Joe Westerman one of world’s best ball-playing 13s, says coach

Josh McAllister
Liam Watts and Joe Westerman Castleford SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Castleford Tigers assistant coach Andy Last has praised Joe Westerman as one of the best ball-playing loose forwards in the world.

Westerman, 32, returned to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle during the off-season on a two-year deal.

The England international began his career at Castleford, making his debut in 2007.

He reunites with head coach Lee Radford and assistant Last at the Tigers, with the former praising him as the best in the world in his position.

Nobody better than Joe Westerman

Last told Love Rugby League: “He’s someone I’ve coached for a long time. We signed him as a young lad from Castleford back in my Hull days and he’s an exceptional player. 

“I think that the way the modern game has gone and is going in terms of the speed of the ruck and that ability to play through the middles and having someone who can link the edges to that middle unit, I don’t think there’s anybody better in the competition and I’d go as far to say I don’t think there’s anybody better in world rugby league who does that job as well as Joe Westerman does. 

“I’m a nerd and I watch plenty of NRL. We’re talking about the likes of Victor Radley, Cam Murray and Isaah Yeo for the Penrith Panthers. Joe has been doing this ball-playing 13 role for the last five or six years. 

“He has a fair bit of experience doing it and he’s doing it exceptionally well.”

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Castleford search for second league win

The Tigers search for their second win of the Super League season as they host Toulouse. The two sides sit 11th and 12th in the table respectively.

They claimed their spot in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup with an impressive 40-16 victory.

“But as good as Joe’s been playing, I think the team has taken a fair step in the right direction,” said Last.

“Joe can only do what he does when there’s that understanding of how he likes to play his plays and I think the middles have really started to get a feel for what he’s capable of doing.

“I think the edges, the likes of Trueman, O’Brien and Evalds linking up with him and getting on the back of his ball playing ability has been evident. It’s been joyful to watch.”

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