In the final part of this series, we are going to pick an all-time combined Super League team from West Yorkshire rivals Castleford and Wakefield.
The XIII we have opted for is as follows…
Full-back: Luke Dorn
A player who typifies Castleford’s rags to riches story with his two spells at the club. In 2008, Dorn impressively poached 19 tries as the newly-promoted Tigers finished bottom. When he returned to the club in 2014, he was part of Daryl Powell’s revolution and helped them to Wembley. Again, he showed his impressive try-scoring abilities notching 45 in 59 appearances.
Winger: Tom Johnstone
Another outstanding try-scorer, Tom Johnstone has impressed with his ability to cross the white wash in a variety of different ways. Of his 72 tries in 83 appearances, plenty have been show stealers. Just look at Wakefield’s comeback against Hull FC this season where he scored a brace of acrobatic tries very few could replicate.
Centre: Ryan Atkins
Ryan Atkins owes Wakefield a lot. It was at Belle Vue he made his name for the then Wildcats and from there he would go on to a trophy-laden spell at Warrington, before being granted a return to Trinity last season. His size and strength made him a vital attacking weapon in his first spell and ensured they were a mainstay in the play-off picture. Wakefield fans will be hoping for more of the same in his second spell.
Centre: Michael Shenton
A true Castleford legend, Shenton was a sure-fire pick in this side. His leadership continues to be vital to the high-flying Tigers as they challenge the top clubs in Super League. One of the finest skippers Super League has ever seen, and it was truly fitting that he was the first man to captain the Tigers in both a Grand Final and at Wembley in the modern era. He may be at the end of his career, but Shenton is still a key asset to the Tigers and their success.
Winger: Denny Solomona
60 tries in 44 appearances. That speaks for itself. Very few can claim to have scored 40 tries in a season or to have done it with the style of Solomona. He was near enough unplayable in the 2016 season but few remember that he was just as prolific the season before as he again averaged over a try per game. It’s a shame he left for Rugby Union at the end of 2016 as he could’ve gone on to be one of Super League’s greatest ever try-scorers.
Stand-off: Danny Brough
Having guided Hull FC to the Challenge Cup in 2005 and Castleford back to Super League in 2007, he became a Wakefield hero. His best campaign for Trinity was certainly 2009 when his performances guided them to fifth in the league, their highest ever finish. A year later he masterminded the club’s first Super League home win over Leeds before moving to Huddersfield, where he claimed the 2013 Man of Steel. He would then return to Wakefield in 2019, only for injury to cruelly cut short his 2020 campaign.
Scrum-half: Luke Gale
Gale was arguably the final piece of the jigsaw that cemented the Tigers as a real force in Super League. In his first season it was his irrepressible displays at Headingley that saw Castleford win twice at the home of the treble winners, and he would continue to light up the league with his creativity the following season. But it was 2017 where he would truly come of age as he led Cas to their first League Leaders’ Shield. Gale’s finest hour would come at the end of the season when just days after having his appendix removed, he kicked the penalty and drop goal that guided the Tigers to a first Grand Final.
Prop: David Fifita
A real character and undoubtedly a modern hero to the Trinity faithful, David Fifita has helped revolutionise Wakefield under Chris Chester. His powerful performances have often underpinned a Wakefield side finally looking to compete at the right end of the table. It was in his first two seasons that the club secured consecutive Super 8s finishes and it’s no surprise that they often struggle without Fifita in their team.
Hooker: Paul McShane
When McShane was farmed out to Wakefield, his career was in no-man’s-land as he bounced from one club to the next. However, Daryl Powell saw his potential and brought him to the Jungle and boy has he fulfilled his potential. Powell has moulded him into one of the best hookers in Super League, with his combined running and organisation making him arguably Castleford’s most important player. McShane’s consistency and skill has recently led to an England call-up, and he has every chance of making Shaun Wane’s World Cup squad next year if he maintains his superb form.
Prop: Andy Lynch
With 452 Super League appearances, Andy Lynch is second on the all-time list and a big bulk of those came at Castleford. From 1999-2004 he made his name at the Jungle before earning a big move to Bradford. After a spell at Odsal he became a hero to Hull before returning to the Tigers. In his first season back he helped Cas to a top four finish and a Wembley appearance, and in his final season he played his part in the club’s surge to the top of the table and Old Trafford.
Second-row: Oliver Holmes
Despite being 27, Holmes feels like he’s been around forever and has been one of Castleford’s best performers over the last decade. A seriously underrated second-rower, workaholic and an attacking threat when given space, it’s a mystery as to why he’s not been more prominent on the international scene. Holmes can always be trusted by coach Powell; he was a regular in the dominant 2017 team and is arguably one of the most underrated players in Super League.
Second-row: Danny Kirmond
Another of Super League’s top skippers, Kirmond was a key player in keeping Trinity afloat in some of the club’s most testing times. Another hard-working back-rower who can cause defences problems when given space, ‘Kirmo’ was a standout in the early 2010s and was rated as one of Super League’s best back-rowers for a sustained period. But his true strength is his consistency as he rarely puts in a bad performance and sets the benchmark for his teammates.
Loose-forward: Adrian Vowles
A top, top Super League number 13; Adrian Vowels is one of the few Super League players to feature at State of Origin level. He joined Castleford in 1997 and carried over that experience along with his sheer quality. In 1999, the Queenslander dominated from lock and was named Man of Steel at the end of that season. After 142 appearances for the Tigers, Vowels left the Jungle in 2001 and had a brief stint as player-coach of Wakefield, before he returned to Castleford and eventually retired in 2005.