Happy again former Man of Steel Rangi Chase is keen to reward Castleford Tigers fans who have welcomed him back to the club.
Chase has been delighted with the reception he has received from the supporters and wants to play a big part in helping the Tigers to trophy success in 2017.
The 30-year-old disappointed the fans when he left Cas for Salford in 2013. A subsequent move to Leigh last year did not work out and after a spell out of the game he rejoined the Tigers midway through last season, making seven appearances before penning a new deal to stay on for the 2017 Super League season with an option for another year on top.
Chase has worked hard on his fitness in pre-season and is pleased to be back and eager to get going again in front of supporters he rates as the best in Super League.
He told the Express: “I was a bit out of shape, but I’m back into shape now and really looking forward to the season.
“It was awesome coming back last year and playing in front of them fans again.
“They are the best fans in the comp and it was awesome to hear them singing my name again. It sent shivers up my spine and it just shows how much I missed it.
“It will be good for the fans to have something to cheer about by winning a trophy or getting to a final. They deserve it.
“There’s a buzz about the town, there’s a buzz around the club, within us a group, the players and staff. It’s good to be part of it.
“I was pleased with the reception I got when I came back last year because when I left it wasn’t on the best of terms.
“It could have been handled better by myself, but the club was just a lot different.
“I fell out with one or two people last time, but they’re not here any more.
“It made me look like I was the bad guy when I left, but it is unbelievable coming back and I come into training with a smile on my face.
“I obviously played my best rugby at Cas so it’s good to be back and at training I have enjoyed every single day, even the cold weather. I just want to get back to my best and I’m quite confident I can do it.”
Chase reckons that the Castleford club is much better all-round than when he was last in West Yorkshire.
He said: “It’s changed a lot for the better since I was last year – the culture, the way it’s run, the environment. The standards we have and set for each other are high, the skill levels have improved, everything really.
“It shows how much has changed that we are going to Lanzarote for a warm weather camp. We never went on anything like this when I was here before. There was one Army camp when I first came in that was the hardest training ever.
“This is a bit different and I’m looking forward to getting myself some sun while we get some quality training in.
“It’s credit to Steve Gill, all the board and Powelly how much better it is at the club now. It is run professionally and the culture of the boys and the standards we set for ourselves at training is unbelievable.
“It’s a lot better team now. Before I had to create a lot and there was always a lot of pressure on me, but it’s not like that now We’ve got a lot of quality players across the board now and it makes my job easier.”
Cas open their Super League campaign against Leigh and Chase is excited at the prospect of playing in the game against his former club if he wins his selection battle with fellow half-back Ben Roberts.
He added: “I can’t wait to play in the first game and not just because it’s against Leigh, it’s because it’s round one.
“It will be good to be back in Super League and I’m ready to go.
“I don’t know if I will be playing because there’s competition for places now. But I’m enjoying competing for a spot and it’s good for me, like when I was young and first came to Cas.
“I think I can take a bit of pressure off Galey. He never really had a half-back partner last year because Benny (Roberts) was injured and I think we can really strike up a good combination.
“It didn’t work out for me at Leigh last year and it’s not because of Leigh. I was in a bad place and things happen for a reason. I’m here now and I’m loving it.
“My mental state is a lot different, now I am a different person. I just wasn’t enjoying it, but now it is completely different.”