Identifying the top signings of each club over a period of 25 years is difficult to say the least.
What criteria do we base it on? Rather than individual points scored, we base our choice on the impact each signing had on their respective clubs.
Here are Castleford Tigers’ top five Super League signings.
Australian Adrian Vowles moved to the Jungle ahead of the 1997 Super League season after being shown the door by North Queensland: it was a match made in heaven. Though it took a season to settle in, Vowles became one of Castleford’s most impressive imports, being named the Man of Steel in 1999 as well as being included in the Super League Dream Team as the Tigers reached the semi-finals of both the play-offs and the Challenge Cup. In doing so, the loose forward became the first Tigers player and first Queenslander to win the Man of Steel. Returning to the club to play the last three games of the 2003 season, Vowles would also enjoy one more brief spell in 2005 with Castleford winning promotion from the Championship.
One of the most talented stars to ever take to a Rugby League field, Rangi Chase appeared in the UK in 2009 as a relative unknown. Well, all that was about to change with the Kiwi taking to Super League like a duck to water. Over the course of five seasons, the halfback scored 47 tries in 129 appearances, securing the Man of Steel in 2011 as the Tigers narrowly missed out on the Challenge Cup Final. Chase became a hero on the terraces at the Jungle, his majestic skill wowing crowds until a move to Salford at the end of 2013 ended a superb spell. Like the prodigal son, the New Zealander returned at the end of 2016 before joining Widnes on-loan in 2017.
It’s been a whirlwind of a career for Paul McShane; released by boyhood club Leeds in 2013, the hooker nearly quit full-time rugby during a spell with Wakefield Trinity. But, it was Castleford where the number nine finally realised his potential. Part of a swap-deal that saw Scott Moore go the other way midway through 2015, McShane settled in seamlessly at the Jungle, going from strength-to-strength before being awarded the Man of Steel in 2020. Arguably Castleford’s most important player, the number nine continues to light up the top flight.
Very few overseas players stay for nearly a decade in the Super League, but Grant Millington is one of them. And, he’s been impeccable in that time for the Tigers. The towering forward joined ahead of the 2012 season and has gone on to make over 200 appearances, three of them at halfback. A rampaging prop that has the ability to throw the ball like a halfback, Millington is now 34 years of age but continues to churn out incredible performances.
To omit Luke Gale from this list would have been a criminal offence; Brad Davis almost made the list, but Gale just had to take the last spot given his tremendous influence at the Jungle in the five seasons he spent there. Signed ahead of the 2015 season from Bradford, the halfback wasn’t exactly a marquee signing, but Gale turned into one of the best number 7s the top-flight had seen in a long time. Scoring almost 1,000 points, the halfback scooped up the Man of Steel award in 2017, having orchestrated Castleford’s first-ever first-place finish.