We should be challenging: Joe Westerman predicts big year for Castleford
Castleford forward Joe Westerman says the club should be challenging for silverware this season following an impressive recruitment drive.
Tigers coach Lee Radford has been able to put his own stamp on his squad over the off-season having made seven new signings.
Among those seven are Gareth Widdop and Jacob Miller, who will form a new-look half-back partnership in 2023.
Having just missed out on a spot in the play-offs last season, Westerman is backing his side to finish in the top six in 2023.
“We’ve recruited well,” Westerman told Love Rugby League. “Obviously with our injuries last year, a lot of young kids got a run and they’ll be better with another year under their belt.
“I think the squad is looking good and with the signings we’ve made, we should be challenging.
“It’s a really good group of lads. I’ve been at clubs where some players think they are bigger than the club but you haven’t got it with this group. We are all a bunch of lads who want to go out there, work hard and hopefully we’ll do it this year.
“We need to be up there. You’ve got to be in the play-offs to win it. We’ve got to be consistently good.
“Last year going into that Leeds game, I think we got wrote off early and we had loads out. I think if we keep our players injury free, then we should challenge.”
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Joe Westerman ageing like a fine wine
The 33-year-old loose forward once hated the gym work and pre-season, but now he loves it.
“Pre-season has been good,” he added. “We are at the back end of it now so hopefully we can get into the season flying. I think this pre-season is my 17th or 18th one.
“If I weren’t doing them I think I would kind of miss them.
“As I got older I had to try to make sure I did my work in the gym. I never really used to do it when I was younger. I’m talking early 20s because I used to just get through it but now I’ve got a bit older, I need to make sure I keep on top of it like my leg weights and the gym to make sure I’m the strongest I can be.”
Westerman is also enjoying playing under Tigers coach Lee Radford.
“I’ve always got on with Radders,” the England international said. “I said it last year, you come to training with a smile on your face.
“If you work hard then you can have a laugh with it as well so that’s Radders. That’s why I love coming to training and working.”
Castleford get their Super League campaign underway at Westerman’s former club Hull on Sunday, February 19.
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