Castleford Tigers new boy Jacob Hookem eager to progress after move from Hull

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New Castleford Tigers signing Jacob Hookem is confident he can develop his skills at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle after joining from Hull on a one-year deal, with the club holding an option for 2024.

The exciting 20-year-old half-back came through the youth ranks at boyhood club Hull FC, before going on to make his senior debut against Catalans Dragons during the 2021 Super League season.

Hookem made a further four appearances for the Black and Whites during 2022 and also gained valuable experience in the Championship this year with loan stints at both Bradford Bulls and Whitehaven.

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He said: “I’m really happy to be here. The opportunity came up and I’m excited to be able to progress at Castleford.

Castleford Tigers new signing from Hull Jacob Hookem.Castleford Tigers new signing from Hull Jacob Hookem.
Castleford Tigers new signing from Hull Jacob Hookem.

“I was able to get a few Super League games under my belt last year at Hull so my aim is to keep progressing and kick on to become a regular at the top level.

“First of all, I want to have a good pre-season and impress Radders and the coaches and hopefully I can push on and get some first team games.

"I’ll aim to hit the ground running during the pre-season games if I get the opportunity and I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Cas fans.”Hookem linked up with the Tigers from day one of pre-season, joining a number of promising youngsters in the Cas camp with Academy stars Aaron Willis, Hugo Nikhata, and George Hill as well as winger Elliot Wallis who has stepped up from the reserves squad this year.

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A couple of familiar faces have helped him settle into life at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle already.

“I know Cain Robb from my time at Whitehaven and I know Jason Qareqare from representing on camps together. I’ve spoken to them about coming here and I can’t wait to be mixing in with them too,” explained Jacob.

Along with representing the Tigers on the pitch, Hookem has taken up the opportunity to study alongside his playing career by making the most of the partnership between the Tigers Foundation and University Centre Leeds which offers young aspiring players the opportunity to gain access to a degree level qualification alongside their playing career.

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He added: “I’m studying with University Centre Leeds and the Foundation as well, that side of things and the playing side go hand in hand. I’m currently doing a university sports coaching course.

“It’s really important. Rugby isn’t forever so having a back-up plan and something to fall back on is great. Having the chance to do it at Castleford to potentially be a professional rugby player but also get my degree is beneficial.”

Tigers head coach Lee Radford is well aware of the talents the 20-year-old possesses after seeing him play in the youth ranks at Hull and reckons having experienced halves in Gareth Widdop and Jacob Miller around him will only help his progression.

“He’s a young half, that I’m pleased to get over the line,” he said.

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"With Danny’s injury last year and Callum not being available for us last year, Jacob will be quite high up in the pecking order. Hopefully, he can come to the club and develop working alongside the likes of Jacob Miller and Gareth Widdop. There are some senior blokes that can help him develop.”