Castleford Tigers confirm Crooks departure

Ben Crooks (right) in action for Leigh against Castleford Tigers.
Ben Crooks (right) in action for Leigh against Castleford Tigers.

Castleford Tigers have confirmed that Ben Crooks’ loan deal at Leigh Centurions has now been made permanent for a five figure sum.

Crooks has signed a two-year deal with the Centurions until the end of November 2019.

Crooks joined hometown club Castleford on a three-year deal in 2016, but spent the entire 2017 season on loan with the Centurions, who lost their Super League status in the Million Pound game on Saturday.

Crooks, 24, scored six tries in 23 games for the Centurions in 2017. He made his Centurions debut against Castleford in the opening game of the season.

Tigers head coach Daryl Powell said: “Ben has spent the entire 2017 season with Leigh Centurions and has been one of their outstanding players across the whole season.

“We are well covered in the centre and outside backs and we believe that it is in the best interest of both Ben and ourselves that he should stay with Leigh for the coming season.

“I would like to thank Ben for all his hard work whilst he was at the Tigers and I wish him all the best for the future.”

Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont said: “Ben is a great bloke to have around your club and has really bought into the place. He has been a solid performer for us all year and will only get better as time goes on.

“His commitment to return from injury early to take part in the last few games speaks volumes for him.

“The fact he was prepared to commit to the club in either competition is another clear demonstration that the club is driving forward and our relegation is a minor setback. It has been a real pleasure having Ben at the club and I look forward to seeing him back in a Leigh shirt next year.”

Crooks said: “While clouded by defeat in the Million Pound Game, I have thoroughly enjoyed the on and off field experience here at the Centurions.

“The longer term ambitions of the club, under owner Derek Beaumont, are clearly stated and evident in current team recruitment for an immediate return to Super League.”

Ben made his Super League debut for Hull FC in 2012 after graduating through their academy ranks and in the following season was chosen for the Dream Team after scoring 20 tries in 22 games and forming a prolific centre-wing partnership with Tom Lineham.

The son of former Hull FC, Leeds and Castleford international forward Lee Crooks and nephew of former Castleford international forward Steve ‘Knocker’ Norton, Ben signed for Parramatta Eels in September 2014 before returning to England to join Castleford.

He scored six tries in 28 games for the Tigers in 2016 as they finished fifth in Super League in 2016.

Including a dual registration spell at Doncaster Ben has scored 48 tries and kicked 31 goals in 105 senior games.