After virtually cleaning up on the awards front at the end of his great season domestically Castleford Tigers’ outstanding young hooker Daryl Clark now cannot wait to test himself at the next level.
Clark crowned his best season in a Cas shirt with another memorable occasion when he was named both Steve Prescott Man of Steel and Super League’s Young player of the Year at a glittering ceremony last week. This was on top of winning awards at the Tigers’ presentation night last week and the supporters’ club player of the year evening the previous week.
But there is little time to sit back and bask in the glory for the 21-year-old Airedale lad as he is chasing more success with England now in the Four Nations tournament about to start in Australia and New Zealand.
Clark, who became the third Castleford player to be named Man of Steel – following Rangi Chase in 2011 and Adrian Vowles in 1999 – cannot wait to get stuck into the Aussies, although he revealed he has great respect for the game down under.
He said: “It’s going to be tough, but I suppose that’s what you want to do – test yourself against the best players in your position to see where you stand and how you can go against the best teams and players in the world.
“As a kid growing up I wanted to play at the highest level and it’s going to be a new experience. I can’t wait.
“I see pretty much every game in the NRL. I’ve got them on series link and watch them when I have time through the week on my days off.
“Obviously, it’s a bit different watching to then playing against them.
“But I’m just looking to go there and enjoy it. It’s something new for me. I’ve never been involved with the England set-up and a tour, too, so that’s what I’m hoping to do – enjoy the experience.”
On winning the Man of Steel award, ahead of Jamie Peacock, James Roby and Chris Hill, Clark said: “With the other three nominees you couldn’t complain if it went to any of those. They’ve all had great seasons so I was pretty speechless.
“I didn’t expect to go there and win both awards. It was a pretty amazing moment for me.
“And to win it in the first year it’s been named after Steve Prescott is a special honour.
“The videos we watched beforehand showed just what a legend he was. I’m privileged.”
Clark is joining Warrington Wolves for next season, but believes his hometown team can still continue to thrive.
He added: “It’s been an amazing season. We got written off by a lot of people but I’d like to think we proved a lot wrong.
“With Daryl Powell in charge and the players they’ve got Cas should have no trouble repeating what they’ve done this season. I’d like to wish all the boys all the best for next year and the club and the fans all the best for the future.”