For the past few months, former Castleford Tigers star Jacques O’Neill has been one of the most talked about rugby league players in the public eye.
After agreeing to a release from the Tigers earlier in the season in order ‘to pursue other opportunities’, O’Neill wound up on ITV2 show Love Island where he spent eight weeks looking for love.
That love looked as if it had been forthcoming when he coupled up with Welsh beauty Paige Thorne, but O’Neill left the show in order to preserve his mental health wellbeing – a point that was widely praised by people far and wide.
Of course, since then, it hasn’t been known the 23-year-old’s next step with all sorts of speculation swirling about his next move as modelling and PR companies come in thick and fast for the Cumbrian.
However, there have also been calls for O’Neill to return to rugby league and the club that loves him through and through – Castleford.
The West Yorkshire club has been at the heart of 23-year-old’s progress from teenager to adult, with Daryl Powell and now Lee Radford rating O’Neill highly.
Of course, being thrust into the public eye with over 1.4 million Instagram followers is always going to take some beating as a career, but the love for the sport and Castleford in particular is evident – especially from his social media posts since exiting the Love Island villa.
And, as a guest alongside Sky Sports pundit Jenna Brooks, O’Neill was a guest on the touchline as the Leeds Rhinos took on Castleford in a hard-fought game on Saturday afternoon.
When asked if he would return to rugby league in 2023, the cheeky Cumbrian gave a wry smile and said: “2023? We don’t know yet,” O’Neill joked on Sky Sports.
“Maybe we will, maybe not. I can’t say too much on that.”
It remains to be seen which club O’Neill would join, but there are no prizes for guessing that the Tigers would surely be winning the race.