Castleford Tigers have confirmed the signing of Lewis Bienek from Hull FC ahead of the 2021 season.
The Ireland international has joined the Fords on an initial one-year deal but with an option to extend until 2022.
Bienek has top-flight experience that belies his young age after being pressed into action for the Black and Whites aged just 20 years old in 2018 after joining from London Broncos.
During his time with Hull FC, he also gained valuable playing time out on loan at Batley Bulldogs and had made a strong start to this year with Leigh Centurions prior to the cancellation of the Championship season.
Bienek said: “I’m buzzing, when I spoke to Daryl and got the deal over the line I was really excited, I just want to get going. Obviously, it’s been a tough year for everyone and we’re getting out of the back end of that and getting stuck into the pre-season, I’m really looking forward to it.
“Daryl is one of the main reasons I wanted to sign with Cas, he’s a great coach and he gets a lot out of players that are coming through that are younger, so it will be great to learn a lot from him and there are more experienced players there, too.
“I think Cas give people a go and are not afraid to let people get stuck in and show what they can do. The World Cup is coming up so I want to put my best foot forward to get into the Ireland squad again and show what we can do there again. There’s a lot to look forward to and a lot of challenges to really get stuck into.”
Head Coach Daryl Powell added: “We tried to sign Lewis before he went to Hull. He’s come out of London, he has loads of energy and enthusiasm and he’s a big kid with great leg speed, he’s pretty rapid.
“Lewis is a great prospect and I’m looking forward to getting him in and seeing what he can do. I think everybody will be excited to see him, you look at some of the things he has done earlier on his career, he has some development to do, but he has got a lot of potential.
“Front row is an important position and I think Lewis will really add to us. We’ve got a few young forwards now, obviously Matt Cook and Junior Moors are leaving us, but we’ve got Tyla and Jacques who have done pretty well, as well as Lewis Peachey and Brad Martin who played towards the back end.”