Wakefield Wildcats power prop Justin Poore is set to play in his first Super League derby against Castleford Tigers but the stage will not faze the Australian - far from it.
Poore is eager for his first experience of facing Castleford on Friday night (kick-off 8pm) but has already tasted the atmosphere of a big State of Origin contest when he represented New South Wales in three games in 2009.
The crowd will not be as big at Tigers’ Wish Communications Stadium but Poore knows just how much the clash means to the fans of both clubs.
“The boys have been telling me that this is a must win for us,” he said.
“With it being a local derby it means more but when it comes down to it we’re just trying to take steps every week and we’ve got a good enough side to compete with the best of them so we just need to be switched on and ready to go.”
He continued: “The boys have been filling me in. It’s a pretty intense game.
“I’ve had two weeks off, I didn’t play against St Helens and we missed a game at the weekend so I feel fresh and feel fit, it’s going to be a very physical game so I’m looking forward to it.
“Obviously Wakefield and Castleford are pretty close together and there’s a bit of rivalry there so it should be good.”
The former St George Illawarra star was left frustrated when Wakefield’s game against Super League champions Leeds Rhinos was called off last weekend.
“It was a bit painful,” he said.
“We got ready to play Friday and it gets called off, you train Saturday and get ready to play on Sunday and it gets called off.
“You get in the right state of mind and it gets called off so it’s annoying but what can you do? People keep telling me that England’s not like this usually but I’m beginning to not believe them!”
He continued: “A few of the boys have got a good full week of training in there.
“For me personally I like to keep going but it’s been done now so you’ve just got to get through it.
“I feel fresh and a lot of the boys feel fresh and we’re lucky enough to have Kirmo [Danny Kirmond] back this week. Andy Raleigh is playing so we’ve got a pretty full strength side.”
Instead of a week off Wildcats now have two matches in four days, with the derby duel followed by the visit of Hull FC to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Easter Monday (kick-off 3.30pm).
Poore said: “It’s going to be tough but we’ve been training well and recovery is a big part of it and we’ve just got to get through them.”