Castleford Tigers forward Oliver Holmes is hoping to finally be over the injury nightmare that has ruined his year so far and is keen to do his bit for the team from here on in as they aim to secure the League Leaders’ Shield and reach the Grand Final.
Back rower Holmes, 25 yesterday, returned from a long lay-off in the 26-12 defeat against St Helens and delivered a strong second half display after coming off the bench.
It was only his fifth appearance of the season and his first since April following a knee injury picked up in pre-season, which Holmes is confident he is now recovered from.
He said: “I am happy to be back out there.
“It was a disappointing result, so mixed feelings for me really. It hasn’t been the best year for me up to now.
“Coming in and out of the team with the same injury has been difficult, but the problem has been solved now and I am ready to crack on and finish the season strong rather than looking back on all that disappointment.
“They found some bones that were in the back of my tendon that had been there probably for eight, nine or 10 years - it’s hard to tell really.
“It’d never really given me much trouble until the start of this year.
“They went in, took them out and now I’ve made a full recovery.”
Holmes has found it frustrating being on the sidelines while the Tigers have been racking up the points.
He said: “It has been difficult sat in the stands, travelling to all the away games not on the bus. That was through my own choosing so the lads have got a bit of space on the bus to themselves.
“But you feel isolated from the team because when they’re out on the field you are in the gym doing rehab and stuff like that.
“You don’t get to interact with them as much as you would if you are fully fit and training.
“That’s the down side of an injury, but it’s something you’ve got to get through and got to do to get back in with the lads.”
Holmes now wants to help the Tigers finish the job they have started this year .
He added: “The lads have done a lot of the hard work so far. They’ve put themselves in a great position in the league and into the Super 8s.
“Hopefully I can slot back in there, do my job and carry on what they’ve started.
“I got about 35 minutes last week and I definitely feel better for it. There’s no fitness like match fitness.
“No matter what you do on the field in training fitness-wise it won’t replicate what you have to do in a game so my lungs definitely feel better for that time.”