Castleford Tigers half-back Ben Roberts is aiming to make up for lost time after battling back to fitness ahead of the new 2017 Super League season.
Roberts made his comeback from injury in last Sunday’s pre-season game at Wakefield and played his part in an impressive first half when the Tigers opened up a 24-4 lead.
He was rested for the second half and will now be hoping to come through the warm weather camp in Lanzarote to play in either of Castleford’s remaining two pre-season matches at Batley and St Helens at the end of the month.
The 31-year-old former NRL player is determined to make an impact with Castleford this season after playing only five games in 2016 following a foot problem that turned out to be more serious than anyone had suspected.
He said: “I had 12 weeks off then I came back and thought I’d be all right to play.
“It was the same injury, but actually they didn’t find the crack the first time they scanned it.
“They thought it was just ligaments in my foot and they gave it time to heal itself, then they found the crack. It was a very frustrating season for me personally.
“Not knowing what the injury actually was the first time was pretty frustrating. I wanted to be out there with the boys, then when I finally got out there I re-did it, got scanned and it came back as a lisfrank, which is separation of the bones in the foot.
“It was a bit of an awkward one, I think other than doing your Achilles it’s got to be one of the worst you can probably get.
“Two plates and six screws later that’s done and it’s all good.
“I’m just glad they found it and it’s now been fixed.”
Roberts acknowledged he faces competition to get back into the Tigers team following the arrival of Rangi Chase and Zak Hardaker in particular.
He said: “Those guys have won the highest honour you can in Super League.
“I am looking at it as a challenge I am looking forward to.
“They are class players, but I am pretty confident in my own ability and what I can bring to the team as well.
“If I play full-back or stand-off, as long as I am helping the boys out and contributing to the team I am happy.”
Roberts’ preference is to play at stand-off, but he has become more open minded about playing in other positions since coming to Castleford.
He added: “Daryl (Powell) has opened my eyes up to being more of a utility player. I am enjoying it. One of my strengths is running and obviously at full-back you get a fair bit of space to do that.”