Castleford Tigers strengthen squad with signing of Jordan Johnstone from Widnes

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Castleford Tigers have moved to give themselves cover for injured hooker Paul McShane after signing Jordan Johnstone from Widnes Vikings on a season-long loan.

Johnstone will be at Castleford until the end of the 2023 campaign and is looking to make the most of his Super League opportunity.

The hooker has previous experience at this level, however, with Widnes and most recently Hull FC in the competition.

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He began his career at hometown club Whitehaven before making the step up to the top tier in his first spell at Widnes back in 2016.

Jordan Johnstone in action for Hull FC last year. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comJordan Johnstone in action for Hull FC last year. Picture: Allan McKenzie/
Jordan Johnstone in action for Hull FC last year. Picture: Allan McKenzie/

“I’m really excited to be coming to Cas until the end of the season. These opportunities don’t come around too often to be back playing Super League,” said Johnstone.

“It’s an opportunity that I definitely wanted to take straight away and I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running potentially on Friday night.

“I’ve been back in the Championship this year with Widnes, which hasn’t been too straightforward as the results have been up and down, but it’s been good to be playing week in, week out.

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“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Super League and showing the Cas fans what I am about.”

Johnstone joins the Tigers with almost 80 Super League appearances under his belt and has worked with current Cas head coach Andy Last before, having been part of the Hull squad that reached the play-offs in 2020.

“Lasty is great and is probably the main reason why I am coming over,” he explained.

"That first season at Hull FC when he took over as interim coach, he probably got the best out of me and started me.

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“He put a lot of trust in me so we have got a great working relationship so hopefully I can come to Cas and deliver the goods for him and for the team.”

The 26-year-old has been on the opposition side at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle so knows all about the atmosphere awaiting him in matches at the ground.

He added: “It sounds like a cliché but whenever anyone asks where I like playing, I always say The Jungle.

"Everything is on top of you so it’s going to be nice to get down there and be on the home team and have the Cas fans on my side rather than against you.

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"It’s a small compact ground so I’m really looking forward to getting out there in front of them.

“I’ll start training and see how it goes and I’ll be available for Friday night hopefully. I’ll be looking to hit the ground running and get a big win over Leigh. We’ll have to be at our best and I am really looking forward to the prospect of playing Friday night.”

Tigers head coach Last is pleased to have Johnstone on board.

He said: “We’ve been looking in the market for a nine and Jordan is someone who I have worked with before in 2020 at Hull FC. He’s played a lot of Super League games, so he is someone who knows what it’s all about.

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“He’s an honest, hardworking lad who comes with a lot of energy to every session and game he is involved in. It will help complement Cain Robb and do the tough stuff at the start of games and you can then bring on Cain’s dynamism.

"We are conscious of not blocking Cain’s pathway, but getting someone to compliment what he brings to the team and Jordan fits perfectly.”