After the frustration of the longest lay-off in his long rugby league career Castleford Tigers pack star Andy Lynch is delighted to be fit again and raring to return to action.
Lynch has not played since he suffered a broken leg against St Helens on May 1 with his absence extended by long standing wrist and finger injuries that have also been operated on now to give him he hopes a clean bill of health to start 2017.
The popular prop forward is hoping to put himself to the test in Sunday’s pre-season warm-up against Wakefield Trinity and wants to play in one of the other friendlies as well to make sure he is match sharp for the opening Super League match.
He said: “It’s been a while since I played so it will be good to get the boots back on and get out there with the lads again in some games.
“It was very frustrating last year. It was one of those freak accidents I suppose that you can’t do anything about.
“I’ve never had such a lengthy lay-off before, I’ve been quite lucky, all mine have been the type of injuries where you could put them off until the end of the year. I had the work done with my leg and ankle then I had my long term wrist and finger injuries and it was beneficial to get them done so that I would be right for the start of the season.
“Near enough everything’s right now and I will be ready to go for the start of Super League.
“I hope to play in the pre-season games if selected. I’ll put my name forward and want to get a couple of games under my belt so that I need to know what I need to work on to get it right for that first round against Leigh.”
Lynch, at 37 the oldest player in Super League, is under contract for 2017 with an option to play on for another year, but he admits he does not know yet whether fans will see him in a Cas shirt in 2018.
He said: “My body feels great at the moment. Once I go into contact in games it might be different.
“You get used to that as a player, it’s just like getting back from pre-season and a few weeks off, your body gets a bit sore, but you get used to it.
“I don’t know yet whether I will play on after this year. I’m quite happy at the moment with this pre-season, but we will see how things go later on in the year and then I will probably make a decision after sitting down with the coaches.”
Lynch, meanwhile, is expecting a big season for the Tigers.
He added: “We’ve had a tough pre-season, everybody is ready to go and it’s exciting times.
“I think the possibilities are endless. The squad on paper is really strong and the big thing this year is strength in depth.
“We’ve got three or four players for each position so it’s not a case of just turning up and you will get in the team this year. You are going to have to perform because if you don’t there’s players waiting in the wings to take your place.
“It shows in training. The intensity and skills – everything is rock sharp.
“We are testing each other all the time and that’s what we want pre-season to test ourselves so that when we actually go into games and come under pressure we can apply what we have been doing in training.
“There’s little bits of fine tuning to do, the majority of which we will do when we go to Lanzarote.”