Super League has been blessed with some amazing halfbacks. We’ve seen the likes of Sean Long and Danny McGuire dominate whilst Australia’s finest, in the shape of Trent Barrett and even Andrew Johns, have plied their trade in the competition. But no player was quite like Rangi Chase: the ultimate flare player and West Yorkshire’s own Benji Marshall. But what happened to him after his career peaked in 2011?
Chase – like Marshall – was born in New Zealand and, upon moving to Australia, immediately took up rugby league. That led him to the Wests Tigers making his debut for the club a year after Marshall guided them to the NRL title. However, with Marshall in his way, he moved on to St George Illawarra in 2007. Ironically, Marshall would also go onto play for the Dragons later in his career.
As with Wests, Chase never properly settled at St George. Although his performances were good enough to warrant a place in New Zealand’s training squad ahead of the 2008 World Cup. Of course, the Kiwis won that particular tournament inspired by none other than Benji Marshall.
There’s no doubt in my mind that at the turn of the decade, Marshall was the centre-piece of the Tigers team in Australia. He was a joy to watch and was capable of just about anything with the ball in hand so much so he became an attraction for fans all around the country.
Interestingly, Chase would do the same for the Tigers in Britain. In 2009, he joined Castleford becoming their talisman in the same way Benji had become the heart of Wests. It soon became clear that he was going to be one of the most exhilarating players in Super League. He certainly took Cas up a few notches even taking them to the play-offs in 2009 despite the fact they had finished bottom the previous season. The following year his performances continued to be mesmeric however this time the Tigers would just miss out on the coveted top eight.
At the end of 2010 he represented the New Zealand Maori team for the second time as he prepared for a stellar season in 2011. However, it was a year sullied by controversy as he was found guilty of causing Grievous Bodily Harm. Nonetheless, it didn’t stop him producing one of Castleford’s finest individual seasons ever.
Classy Cas’ classy Chase reached new heights and claimed the Man of Steel in spite of his side’s under par performance as a final day defeat to Hull KR left them out of the play-offs. That season also saw him produce one of the greatest Challenge Cup tries ever as he ripped Leeds apart in the semi-final. However, the game would end in defeat for Rangi and his team.
In one of the more debated moments of his career, the end of 2011 saw him represent England in a move that sparked plenty of outrage. However, he helped England to the Four Nations Final that season and even played in the 2013 World Cup wearing an England shirt.
At the end of 2013 his time at the Jungle came to an end as he joined the revolution at Salford as Marwan Koukash poured money into the club. Whilst there he produced perhaps the most re-watched dummy in Super League history but it was a less than fairytale two years as the club struggled to live up to the hype. Then at the end of 2015 controversy struck as Chase and others were let go as Salford attempted another re-vamp.
He wound up in the Championship with Leigh but didn’t last long leaving on account of depression. Stepping in to help their former hero, Castleford brought Chase back to the Jungle as they prepared for the biggest season in their history in 2017. Despite starting the season as the number six alongside eventual Man of Steel Luke Gale, he was shipped out on loan to Widnes allowing Ben Roberts to take over in the halves. Widnes swiftly made the deal permanent in a move that they would live to regret as they were forced to suspend Chase after he failed a drug test and in November he was handed a two year ban by UKAD.
Once his ban was over, he joined Doncaster. He now plies his trade at West Wales Raiders alongside 39-year-old former rugby union star Gavin Henson. Even now we see glimpses of his class as he skippers the 12-year-old club and pens the first chapter of their history. I wonder what we might see him do next in the sport.
✨ A fine score by @WWRaidersRL after a slice of Rangi Chase magic!
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) May 13, 2021