Castleford Tigers’ Jake Mamo enjoying being centre of attention

Former Warrington winger Jake Mamo relishing his chance to play centre at Castleford. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comFormer Warrington winger Jake Mamo relishing his chance to play centre at Castleford. Picture: Allan McKenzie/
Former Warrington winger Jake Mamo relishing his chance to play centre at Castleford. Picture: Allan McKenzie/
WITH his effervescent personality and boundless energy, Jake Mamo was always going to fit in at Castleford Tigers, or any other Super League club, for that matter.

However, the Australian centre admits it took a couple of years at Huddersfield Giants to realise he was not cut out to be a full-back – the position he originally arrived in the UK as in 2017.

Mamo is ready to start the new Betfred Super League season with Castleford against Salford Red Devils next Friday after joining on a three-year deal from Warrington Wolves.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Only Salford’s Ken Sio scored more than his 16 tries in Super League last term when the ex-Newcastle Knights player finally nailed down a centre spot, chiefly following Kangaroos superstar Greg Inglis’s second retirement.

Castleford Tigers coach Lee Radford. Picture: Jonathan GawthorpeCastleford Tigers coach Lee Radford. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Castleford Tigers coach Lee Radford. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

In 2019, when Mamo first joined Wolves from Huddersfield, he played wing, full-back and off the bench but only one of his 23 appearances came at centre.

He made just a dozen appearances in total the following year but 2021 was when he finally got his shot at a position he now knows is his best.

Mamo dazzled at times at full-back with Huddersfield but he recalled to The Yorkshire Post: “It’s quite a difficult position.

“You have got to be fast, fit and have skill.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I’m probably not that skilful. I can be skilful at times but probably not under pressure.

“And there is too much pressure at full-back.

“I played centre when I was younger and then I started playing full-back when I was at Newcastle.

“My coach put me there and I thought I could probably earn a bit more money playing that position!

“So I came here at 22 and still wanted to try to play full-back –but probably spent two years at Huddersfield realising I wasn’t one!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Centre is a lot more simple. You have to make your tackles and, if you get the ball in space, you have got to beat one person in front of you.

“You have to make too many decisions at full-back.

“I went to Warrington, wanted to play centre but there were some other people there.

“I finally got a chance through some injuries last year and it went well.

“I was always confident that centre was my best position but there was always someone better than me on paper and therefore they got picked.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Fortunately, now I’ve got a chance. Hopefully people will take me seriously now as a centre and keep me there.”

That said, Mamo accepts he is not guaranteed a spot at Wheldon Road where incoming coach Lee Radford has also recruited his former Hull FC centre Mahe Fonua.

Jordan Turner – who played as a makeshift winger with such aplomb last term – is also looking to make a spot his own.

Legendary club captain Michael Shenton has retired and Pete Mata’utia went the other way to Warrington, so two places are up for grabs. The ebullient Mamo, whose often zany interviews have won him an army of fans, said: “Radders has got too many options hasn’t he…!?

“He’s got 25 guys who should be playing every week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“There will be pressure on whoever is picked for the first round especially in the outside backs.

“There’s probably two people who can play in each position so whether I start there, there’s going to be pressure to play well as you will be moved on pretty quickly as there’s guys who have played very well and consistently over the last five years means will be a lot of competition.

“It’s a good thing that probably a lot of other clubs might not have. I think that’s half the battle in doing something with a Super League season.

“We don’t really know what our team is going to be. Rads has got some decisions to make over the next couple of weeks. But it will be interesting and very exciting, especially playing here for the first week.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The last time Mamo played at Wheldon Road was in the last regular round of last season when he scored twice as Warrington won 40-24, ending Castleford’s hopes of making the play-offs and Daryl Powell’s reign in charge.

“I always loved playing here,” he said.

“It will be a different prospect with the supporters on my side now.

“In that last round when I scored a couple of tries, there were some Cas fans in the crowd, some kids, who didn’t know whether to high five me or boo me!

“It’ll be nice to be here next Friday.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.