For born and bred Castleford lad Tom Holmes it will be the perfect start to his career as a Featherstone Rovers player when he steps back out onto the Mend-A-Hose Jungle pitch on Boxing Day – and he cannot wait.
Rovers’ new half-back is raring to go after training for the first time alongside his new team-mates on Monday night.
Featherstone players began pre-season training ahead of the 2018 campaign so their preparations for Rovers’ December 26 trip to Castleford for the festive derby challenge are now under way.
Holmes, who arrived from the Mend-A-Hose Jungle last month, is keen to make his Rovers debut in the pre-season match against his former club.
He said: “I have really enjoyed my first few days here and there is some hard graft ahead, knowing my first game for Featherstone is likely to be against Castleford.
“The atmosphere down at the Jungle will be good and it will be fantastic to see a big following of Rovers supporters packing the away end.
“We want to make the Boxing Day game a special one, particularly now I have swapped orange and black for navy and white!
“It has been great getting to know the players and coaching staff here and I think there are exciting times ahead.”
Holmes is relishing the prospect of a battle for his half-back position at Featherstone with the experienced Anthony Thackeray and Martyn Ridyard also in the squad.
The 21-year-old believes the healthy competition in the halves can be good for Featherstone in 2018 to drive up standards.
He added: “It is going to be really exciting for me to line up alongside the likes of Martin and Anthony.
“They are both fantastic players and bring huge amounts to the team.
“My challenge is to get in the team with them and that is what I will be aiming to do.
“It is all good. Healthy competition is a great thing to have as form can come and go and injuries often occur.
“So for John (Duffy) to be able to call on quality halves, all fighting hard for places, will only boost our chances as a team.”