Evergreen Super League star Jake Webster cannot wait to hear the roar of the Castleford Tigers fans again as another season kicks off this week.
The New Zealand international centre loves life at Cas and is full of praise for the backing the players receive from supporters.
He told the Express: “It is amazing. I have played at some big stadiums in my career, but coming out here to the fans we’ve got, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 or 6,000 here the sound is deafening.
“It spurs you on. Everyone says it’s like an extra man on the field and it is.
“It’s fantastic and hopefully they support us like they did last year. I am really looking forward to getting the season underway this week.”
Although now 34, Webster has been a stand-out performer for the Tigers in the last two years when he has stayed largely injury free and he intends to keep playing as long as his body will allow.
He said: “I love it here, Cas have brought the love of rugby league back for me.
“I am getting old and everyone thinks it’ll be time to retire soon, but I can’t see the end.
“My wife is telling me this is your last year, but she’s been saying it for the last two. If she says it for another two or three I’ll be happy.
“As long as the coach is happy and my body stays healthy I’ll be happy to stay.”
Webster believes everything is in place for Cas to be at the top end of the table again.
He said: “We’ve kept the core of the squad together and made a few little additions the coaching staff thought we needed.
“We’ve developed more as a team and we are going in the right direction and hopefully we can just build on it.”
After playing through some leaner times at Cas Webster is well placed to put last season into perspective when the Tigers won the League Leaders’ Shield for the first time, but lost out in the Super League Grand Final.
He added: “It was a great season. Everyone keeps saying you were one step short of a fantastic season, but it was still very special to do the things we did.
“We won the league by 10 points, but that was last year and it’s a new year starting on Friday for us. We want to make sure we weren’t just there for one year, we want to continue for the next few years.
“There’s a fire burning in everyone. To go out the way we did is not the way we were through the whole year.
“We saved our worst performance until last. Not taking anything away from Leeds, they played the conditions fantastic and they deserved to win that day.
“But we knew we weren’t to our high standards and that’s going to burn deep inside for many months until hopefully we can rectify it.
“We have got to take something out of last year. We were confident last year, without being cocky. We have got the confidence about us that we know what we’ve got to do and we know how the season panned out last year was fantastic for us, but it is going be to a lot tougher this year.
“We’ve trained for it and hopefully we can start the season like we did last year.”