Castleford Tigers’ fit-again Jake Trueman aims to impose himself on Super League and send Daryl Powell off with silverware

IT is understandable why Castleford Tigers stand-off Jake Trueman says he wants to “impose” himself on games more this season.

Castleford Tigers' back Jake Trueman believes he is capable of taking his game to the next level this season. Picture: Tony Johnson

One of the most gifted young players in Super League, the 22-year-old was dogged by a persistent back injury last term which prevented him from ever fully finding his flow.

It was a shame not only for him but the watching public, too.

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Add in the pandemic and lockdown and it almost seemed like the burgeoning talent’s career had been put on hold.

After the longest off-season in the competition’s history, Castleford finally get underway again against Warrington Wolves at Emerald Headingley tomorrow.

Kick-off cannot come quick enough for Trueman.

“I’m just ready to go now especially with what happened last year with Cas,” he told The Yorkshire Post, Tigers winning just two of their 10 games after the sport returned from lockdown in August.

“It wasn’t the best season for us. It didn’t end really well and, personally, being injured quite a bit, I do just want a fresh start and to get back into it.

HEADING OUT: Castleford Tigers' head coach Daryl Powell. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“I feel fine now, all good to go and fitter this season than I ever have.

“But I want to take my game to the next level. I want to play six throughout the year and play as many games as possible.

“I’m aiming to be more controlled and more of a dominant half-back; I want to handle the ball a bit more, impose myself on games and have more of a say in results.”

That will be music to the ears of Daryl Powell, who is starting his final campaign as Castleford head coach.

You sense if he is to end his eight years in charge with a first major trophy – a maiden Super League title or Challenge Cup – Trueman will have to come of age and blossom into a more consistent force.

Delivering for the much-respected Powell, who announced a little more than week ago that this would be his last season at Wheldon Road, is clearly high in the squad’s thoughts.

“He’s been massive for me and my career,” said Trueman, who was brought to Castleford by the former Great Britain stand-off when Bradford Bulls went into liquidation in 2017.

“He’s taught me a lot and done so much for this club. I can’t speak highly enough about him and that’s what people said about him when I came here; Daryl was the difference for me coming to Cas.

“It was a little bit of a surprise when he told us the news last week. He threw it on us one morning and told us he was leaving but I think that was the best thing – to get it out in the open early and now we can deal with it and crack on for the year.

“And that’s the aim – to send Daryl out with a trophy.”

Warrington, though, are in a similar position; coach Steve Price announced last month that he will be heading back to Australia at the end of 2021.

He has hinted that Greg Inglis, the iconic Australia centre who has come out of retirement for a shot at Super League, will not debut against Castleford as the Queenslander’s fitness levels are not quite up to scratch yet.

Having crashed out of the play-offs yet again last term, despite more expensive recruitment on the likes of England stand-off Gareth Widdop, yet another year has passed without the big-spenders winning a first title since 1955.

Powell, of course, has been linked with replacing Price at Warrington in 2022 which makes tomorrow’s game all the more intriguing.

Bradford-born Trueman – who hopes to break into the England World Cup squad at the end of the year after touring with Great Britain in 2019 – added: “I think they will go well this season.

“They’ll be disappointed with what happened last year but they have recruited some quality and will be there or thereabouts at the end of this one so it will be a good test for us.

“Their halves – Widdop and Blake Austin – are probably two of the biggest profile players in the league. I like to go up against quality players as I like to see if I can match it with them.”

All the signs are that Trueman can and if he carries out his aim of imposing himself more, it could be Castleford lifting silverware come the end of it all.

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