Castleford Tigers squad for 2018 taking shape

Jamie Ellis, back at Castleford.
Jamie Ellis, back at Castleford.

Following the completion of two signings at the back end of last week Castleford Tigers’ squad for 2018 is beginning to take shape.

Half-back Jamie Ellis and prop forward Mitch Clark became the third and fourth signings to be revealed by the Tigers, following earlier captures of back rower Joe Wardle and winger Garry Lo.

As it stands now all positions appear to be covered, although there still appears room for at least one more signing with senior players Andy Lynch, Larne Patrick, Joel Monaghan, Kevin Larroyer and Tom Holmes and youngsters Daniel Igbinedion, Conor Fitzsimmons and Luke Million having left the club.

The likelihood of a long ban for full-back Zak Hardaker also leaves head coach Daryl Powell with a big decision to make in who to replace him, but with the signing of Ellis from Huddersfield he has given himself the option of switching Ben Roberts to number one as he now has experienced half-back cover.

Ellis rejoined the club on a three-year deal, keeping him at Cas until the end of the 2020 season.

The 28-year-old previously played for the Tigers between 2012 and 2014 and head coach Daryl Powell revealed that he had not wanted him to leave.

He said: “I’m delighted to add Jamie Ellis to our squad for next season.

“He left the club a few years ago and I wanted to retain him then. His game has matured significantly since his last time at Castleford and I am confident he will be outstanding for us alongside Luke Gale and give us a great combination at half- back.

“He has many attributes to his game, his passing ability and running games alongside a very long kicking ability will add to our armoury for 2018.”

Ellis was on loan at Hull KR last season, helping them back into Super League. In his previous spell with Cas he played in the 2014 Challenge Cup final and is looking forward to more success with the club.

He said: “Since I’ve been away from Castleford I’ve become a bit of a fan and I’ve really enjoyed watching all of the success that has come to the club.

“I can’t wait to get started and be a part of that.

“My agent called me while I was on holiday and told me that Castleford were interested and as soon as he said that I wanted to sign the contract to come back here.”

Ellis will be joined at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle next season by his Hull KR team-mate from 2017, Mitch Clark, after his long talked about deal to join Cas was also confirmed.

The Pontefract-born prop forward put pen to paper on a two-year deal and is eager to show what he can deliver.

He said: “I can’t wait to rip into pre-season.

“I was born in Pontefract and to get to play for this club and to play for Daryl Powell is such a massive opportunity for me. I just can’t wait to get started!”

Clark rose through the ranks at NRL side Penrith Panthers, playing a key part in their under 20s Holden Cup Grand Final victory in 2013.

In 2015, the now 24-year-old played for Doncaster and earned a move to Bradford Bulls where he played over 20 games for the club in 2016. A move to Hull KR saw him improve further in 2017 and he has long been on the radar of Tigers boss Powell, who said: “Mitch Clark is a player I have known for a long time having discussed his future with him three years ago.

“I’m delighted he has signed for Castleford at this time as I believe he has a big future with us. He is an all action front rower who has great leg speed when carrying the ball and real intent when he is defending. I welcome Mitch to the club and look forward to working with him.”