Rugby league’s worst kept secret was outed a fortnight ago when Jake Trueman was announced as signing for Hull FC after five years at Castleford Tigers.
The Tigers nurtured Trueman through to the first-team as a wily 17-year-old after picking up the halfback from Bradford Bulls during a financial crisis in 2017.
Though still only 23 years of age, the playmaker seems to have been around for a decade and it’s his mature head on young shoulders that Castleford will probably miss the most.
Now out injured, Trueman will link up with Hull immediately who will feed him through their rehab system with the view to making his debut at the start of the 2023 season.
For Castleford, however, that leaves a huge hole in the halfback role which is unlikely to be filled by anyone inside the club which means that head coach Lee Radford will be looking outwardly to make his spine tick.
Wakefield Trinity’s Jacob Miller has been heavily linked with a move to the Jungle whilst Gareth Widdop is expected to sign from the Warrington Wolves, though the latter will also sit out for the rest of the season with injury after suffering a dislocated shoulder in the Wolves’ big 36-10 win over Catalans Dragons.
There is no inkling that Radford will look abroad for a new playmaker with limited options around the world in such a pivotal position.
Of course, there is always likely to be a reserve-grade player Down Under that is looking for a shot, but Castleford perhaps need a quick result and then build for the future under Radford.
That being said, Widdop is 33 and has suffered four dislocated shoulders in four years – in the same shoulder – whilst Miller is entering the twilight of his career too.
And, with Callum McLelland still on the sidelines and Danny Richardson out of contract, the former Hull FC boss clearly wants experience to guide his team around the park in 2023.