be working on.”

Cas make the short journey to Wakefield Trinity tomorrow to kick off Betfred Super League’s Easter fixtures. They will be aiming for a fifth straight win and the hosts are on a two-match losing run, but McMeeken is predicting a tight contest.

He said: “Over the last few seasons they have been really good.

“We expect them to come after us. They’ve got a big forward pack with a lot of skill and we are expecting a big contest.

“Throughout their whole pack they have got a lot of threat they’ve got a lot of skill in terms of moving the ball about and offloads.”

McMeeken, meanwhile, says it is important that this summer’s mid-season Test against New Zealand goes ahead.

The game, set for Denver, Colorado on Saturday, June 23, is under threat because of opposition from clubs in the NRL.

They say playing at altitude, in summer conditions, will put players’ health at risk, something denied by England doctor Chris Brookes.

McMeeken is a member of England’s elite performance group and likely to be in the squad for the trip to America.

“It is a massive game for us,” he said. “Last year showed that having a mid-season Test helped up heaps when it came to the World Cup.

“We were massively competitive in both the first game against Australia and the final as well and I think a lot of that was down to that mid-season Test.

“The England lads meet up every month, but having that mid-season Test when we have game time with each other helps.”

The Denver game is also set to begin the countdown to the World Cup due to be played in the United States and Canada in seven years’ time.

“It’s not every week or every year you can play in places like Denver,” McMeeken added.

“It will be a massive event, you sense there’ll be a massive following of the game and it is going to make the game grow.”