Castleford Tigers forward Liam Watts is loving life with his hometown team and believes it is showing in his displays on the pitch.
Front rower Watts admitted he was not enjoying his rugby league in his final days at Hull, but has his enthusiasm back now and benefiting from a full pre-season to make his mark for the Tigers in the early games in the 2019 Betfred Super League.
Watts is playing massive minutes for a prop and has been one of the stand-outs as Cas have won their first three matches.
He told the Express: “I’m pleased with the way it’s going.
“I had a sit down with Daryl (Powell) at the start of the season and said my goal and aim was to be the main prop forward in the team and be the cornerstone in defence and attack.
“The onus is on me and at the moment I think I’m handling it pretty well so long may that continue. We’ve picked up a few injuries in the back row and a couple of the middles so Junior and Jesse are playing in the back row and it’s meant more minutes for me.
“I’m enjoying it. You’ve always got internationals in the back of your mind, but my main goal this year is that I just want to enjoy playing and get a smile on my face.
“I’ve picked up a few bans over the years and I was just falling out of love with the game, just picking up stupid stuff and missing games.
“I don’t like missing games, you get paid to play and that’s what I like doing.
“On a personal level I just want to be happy in my life. I’m happy at Cas at the minute and it does show in your rugby.
“Hopefully I do get some recognition at the end of the year, but my main aim is playing well for Cas.”
Watts puts his fine start to the campaign down to having a good pre-season.
He explained: “I’m feeling fit. I’ve had a good pre-season and it’s one of the first pre-seasons where I’ve not really missed a session.
“You normally get the odd niggle and stuff because they are pretty intense, but I think I may have missed only one session this time.
“It’s good to get a good pre-season in with the lads and it does set you up for the season ahead.”
Watts is now gearing up to face former team Hull KR and expects a tough test and a good atmosphere at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
He added: “We’ve done well in a tough start, but it won’t get any easier this week.
“Hull KR come into it on the back of giving up a 22-point lead. I’m sure they will not want to be doing that again so it’s going to be a tough game.
“It’s a long time since I played at KR and there’s not too many faces from when I played there, but I’m looking forward to Friday and you always want to play well against your old clubs.
“It’s just going to be nice to be back at home playing in front of a decent crowd. You would expect KR to bring a good crowd on Friday and it should be a good atmosphere. I’m sure the Cas fans will be down in thousands supporting us.”