This is an important week in the context of the remainder of the season with Super League sides able to register players for the current season up until Friday, hence we saw a flurry of signings last week including Wigan Warriors’ who signed Tyler Dupree and St Helens who picked up Moses Mbye.
Another team who have been icnredibly busy are Castleford Tigers with Andy Last’s side languishing in eleventh and depserate to find the spark that will help them stay in Super League.
The Tigers loaned in Jordan Johnstone and Greek international Billy Tsikrikas before announcing the permanent signings of PNG and Lebanese World Cup stars Liam Horne and Charbel Tasipale.
Director of Rugby Operations Danny Wilson has now spoke on the club site about the recruitment, explaining how difficult it has been at times.
“It’s been a testing period on a few levels because we’ve been working hard since March, April time really. We’ve spoken to about 70 players over that time whether that be overseas or domestically.
“It’s challenging because there are a few things that go into it. First and foremost, you have to identify that talent and we’ve got some good agents in this country and abroad.
“That process of identifying players is important to make sure the players fit what we want. Then it’s about agreeing the finances and making sure everything is right and then it’s getting the release from the clubs they are at. Another aspect to consider is the player being eligible for a visa which is tricky when targeting the overseas market, however, the World Cup last year helped us with international appearances being part of the criteria.”
Wilson then revealed that the club almost landed a key player but at the last minute the deal fell through.
“We had a really exciting player lined up and we were excited about him coming over. We’d gone through that process and agreed terms but then his club wouldn’t release him. That was a hard one to take because that was after about two weeks of negotiations.”
Wilson discussed in detail each recruit as well and what they will bring, which can be read here, but he hinted that the club are still in the market for a new overseas recruit.
Speaking on the loan deal that saw Albert Vete head to League One Doncaster, Wilson said:
“We are near enough done but we do have a space now to do something if we thought it was right. It was really important for Albie to get that game time because he’ll be someone who is with us in the future so that will help his development.
“It frees up a quota spot if we wanted to fill it and when you’ve spoken to as many players as we have, you always have someone on your list. We are still speaking to a couple of players, and we’ll see what materialises over the next few days.”
Who the Tigers can get their hands on prior to that deadline is unclear with the market seemingly been difficult to navigate for them given the 80 players they’ve spoken to since March per Wilson.