JOE Arundel spent his birthday weekend at Wembley cheering on Castleford in the Challenge Cup final – now he is plotting their downfall.
The loan star, whose rich run of form saw him score two tries against parent club Hull FC in the Bulls’ last outing, lives just minutes away from Wheldon Road.
He progressed through the ranks at his hometown team but is now seeking to help Bradford to a fourth straight Super League victory on Sunday.
The 23-year-old centre said: “It was my birthday last weekend so I went down to Wembley with all my family for the Challenge Cup final.
“The town was absolutely buzzing in the build-up to Wembley and everyone is very passionate about Cas Tigers – it’s like a religion and you can’t escape it.
“Growing up there, playing for Cas was something I always wanted to do and is one of the greatest achievements in my career so far.
“There are loads of lads playing throughout Super League who made their name at Cas – it’s definitely a hotbed of rugby league and I reckon it always will be.
“I coach the Under-14s side at Castleford Panthers, the local amateur team, and the amount of kids coming through is incredible.”
Yet Arundel will put all emotion to one side on Sunday when Jimmy Lowes’ side bid to extend their winning streak.
The match has taken on added importance for Daryl Powell’s men as they seek to secure a top-four finish and keep their Grand Final hopes alive.
Arundel added: “I’ve played against Cas three times for Hull, winning twice and losing once, and it has been a bit weird.
“It’ll be an interesting game because Cas played in a very intense final last week and will have the emotion of losing it.
“We had that at Hull last year, losing in the Challenge Cup final to Wigan, and it’s hard.
“At Bradford now, we are in a good run of form and are hoping to win our last three games. That’s our target.”
Arundel seems certain to keep his spot after his outstanding display in the 34-28 win against the Black and Whites a fortnight ago.
He added: “Cas' pitch is a lot smaller than other grounds and the crowd are always right behind them.
“If Jimmy gives me the nod, it’ll be good to go back to Cas because they’re a great set of fans and it's special for me with it being my hometown club.”