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Super League: Castleford Tigers’ Joe Westerman hopes home advantage can help fell Huddersfield Giants

Joe Westerman hopes home advantage can help Castleford to another win over one of Super League’s high-flying teams

‘Welcome to the jungle, we’ve got fun and games’ – Axl Rose may have been inspired to write the lyrics to the 1987 Guns N’ Roses hit by a visit to Seattle, but similar feelings may be elicited by those teams who travel to one corner of West Yorkshire each season.

Castleford Tigers’ Mend-A-Hose Jungle – still Wheldon Road to those who remember the days before Tigers, Rhinos, Wolves and other wildlife were prowling the pitches of the Betfred Super League – has been home to the club since 1927 and, with local rivals Wakefield Trinity’s Belle Vue now undergoing redevelopment, remains the last of the top-flight’s traditional grounds.

The march of progress means the whole ground is planned to be modernised in the near future, but for now it remains somewhere which generates a unique atmosphere in rugby league with the fervent home fans so close to the edge of the pitch.

Castleford forward Joe Westerman, born in nearby Pontefract, has experienced it both as a supporter and a player, and with the Tigers’ attendance so far this year averaging around 8,230 he is determined that the team keep making the most of that home advantage.

“It’s massive,” Westerman told Sky Sports. “You can put 6,000 in Cas and it feels like there are 16,000 there because it’s an old-school kind of stadium

“I’ve been a Cas fan myself and there’s nothing better than being stood on the terraces and seeing Cas win.

“We just need to keep performing, getting the fans behind us and I think we’ll keep getting the wins.”

Super League: Castleford Tigers' Joe Westerman hopes home advantage can help fell Huddersfield GiantsSuper League: Castleford Tigers' Joe Westerman hopes home advantage can help fell Huddersfield Giants

Castleford Tigers vs Huddersfield Giants

July 1, 2022, 7:30pm

Live on

Huddersfield Giants become the latest team to enter The Jungle in 2022 in the opening match of Round 17 of Super League’s regular season, live on Sky Sports, and are aiming to record their seventh-straight win in the competition after a 38-10 win away to Hull Kingston Rovers last Sunday.

The third-placed Giants will be facing a Cas side which stunned Catalans Dragons in golden point extra-time thanks to a drop goal from Danny Richardson which secured a 17-16 win and put Lee Radford’s side into the top six.

Giants back Ashton Golding is relishing the prospect of taking on a team on their home patch which beat a Dragons side battling it out with them at the top of the table too.

“That’s what you want,” Golding told Sky Sports. “You want to play every team when they’re playing their best because how can you truly say you’ve beaten the best if you’re not playing everyone when they’re firing?

“Cas have just beaten Catalans and it’s an impressive win and they’ll be looking to take our scalp as well and we’ll be looking to do the same.

Huddersfield's Ashton Golding reflects on the 'hard working' mentality that has led to his team's back to back wins and says they are preparing for a stern test against Castleford Tigers on Friday.

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Huddersfield’s Ashton Golding reflects on the ‘hard working’ mentality that has led to his team’s back to back wins and says they are preparing for a stern test against Castleford Tigers on Friday.

Huddersfield’s Ashton Golding reflects on the ‘hard working’ mentality that has led to his team’s back to back wins and says they are preparing for a stern test against Castleford Tigers on Friday.

“It’s going to be a great game, their crowd is right next to the pitch and it’s an audible mumble, but it’s a low, mellow tone, and the changing rooms are small, but it works in our favour. It’ll be a good game, it’ll be an enjoyable game and I’m looking forward to it.”

Westerman, who was part of a huge Castleford defensive effort in the win over Catalans by making 59 tackles, is in no doubt that win was a culmination of the work Lee Radford’s team did over the international break following the 20-14 win away to Super League other French team, Toulouse Olympique.

“It was a massive result,” Westerman said. “There are no words to explain a drop goal in the 88th minute to win it. “I’d rather win it before that, especially playing in the middle for 80 minutes because it’s a tough gig, but I think we built on the win against Toulouse.

“That was a really tough game and what we spoke about, turning up for each other and the effort areas, I think we’ve done. We’re kind of building that; it’s something Radders has brought in to try to build our game on and keep working on.

Highlights of the Betfred Super League match between Castleford Tigers and Catalans Dragons.

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Highlights of the Betfred Super League match between Castleford Tigers and Catalans Dragons.

Highlights of the Betfred Super League match between Castleford Tigers and Catalans Dragons.

“We’ve dropped off a few times, which we know we’re good enough, but these last few weeks have been really good for us and to get the win, keep moving up that table and trying to get as far into that play-off spot as we can is good for us.”

Castleford have Niall Evalds available again for the visit of Huddersfield following a spell out injured, while Jason Qareqare comes into contention as well. The Giants, meanwhile, could hand recent signing Toby King his debut.

Whoever lines up for the Betfred Challenge Cup runners-up though, Westerman knows Castleford will need to produce a similar home performance to the one against the Dragons if they are to take a step closer to securing a place in the play-offs.

“You can’t drop off, can you?” Westerman said. “In Super League now, there are no easy games and Huddersfield are playing really well.

Highlights of the Betfred Super League match which saw Huddersfield Giants defeat Hull Kingston Rovers.

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Highlights of the Betfred Super League match which saw Huddersfield Giants defeat Hull Kingston Rovers.

Highlights of the Betfred Super League match which saw Huddersfield Giants defeat Hull Kingston Rovers.

“We’ve definitely got to be on the same performance as Catalans if not better. We’ve got our own fans behind us, who have been outstanding this year.

“And, for Huddersfield, when you’ve got 7,000 Cas fans behind you, it’s always tough for them.”

Named squads

Castleford Tigers: Niall Evalds, Derrell Olpherts, Jake Mamo, Bureta Faraimo, Jake Trueman, Danny Richardson, Paul McShane, George Lawler, Kenny Edwards, Adam Milner, Joe Westerman, Nathan Massey, George Griffin, Mahe Fonua, Daniel Smith, Greg Eden, Cheyse Blair, Suaia Matagi, Brad Martin, Jason Qareqare, Alex Mellor.

Huddersfield Giants: Will Pryce, Jermaine McGillvary, Ashton Golding, Tui Lolohea, Danny Levi, Michael Lawrence, Josh Jones, Chris McQueen, Luke Yates, Matty English, Joe Greenwood, Owen Trout, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Oliver Wilson, Leroy Cudjoe, Louis Senior, Olly Russell, Innes Senior, Nathan Mason, Sam Hewitt, Toby King.

Watch Castleford and Huddersfield get Round 17 of the Betfred Super League season under way on Friday evening, live on Sky Sports Arena from 7.30pm.


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