New signing Jy Hitchcox is aiming to make the most of the Super League opportunity he has been handed by Daryl Powell and Castleford Tigers.
The 26-year-old Australian outside back, who played for local rivals Featherstone Rovers last season, knows he may have to be patient for his chance to shine with the Tigers with big competition for places at the club, but is determined to make an impact.
Hitchcox has signed a one-year deal with Cas and admitted setting his sights on Super League when he came over to play in the Championship with Featherstone.
“That was my personal goal,” he said.
“I was hoping to play as good as I could in the Championship and get the call-up to Super League.
“It’s a little bit different the game, obviously around the ruck and the speed of the line is a little bit different to Australia and the Championship.
“I’m learning every day and hopefully it goes well.”
Hitchcox said it did not take him long to decide that a switch to Castleford would be a good option for him following with talks with head coach Daryl Powell.
He said: “I spoke with Daryl a couple of times, about what he wanted and what I could bring to the table as a player.
“I bring a bit of speed around the ruck. He was happy with it and I was happy with how the club’s run.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Daryl and it was a pretty easy after that.
“They just missed out on top four so that’s obviously what we’re striving for this year. If we knuckle down like we have been I think we’ll do well.”
Hitchcox’s favoured position is full-back, but his utility value is likely to be important as he can also play on the wing or centre and he is happy to fill in wherever the team and coach needs him.
He began as a junior with Gold Coast Titans and represented Australia at under 18 level, touring and playing three tests against England and France early in his career.
He went onto Melbourne Storm then rugby union with Manly Marlins before joining the Wests Tigers in 2012.
Hitchcox made his NRL debut in 2014 and made four appearances for Wests, while he has racked up more than 60 New South Wales Cup appearances.
But he enjoyed his first slice of West Yorkshire life in 2015 and is settling in well with his new team-mates after arriving at the end of last month.
He added: “All the boys have been very welcoming.
“There’s a real good vibe amongst the team, a hunger to do well. It’s looking like a good year.
“I’m only (living) five minutes down the road so I’m probably a bit closer than I was last year. It’s been good.
“I’ve been learning a lot from Dorny, he’s been really helpful. So has Shenny as well. Everyone’s thrown in their helping hand and it’s doing me wonders.”
Tigers boss Powell said Hitchcox would be last recruit ahead of the new season and is looking forward to seeing what he can add to the team.
He said: “He’s a little bit unknown. I’ve watched him play, seen some video footage and he’s very sharp with great feet, very strong and has a bit of instinct for the game.
“He beats people for fun. He’s got a fair bit of work to do physically, but if he can do that he will be challenging.
“He could be someone who comes in and provides something people don’t know what to expect from and that’s very exciting for us.”