Sam Wood lays out Castleford Tigers objectives as he reflects on Hull KR stay
The 26-year-old will link up with his new team-mates today following his switch from Craven Park on a three-year deal.
Wood played 33 games during his two-year stint with the Robins without making a position his own.
The versatile outside back is targeting a centre spot at Wheldon Road but knows he must hit the ground running to catch the eye of new boss Craig Lingard.
"Andy Last took me to Cas and his plans were for me to be a starting centre," said Wood. "That's what really drew me to Castleford.
"I understand I need to still work hard and put in the hours on the training paddock but it's something that really whet my appetite to go there and become a starting figure and mainstay in the squad.
"I took myself out of my comfort zone at Huddersfield by moving to Hull and am really grateful for the experience.
"I got a good number of games in. I wasn't playing in my preferred spot but got a decent amount of games on the wing.
"I'm looking forward to nailing down a starting position at Cas. I'm at that age where I want to be starting; I don't want to be that guy that comes in when there’s an injury.
"I've had five weeks off now and am chomping at the bit to get going."
Although he played his final game for Rovers in June, Wood's season officially ended in early October after an arduous journey back to fitness.
The Huddersfield Giants academy product is optimistic that his knee issues are now behind him.
"It was a bit of a nasty one," he said.
"I ruptured my MPFL which is a little ligament that basically keeps your patella from dislocating. I've done it four, five, maybe six times throughout my career so far and the one in Catalans was the final straw.
"I ruptured my MCL as well which is the ligament on the side of your knee so it was a double whammy.
"I was in a brace for a couple of weeks and then had that reconstructed as well.
"It needed doing at some point anyway. It also allowed me to put my body back together."
Wood was restricted to 11 appearances in 2023 and had to settle for the role of spectator as KR reached Wembley and got to within 80 minutes of a maiden Super League Grand Final.
The second half of the season was a bittersweet experience for Wood.
"I was playing well up until I did my knee," he said.
"I was hitting some form and putting a few games together. It probably came at the wrong time for me but we got to a Challenge Cup final and a play-off semi-final. I was really happy for the boys.
"I was fit to play in the last two games of the season but we were playing well and winning so I didn't get in the squad. I was still there to help the lads.
"My knee feels really good now. I feel brand new and ready to start with Cas."
Whereas Rovers are expected to fight for silverware in 2024, Castleford are at the start of a rebuild under Lingard after flirting with relegation last season.
Wood is out to help the new-look Tigers get the supporters quickly back onside.
"It should be a really exciting time for the fans," he said. "Hopefully we can give them something to be proud about this year.
"We'll be looking to put the effort in and give them a performance to be proud of week in, week out."