Following the signing of NRL forward Jesse Sene-Lefao and highly rated youngsters Tuoyo Egodo and Daniel Igbinedion this week, Castleford Tigers’ squad for 2017 is close to being fully formed with 32 first team squad players now signed up for next year.
The Tigers are being strongly linked with former Featherstone Rovers full-back Zak Hardaker, who was given his first chance at the Big Fellas Stadium by Daryl Powell, but they are looking strong on numbers already with all bar five of the 32 contracted players on their books having tasted first team action for the club.
Two of them, however, have been moved out on loan to Batley Bulldogs with young prop Will Maher and young half-back Tom Holmes on season-long deals to play with the Championship side in 2017.
Head coach Powell is delighted to have secured the services of Samoan forward Sene-Lefao, who will be looking to make the same sort of impact as Junior Moors who came through a similar route.
He said: “I watched him play two years ago for Manly and I was really impressed with his skill, energy, enthusiasm and determination as a player.
“This year he was in a great environment at the eventual winners of the NRL, Cronulla Sharks, and I’m sure he’ll bring his great experience as a player to help us as a club achieve our goals.”
New boy Egodo, meanwhile, is looking to follow in the footsteps of other young signings from London in Denny Solomona and Mike McMeeken, who have done well at Cas.
Head coach Daryl Powell said: “Tuoyo has come through the London system and looks a really exciting player for the future. He plays the game really physical and I’m really looking forward to see how he develops within our system.
“He is quick and strong with an ability to run straight over the top of people.
“He’s just come out of under 19s Rugby League but he is certainly one to keep an eye on.”
On Igbinedion, he said: “Daniel played at Oxford last year and trained with us for a week during the season. He is exceptionally strong and determined to achieve his potential as a player. I’m keen to see how he develops within our system and I’m looking forward to working with him in his first full pre season as a full-time player.”
For 2017 the Tigers have also already added outside back Greg Eden while Rangi Chase’s move has been made permanent, but they have lost full-back Luke Dorn and forwards Lee Jewitt, Frankie Mariano and Ryan Boyle.
Forward Andre Savelio, who they had on loan from St Helens in 2016, has now joined Warrington Wolves while winger Paddy Flynn finds himself without a club after being released by Widnes.
Currently the following players are all signed up with the years left to run on their contracts in brackets:
Greg Eden (signed up to the end of 2018), Denny Solomona (2018), Michael Shenton (2019), Jake Webster (2017), Ben Crooks (2018), Joel Monaghan (2017), Greg Minikin (2017), Jy Hitchcox (2018), Ash Robson (2017), Tuoyo Egodo (2018), Kieran Gill (2017), Luke Gale (2021), Rangi Chase (2017 with a further one-year option), Ben Roberts (2019), Tom Holmes (2018), Andy Lynch (2017 with a further one-year option), Matt Cook (2018), Grant Millington (2018 with a further one-year option), Gadwin Springer (2017), Will Maher (2019), Adam Milner (2018), Paul McShane (2017), Junior Moors (2019), Oliver Holmes (2018), Mike McMeeken (2018), Nathan Massey (2019), Larne Patrick (2019), Conor Fitzsimmons (2017), Jacques O’Neill (2017), Brandon Douglas (2018), Daniel Igbinedion (2018), Jesse Sene-Lefao (2018).