First team forward Oliver Holmes is delighted to be back on the field after admitting to being frustrated to have missed the start of the 2017 season through injury.
Back rower Holmes returned to the Tigers team in the 52-16 win against Huddersfield Giants as a first half substitute and played his part in the Betfred Super League victory with some strong runs and typically robust tackling that impressed head coach Daryl Powell.
“I enjoyed getting back out there. It was a bit of a shock to the system that first 15 minutes. The lungs were screaming for a bit of oxygen but I did enjoy getting back out there with the boys,” said Holmes.
“It’s been quite annoying as with the injury I’ve had I’ve never been quite sure how long I was going to be out for and how long it’d take to get right. It was all a bit of a guessing game.
“I sort of had in my mind that I’d be right for the start of the season but it wasn’t to be.
“That was frustrating but watching the boys play well you get mixed emotions really as you want to be out there enjoying it with everyone but then it’s annoying not being out there, too.”
Holmes was pleased to be on the winning side on his return to action, but did not think Cas were at their best.
He said: “Huddersfield came after us in that first half. We were a bit erratic at times; our completions were pretty poor in that first half and they put us under a bit of pressure but to come in at half-time with the scoreline that we did just shows we are a top-four team.
“But we just need to be more tidy with what we’re doing - we’re not starting games too good at the minute and that needs to be addressed.”
Holmes is looking forward to getting stuck into Wigan next, so long as he overcomes an ankle knock he picked up in his comeback game: “I came back from injury twice away at Wigan last year so this is nothing new to me.
“I thought it was going to Wigan again but I managed to get back for Huddersfield a week before so that’s blown a few cobwebs off.
“I can’t wait to get out there. Everyone’s talking about it but it’s just another game and we don’t want to make too much of a fuss about it.
“We want to get back to doing what we do best and that should stand us in good stead.”
Holmes knows he faces some stiff competition to keep his place in the back row with Mike McMeeken, Junior Moors and Jesse Sene-Lefao all starting the season well and Grant Millington also used in the position as well.
He added: “We’ve got a big squad this year and the strength in depth is probably the best I’ve seen since I’ve been here as Cas.
“That’s testimony to Powelly, the coaching staff and the board that’s got everyone here and which hopefully will stand us in good stead coming up to Easter now.
“That’s a busy part of the season for us. There will be injuries through the season so having that strength in depth is important. But getting in the squad is one thing - you just need to make sure when you’re in there you keep your spot.”