Jy Hitchcox was a firm fans’ favourite whilst at Castleford Tigers.
The Australian had moved to the club in 2016 after a short spell at Featherstone Rovers – though it was perhaps never his intention to return to the UK.
“I was back in Australia not planning to return to the UK after my stint with Fev when my agent called and said Cas are interested,” Hitchcox told Serious About Rugby League.
“It was a one-year deal with a two-year option in the club’s favour which they took up after a few months.”
Hitchcox scored 23 tries in 30 appearances for Castleford over a period of three seasons, helping the club to the League Leaders’ Shield in 2017 and playing in the Grand Final that year at Old Trafford.
Those three years were all spent under Daryl Powell, a head coach that has also recently moved on to pastures new, but Hitchcox has nothing but praise for his former boss.
“Powelly was great I learnt a lot, he’s a very technical coach.
“He was happy to change things week in week out to get the win, a lot of the time it paid off and we made it difficult for teams to read our week in week out footy which is probably why we were so successful.
Despite his impact at the Jungle, the flying winger does believe that he never got to show his ‘full potential’ at the West Yorkshire club.
“I never have any regrets,” Hitchcox told Serious About Rugby League.
“I just wish I was able to show my full potential.
“I had a few freakish injuries which kept me out for long periods at a time that didn’t allow me to lock in a full season and really play my best footy.”
The flying Aussie winger then joined Halifax and Bradford Bulls on-loan in 2018 and then the Odsal club permanently in the same season with Peter Mata’utia signing for the Tigers.
But, that move was tough after embedding himself firmly in the Castleford culture.
“It was really difficult to leave, I have some really good mates at the club and I loved the fans there it’s a place that will always feel like home.
“The move came about after losing Zak (Hardaker), we needed a fullback, and Pete (Mata’utia) became available late in the season with what happened at Leigh, and Bradford were looking for a outside back with their promotion push.
“I spoke to the club and there was an exchange within a matter of days. Pete ended up staying long term at Cas and played some great footy and I ended up in the south of France which I loved as well so it was good move all round.”
A full season was spent at Odsal until Hitchcox went to the south of France to join Toulouse where he had been a consistent star in the club’s bid to reach the top flight.
He has recently signed with the Leigh Centurions in the club’s bid to earn Super League promotion.