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23rd May 2019, 12:00 | Castleford

Watts hopes to boost GB chances with Magic display

Watts hopes to boost GB chances with Magic display

Castleford Tigers' in-form prop Liam Watts is hoping to boost his chances of a Great Britain call in the climax to the 13th Dacia Magic Weekend.

The uncapped 28-year-old is in the form of his life and, after being named earlier in the year in national coach Wayne Bennett's 30-man elite performance squad, has his eyes set on the end-of-season tour to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Bennett has a wealth of front row riches to choose from, with 2017 World Cup star Alex Walmsley fancied to join his St Helens team-mate Luke Thompson on the trip down under after missing the 2018 internationals with a neck injury, and that adds an extra dimension to Sunday's clash between Saints and Castleford which brings down the curtain on the Anfield Magic.

"I'm coming up against some good players week in, week out, and trying to play better than them to give myself every chance, to get my face in that picture," Watts said.

"Tommo is still injured but there's big Al so it's a game I'm going to have to put a good showing in.

"I didn't play well against these at home so I'll be looking forward to having a big game."

Watts has been knocking on the international door for almost a decade - he made the train-on squad for the 2010 Four Nations and played for England Knights in 2011- but it took a move to his home-town club to give him the opportunity to make the big breakthrough.

The former Hull FC and Hull KR forward made the move to the Tigers 14 months ago and, after an encouraging start in 2018, has really kicked on this year.

He is an ever-present for his club and currently lies fifth in the Steve Prescott Man of Steel voting after 15 rounds.

"Coming in during the last season, it was vital I got a good pre-season in and get to bond with the lads," Watts said.

"I try not to miss any sessions and try to keep myself as fit and as strong as possible.

"I've been playing long minutes and I've played every game so far so I'll keep plodding on.

"We've had a few injuries but, as we get players back, I think my minutes will start to come down a little bit.

"Hopefully I'll  not burn myself out and I can try to get on that tour with Great Britain."

St Helens are currently six points clear at the top, having lost just once so far this season, while Castleford are in the chasing pack in the hunt for a top-five finish and are coming off the back of a resounding win at Leeds Rhinos.

"It's going to be a tough game," Watts said. "St Helens are in some good form at the minute.

"I know they only just pipped Salford last weekend but Salford are a good team as well.

"I'm sure, if we get our stuff right, we'll give them a good game."