Daryl Powell has revealed that he always thought Rangi Chase would one day return to Castleford Tigers.
Powell was head coach at the Tigers when Chase left for Salford in 2013 and would have liked to have kept the player voted Man of Steel for his performances for Cas in 2011, but knew he had an unsettled player on his hands.
However, he also believed that Castleford and Chase were made for each other and possibly the then England half-back was making a mistake in wanting to leave.
Powell said: “It’s funny because he gave me his shirt when he played his last game against Wakefield and I thought that would be a decent memento. But then I thought he might actually be back here, though.
“I did actually think there would be a time when he would be back here.
“I’ve heard him say he doesn’t regret leaving and he wouldn’t have known what it was like to come back to a joint like this if he hadn’t left, but I said at the time ‘are you sure?’ and he said ‘yes I’m sure’ – but I wasn’t.
“The way it turned out you wouldn’t have wanted it to turn out that way for a person, but I always believed that this was the right place for him.
“Like he says, sometimes you’ve got to go away to figure that out.
“Certain people need a certain type of club and I think that him and Castleford are perfect for each other.”
Powell explained how the re-signing of Chase came about: “Before we played Wigan he sent me a text wishing me all the best for the Challenge Cup and on the way back we had a little bit of an exchange of text and it sorted of grew from there. It’s happened pretty quickly really.
“I think he just mentioned that he was getting itchy feet and I said well, just looking at our situation and if we had potential to make it happen I couldn’t see any reason why not if he was in a good place.
“I had a decent chat with him and spoke to the senior players to make sure it fits.
“I know Rangi’s a good kid. I know there’s a lot of people at different times in his career who have misunderstood him, but for me I’ve worked closely with him, I know what he’s like, know what he can bring and I think the added maturity he’s got now will really help.
“We’ll see where it goes for this season and moving forward, but it’s an interesting story.
“He certainly could write some special memories here over the next few years.”
Powell believes the Cas fans will get behind Chase when he returns to the team and he will be able to win over any doubters.
He said: “There were a few people who were disappointed when he left and the manner of it all, and it being Salford. But that soon gets put behind you when you start running round a rugby league field and start showing ability and put some miles on the clock in terms of your effort and desire for the team and the club.
“There’ll be a few people he’ll need to turn round, but I think the vast majority will really welcome him back with open arms.”
Chase has had his problems, but Powell is confident he can help him get back to his best form.
He added: “I’ve worked with him before so I know him, he knows the club and I think he’s got a belief in the club itself and the fans and what it delivers as a place, as a town as a club.
“He looks pretty good mentally to me. There’s a time factor within that to how he feels over time, but he looks great to me.
“I think maturity does a lot for you and if he has really matured over the last few years and has the knowledge that the grass is not always greener he’s seen that there’s certain places that fit you. That’s exactly what he’s got here.
“I’m pretty convinced that he will be a success story again.”