It’s coming to that time again when clubs nail down the futures of those they want to keep, but for some, it will be time to leave.
So, we at Serious About Rugby League believed it would be good to start off a series including those players from clubs whose futures are still yet to be decided.
First up are the Castleford Tigers.
The London-born prop forward only joined Castleford on a one-year deal back in November 2020, but has played just three times for the Tigers since then. Incoming boss Lee Radford signed him for Hull back in 2018, yet Bienek played just eight times over a period of three years at the KCOM Stadium. It remains to be seen whether Radford will give him another shot.
He’s been at the Jungle since 2017, but Greg Eden has been on the periphery of Daryl Powell’s thinking in recent seasons. With a new boss coming in though, it could be time for the winger to rekindle that excellent form that sent him straight to the top of Super League’s top try-scorers in 2017.
Perhaps one of the most unluckiest players with injuries, Alex Foster has played just over 50 matches in over four seasons for the Tigers since joining on a trial basis in 2017. When he is on the field, he offers Castleford a great deal, but it’s whether Foster can remain fit for an extended period of time that will be the catalyst for him to earn a new contract.
He signed a professional contract back in January 2021, but Brad Graham has played just once for the Tigers since penning that deal. At just 19, however, the future looks bright for the centre/winger.
Tyla Hepi signed for Castleford ahead of the 2020 season, but has remained on the outside of head coach Daryl Powell’s thinking so far with only 11 appearances to his name.
Part of the furniture at the Jungle, Oliver Holmes has been at Castleford all of his rugby league career, but he has yet to sign a new deal. And, rumours of a move to Warrington alongside Daryl Powell continue to grow, so the second-rower may end his long association at the club.
Another like Brad Graham that signed a one-year extension in January of this year, Brad Martin is still only young and will surely earn another deal after a string of impressive performances.
On-loan from Huddersfield for the season, Suaia Matagi will likely head back to his parent club if the Tigers don’t secure his services beyond 2021. Having just returned from injury, the prop has put in some great performances that could well influence a new contract.
Peter Mata’utia initially signed for Castleford on-loan from Leigh midway through 2018. However, that deal was made permanent at the end of that season with the utility back putting in some stellar performances. With a rumour to Warrington not going away, Mata’utia could be set to leave his four-year association at the Jungle.
Possibly Castleford’s greatest ever overseas signing, Grant Millington signed for the Tigers back in 2012. He has since made almost 250 appearances, but may retire and head into a coaching job at the end of the year at the age of 34.
Like Oliver Holmes, Adam Milner seems to have been around forever at the Jungle, coming through the ranks at the same time as a baby-faced teenager. Since then, the hooker-turned-loose-forward has made over 250 appearances for the Tigers, earning an England call-up and three caps whilst at the club. There have been rumours swirling around, however, that Milner could be set for the exit.
20-year-old Lewis Peachey made his debut for Castleford back in 2020, but has found gametime limited under Daryl Powell. Will Lee Radford see him as a cornerstone of the Tigers pack? It remains to be seen.
Brought to the club ahead of the 2017 season, Jesse Sene-Lefao has lit up the town of Castleford ever since. His broad smile and tremendous work ethic have been a huge hit with the Tigers faithful and he has expressed his desire to stay at the Jungle, despite claims of homesickness in the family.
Michael Shenton has played almost 350 games for Castleford in his two spells and will go down as a legend at the club. However, aged 34, it’s likely that the centre will hang up his boots at the end of the season.