Castleford Tigers v Wakefield Trinity - Local lad Derrell Olpherts relishing derby clash against boyhood team
FOR someone who has never played in a Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity derby match winger Derrell Olpherts is all too familiar with the fixture.
Growing up in Wakefield, Olpherts used to jump over the wall at Belle Vue to watch Trinity and was there in 2006 when Wakefield knocked Castleford out of Super League.
Having arrived at the Tigers from Salford Red Devils following the conclusion of the 2019 season, Olpherts is relishing the opportunity to feature in tomorrow night’s contest.
“I used to go (watch Trinity) as a kid. If I wasn’t getting any tickets, I would be jumping over the wall,” he said.
“I have watched a lot of the derbies.
“I was there when Wakefield knocked Castleford out of Super League. I have been to a lot of the big games and I want part of them myself.”
Olpherts has enjoyed a decent start to his time at Wheldon Road, scoring two tries in his first three appearances, including a length-of-the-field effort in last weekend’s defeat to Catalans Dragons.
The 28-year-old took an unconventional route to the top flight. He played for Dewsbury Rams in 2012 before joining amateur side Shaw Cross Sharks, helping them move up the National Conference divisions.
He was signed by Hemel Stags in 2015 before spending two seasons at Newcastle Thunder in 2016 and 2017 before being signed by Salford.
“Cas have been doing well for a number of years now and I wanted to be involved in a really good club and really good set-up,” said Olpherts.
“And I have loved every bit of it.
“My personal target was to just get a starting spot. This is my third season in full-time, there are people here who have been playing full-time since they were 16 years old.
“My target was just to get a starting spot and maintain it as long as possible.”
Olpherts scored nine tries in 23 appearances for the Red Devils last season, helping them reach the Grand Final at Old Trafford.
The winger was left out of the squad for that fixture but firmly believes he can get to the showpiece fixture with Castleford.
He added: “I played quite a lot of games and got quite a lot of experience that year. It was class but unfortunately I didn’t get picked for the final but hopefully I’ll get there with Cas this year.
“The chances are really high. We have set really high targets and we have got really high standards in training.
“We want to do good things this year.
“With the squad we have got, there is really good depth. And a lot of our players are coming back fit and I think we are going to do good things this year.”
Olpherts feels that Wakefield will have a “buzz” heading into tomorrow night’s fixture after beating Warrington Wolves at Belle Vue last weekend.
Castleford’s perfect start to the season was ended by Catalans Dragons, as they went behind early on and were unable to claw back the deficit.
He said: “I think with them beating Warrington they are going to have a nice little buzz about them.
“I don’t think anyone had them down to beat Warrington at all. It is a good win for them but we are just thinking about ourselves and what we are going to do to beat them this week.”