All-time Best Super League XIII: Castleford Tigers

Welcome to the first edition of our new series, where we put together the ultimate Super League era starting 13’s for each club that has seen at least five seasons in the competition.

First up it’s the turn of Castleford, so here’s who we think would make their ultimate Super League XIII…

1. Luke Dorn

The Tigers have seen several quality fullbacks don the Black and Amber but Dorn stands out as the most popular. The Australian-born flyer is one of the best support players Super League has ever seen and earned a reputation as one of the competition’s most reliable no.1s. He only spent four seasons with the club but made a memorable impact, scoring 62 tries in 86 games.

Notable mentions: Zak Hardaker, Ryan McGoldrick, Jason Flowers, Damian Gibson, Darren Rogers

2. Kirk Dixon

The goal-kicking outside back was never one to catch the headlines but could always be counted on to do his job to a good standard. Signed from Hull FC in 2007, Dixon would go on to make 160 appearances during his eight years as a Tiger, scoring 72 tries and 308 goals.

Notable mentions: Gray Viane, Nick Youngquest

3. Michael Eagar

The Australia-born Ireland international spent five seasons in West Yorkshire during the turn of the century, scoring 60 tries in 132 games. The Tigers picked him up in 1999 from Warrington, where he’d gone fairly under the radar, and he became a crucial part of their attack, even being named in the 2000 Super League Dream Team after averaging a try in every other game in his first two seasons. He eventually left the Tigers in 2003, joining Hull FC.

Notable mentions: Deon Bird

4.Michael Shenton

Current Tigers captain Shenton is already a club legend, having spent 15 of his 17 years as a professional with the club. A two-year stint with St Helens in 2011 and 2012 is sandwiched between two extremely successful spells with his hometown club, where he’s scored 150 tries in 310 games. He plays with nothing but passion for the badge and has consistently displayed his talent since debuting in 2004.

Notable mentions: Jake Webster

5. Denny Solomona

Denny Solomona. Credit: Mark Cosgrove/News Images

This is a controversial pick, not least because of the manner in which he left the club, but Solomona was undoubtedly one of the most exciting wingers they’ve seen at The Jungle. His try-scoring record is extraordinary, with 60 touchdowns in 45 games, many of which involved him demonstrating unbelievable athleticism and flexibility to get the ball down in the corner. He didn’t leave on the best terms, claiming he’d retired from rugby league to take up a lucrative rugby union deal with two years still left on his Tigers contract, which resulted in a legal dispute and saw Castleford paid £200,000 by Sale Sharks in compensation.

Notable mentions: Justin Carney, Greg Eden, Richard Owen

6. Danny Orr

Orr was renowned as one of Super League’s biggest little men, gaining a reputation similar to the likes of Rob Burrow and Luke Robinson for mixing it with those much bigger than him. He was a talented halfback, possessing excellent handling and kicking attributes, and made 216 Super League and Challenge Cup appearances for the Tigers, scoring 81 tries and kicking 308 goals in two spells at the club. He was also named at stand-off in the 2002 Dream Team.

Notable mentions: Rangi Chase, Frano Botica

7. Luke Gale

After establishing himself as a competent Super League scrum-half at Harlequins and Bradford, it was a five-year spell with Castleford where Gale really started to turn heads. He won the Man of Steel award in 2017 and led the club to the League Leaders Shield and Super League Grand Final in the same year, dictating their attack with his passing and kicking game. He made 104 appearances in total, scoring 33 tries and 415 goals.

Luke Gale. Credit: Craig Milner/News Images

Notable mentions: Brad Davis

8. Dean Sampson

Sampson beats several top front rowers to this spot but, as one of the stars of the early Super League era, deserves his place. He made 130 appearances for the Tigers from 1996 and quickly built a reputation as a stereotypical, no-nonsense prop forward. He was aggressive, intimidating and would be the first to pick battles with whoever decided to cross his path.

Notable mentions: Andy Lynch, Liam Watts

9. Paul McShane

The crafty hooker has a similar story to Gale, having seen his career skyrocket at The Jungle after spells with Leeds and Wakefield. Many Trinity fans were disappointed when he joined the Tigers mid-way through 2015, well aware that they’d lost a player with superb vision, guile and speed from dummy half. He’s since gone on to play 136 times for Castleford, scoring 20 tries.

Notable mentions: Daryl Clark, Ryan Hudson, Wayne Bartrim

10. Craig Huby

Goal-kicking prop Huby is one of Castleford’s unsung heroes, making almost 200 appearances during 11 years at the club. He was the linchpin of the forward pack for several years, forming excellent front row partnerships with the likes of Andy Lynch and Danny Nutley. He finished his career with stints at West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield and Wakefield but will be fondly remembered for his service to the Tigers.

Notable mentions: Grant Millington, Danny Nutley

11. Awen Guttenbeil

Awen Guttenbeil.

The former New Zealand and Tonga international spent just two years in West Yorkshire but was a firm favourite as he helped them regain promotion to Super League for 2008. Then aged 32, Guttenbeil was the kind of experienced head the Tigers needed as they looked to re-cement their place as a Super League side and its fair to say his efforts contributed to the success they’ve since gone on to have.

Notable mentions: Oliver Holmes, Lee Harland

12. Michael Smith

Smith played for five clubs in the UK but had most success while at the Tigers. The Kiwi international made 130 appearances in two separate stints, scoring 34 tries and earning recognition by being named in the 2002 Super League Dream Team.

Notable mentions: Lee Crooks, Mike McMeeken, Dale Fritz

13. Adrian Vowles

Nathan Massey came close to earning this spot but Vowles is arguably the best forward ever to play for the Tigers. An ex-Queensland Origin representative, he joined the Tigers in 1997 and went on play almost 150 games, scoring 33 tries. In 1999 he won the Man of Steel award, becoming the first Tigers player to do so, as well as being named in the Super League Dream Team. He left to sign for Leeds, then latterly Wakefield, in 2002 but returned to The Jungle for a short stint in 2003.

Notable mentions: Nathan Massey

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