Returning Castleford Tigers player Greg Eden reckons he is coming back to a much better club than the one he left as a youngster in 2011.
Eden, who can play as a full-back, winger or stand-off, is back at his hometown club on a two-year deal after a spell cutting it with the big boys in Australia’s NRL and is enjoying getting stuck into pre-season on familiar turf.
He said: “I supported Cas when I was growing up and I played for them before so coming back was a no-brainer.
“It is a lot different from the first time I was down here. There’s quite a few improvements with facilities and stuff.
“The club overall is run a lot better, from what I have noticed.
“A few of the lads are still here, they are a good set of lads and I’ve settled in quite easily.
“Coming back to the UK was a massive decision for me to make. But there’s no better team for me to return home to than Castleford, my hometown club. I’m really looking forward to the new challenge ahead.”
Eden believes he has joined a club ready to challenge for honours.
“They’ve finished fourth, fifth and fifth for the last three years so that step up is definitely the next achievement.
“Normally the top four are the same, but with Cas creeping up and asking questions and Catalans as well – and Hull having a good year last year – it looks a lot stronger overall.”
Eden knows he faces an immediate challenge to establish himself in the Castleford team, particularly at full-back following the signing of also of former Man of Steel Zak Hardaker and there has been no indication yet of who will emerge as the number one ‘number one’.
But the 26-year-old feels that competition for places is important at any club and he is up for the fight to impress in pre-season to gain a starting place in the opening Betfred Super League game against Leigh Centurions next February.
He added: “Daryl is obviously looking to build a strong squad.
“With Ben Roberts as well, there’s three of us who could play full-back.
“There’s going to be some good competition and it shows how good a squad we’ve got.
“We can all play other positions as well so we will have to see what Daryl thinks when we come to the season.
“We can all learn off each other. We can work on our weaknesses and help each other out, which can’t be bad.”
Eden came through the junior ranks at Castleford to make his Super League debut for the club in 2011.
He moved to Huddersfield Giants, but after a successful season in which he scored 13 tries in 27 matches and was tipped for international honours he left for Hull KR, spending two years with them and scoring 24 tries in 39 games.
Eden was then snapped up by Australian giants Brisbane Broncos in 2014. Although spending the 2015 season in the Broncos’ feeder team, Wynuum Manly, he was part of their team that came to England in February to play in the World Club Series against Wigan Warriors, scoring a spectacular try in his side’s 42-12 victory. He had interest from clubs to stay in Australia, but the offer to come home has proved a strong draw.