JOE CATOR: RUGBY HAS BEEN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
Joe Cator is one of many rising talents to begin his rugby career with East Hull based club Skirlaugh Bulls. Now enjoying a fine run of form, Cator plies his trade in the Betfred Championship with Leigh Centurions.
Talented forward Cator, 20, who played for Skirlaugh throughout his junior years has gone on to play professionally with Hull Kingston Rovers, Coventry Bears and Newcastle Thunder.
I caught up with Joe to discuss life in rugby, his achievements as his ambitions for the future. Here’s what Joe Cator had to say to GRM SPORT:
You played your entire amateur rugby with Skirlaugh, How would you describe your amateur playing days?
“ I played all my amateur rugby at Skirlaugh Bulls because we were the best in my age category and basically there wasn’t many teams that were close to us.
“We were a tight bunch of lads and I have nothing but fond memories from my time at Skirlaugh. The coaching staff were great; Kirk, Shaun and Andy, they did a lot for my development in my amateur years, and it brought out some confidence in me.
“I have nothing but fond memories at Skirlaugh and my time there spurred me on to scholarship and academy level. The confidence gained from first class coaching delivered by Kirk and Shaun helped me massively.
Hull KR offered you a chance to play at a professional level,as a local lad what did that mean to you?
“ Hull KR offered me a professional deal which meant everything to me because rugby was my life and always will be and there was nothing but rugby that was on my mind.
“At school, I wasn't the best kid as I didn't concentrate on education, instead all I was focused on was playing rugby on a Sunday or playing during the week in a scholarship game for Hull KR!
“Rugby was my main focus, and there was no other thing in my mind that would come close! All I wanted to be was a rugby player and if you had asked me from the age of five or any other age it would always be a rugby player!
When did you make your debut for Hull KR and what made it a special day?
“ It was the 2016 Easter period when we played Wigan Warriors. It was a big day for me to make my debut and something I always wanted to do. I think I was just shy of being 17 years old at the time, so I was really young!
“I wanted to make my debut at 16, but it wasn't to be! However, making my debut in Super League at age 17 is something I am really proud of.
“ When I first got the news about my debut, I think about telling my family, my brothers and also to my father because he was in the team coming through Hull KR himself! My dad managed one first team game and how much it meant to him and how much he would be proud of me!
2018 was a season of travel for you playing for Coventry Bears and Newcastle Thunder, how did these moves come about?
“ It was a tough period for me because in my career I found out I was a bit stuck. I do not really look back at 2018 much with many fond memories.
“ I played five games at Hull KR and I thought I’m not getting my fair share of games and a crack at the whip. Following that, I felt like I was in a bit of a hole stuck training after training.
“It was a really hard time for me as it was constantly training and there was no other objective, I basically felt as though I was the tackle bag, and the time came where I had a decision to make as I was not enjoying my rugby. The next step was finding somewhere else where I would be appreciated and having moved onto Leigh now I could not be happier!
Leigh Centurions offered you a chance in 2019 and you have played a few games for them, how have you found it to your development?
“ The move to Leigh was a big move for me and it was tough leaving my family at home. I’ve now settled in really well and I my game going from the off.
“ It started off with a Toulouse win at home! The fans we're amazing and I soon realised I was at a family club! Days like that make you realise it does not get much better than that, the full town buzzes off the back of Leigh Centurions performances which creates a buzz amonst the team and makes want to give 110%! I have loved every minute of this season! Roll on the next half of the season.
100%. Moving to Leigh was one of the best decisions in my life.
Finally, what are your long term goals?
“ I do not want to look too far ahead but I suppose that it would be for me to play the highest standard of rugby league that you can get to and I just want to keep on enjoying rugby.
“ I am around the best set of lads this season and I have never felt like a part of a tighter bunch of lads, so for now I am just concentrating on the season and to play well for this year. I’m training hard to get the best out of the team and myself for Leigh which I can only hope will push us on to climb the ladder.