CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ Joe Wardle is relishing the chance to make up for lost time with his new club.
The former Huddersfield Giants second-row has had an injury-hit start to life at Wheldon Road since joining from NRL side Newcastle Knights last winter.
He missed the opening two games with a hamstring injury and then suffered the same problem again, forcing him out of the next four.
However, Wardle hopes to make his third successive appearance when Castleford head to Wigan Warriors tonight and admitted: “Sometimes it just can’t be helped.
“The hamstring felt good when I first came back so to play 30 minutes and see it go again was just unfortunate.
“But it feels good now. I just need to get some game time to get back into the swing of things. It will all come eventually.
What Wigan have done this season is go back to basics and being a tough old physical side.Joe Wardle
“And it’s really good here at Cas. It’s a nice place to be.”
They produced their best performance yet with a 41-0 destruction of Catalans Dragons on Sunday and have won seven of their last eight fixtures. Wardle scored his first try for the club against the French side and is looking to improve again versus second-placed Wigan, who won at champions Leeds Rhinos last week.
“They’ve done all right this year haven’t they?” said the 26-year-old from Halifax.
“What Wigan have done this season is go back to basics and being a tough old physical side.
“It will be a tough battle over there and we have to go and match them.
“We’re all looking forward to it and just want to put in another good performance to back-up what we did against Catalans.”
In fairness, Daryl Powell’s side do have a good track record against Wigan, winning each of their last four meetings including two games at the DW Stadium.
Wardle faces an ongoing battle to secure a place in the Tigers side with England international Mike McMeeken, Oli Holmes and in-form Alex Foster among those challenging for back-row spots.
But he said: “The squad in general is massively competitive which is only healthy.
“We all have a good laugh about it as well. We’re always pushing each other.”