Joe Arundel facing 'big challenge' after swapping Castleford for Hull FC
NEW recruit Joe Arundel admits he faces the biggest test of his career after swapping the safe confines of Castleford for the challenges that lie at Hull FC.
The 21-year-old says he has arrived at a club where the competition for places will provide the type of test he needs to elevate his game to the next level.
A first-choice centre at the Tigers, Arundel is battling for a place in the starting side for Hull's opening Super League game at champions Leeds Rhinos.
England international Kirk Yeaman is already an established figure in his preferred left centre role, and with Ben Crooks having impressed in the second half of last season, Arundel accepts his place is far from certain.
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"I was a first-choice centre at Castleford and I had nobody really pushing me, but that's not the case anymore here, and that's why I signed," he told the Mail.
"I'm chasing Kirk Yeaman, Ben Crooks is chasing me, but really none of us are guaranteed a spot. Peter Gentle told us all that if we train well and play well then we'll earn our stripes, no matter what anyone has done in the past.
"That's exciting and there's a real challenge for those starting spots. I know Ben Crooks is ready to play Super League, he showed that last year, so there's a challenge there, but it would also be good to form a long-term partnership with him in the future too."
Crooks has the advantage of being the first to impress Gentle out on the training field, with Arundel and Yeaman limited still by what they can do following shoulder and foot injuries respectively.
Yeaman is close to a full return, but for now Arundel's rehabilitation goes on as he continues to edge closer to full fitness.
After an agonising eight months on the sidelines, the ex-Castleford man admits he was initially nervous on his arrival at Hull.
"I was nervous about my shoulder because I've had such a hard time with it. I didn't think it was going to get right again," he said.
"But the work I've done recently and the progress I've made has given me a lot of confidence again and now I'm finally starting to look forward to playing again.
"The facilities here and the staff are brilliant and they've really looked after me and got me right.
"I'm just looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, building up my shoulder and getting the strength back in it.
"I've had to modify my training because I can't do everything I did before because of the surgery, but it's getting stronger and in the next couple of weeks I'm hoping to be doing some contact training."
Damaging his shoulder in round two of last season against Bradford, Arundel initially played on for Castleford before a specialist told him surgery was necessary.
"I knew it wasn't quite right but I carried on playing for a few games," he said.
"I had the operation, then three weeks into my rehab a scan revealed another issue and I had to wait for further surgery. I've been out since March so I'm really ready to go."