Watts extends Castleford deal
Castleford Tigers have announced that prop Liam Watts has signed a new long-term contract with the club.
Watts has been one of the stand-out front rowers in the Betfred Super League this season and he currently sits fourth in the competition’s Steve Prescott Man of Steel standings, whilst his consistency in the Tigers pack also brought a call up to the latest England Performance Squad announced in March.
The Cas-born forward was previously contracted to the club until 2020 after arriving from rivals Hull FC for a substantial fee last season, but Watts has now turned down interest from the NRL in order to put pen to paper on a further three-year extension that will keep him at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle until the end of the 2023 campaign.
Speaking to castlefordtigers.com, Watts said: “It’s been in the pipeline for a couple of months now. When I originally signed after leaving Hull, I always knew that I wanted to settle back down and see out the rest of my career here.
“I’m dedicated to the club and with the season that I’ve been having so far it just fits in well and I’m really glad that it’s all sorted. I’m a Cas lad and I’m playing for Castleford again.
“Coming here I think I’ve got rid of the reputation I had at Hull, I’ve settled down and I’m not as erratic. That’s probably got me into the England squad and I’ve just got to keep playing well for the rest of the year to keep my place in that.
“I feel like everything has come together for me personally, I know where I’m going to be for the next four years and I’m really happy.
“I just want to see the club keep building on what it’s already achieved. We’re making a few good signings now and I just want to see fans keep on turning out. This is our home and when it’s rocking there’s nothing like The Jungle, it’s a special atmosphere. We’re doing a lot with the surrounding community clubs at the moment and we’ve got keep that going as well.
“It’s nice to see the kids out there on our pitches before our games because they’re our future. I’ve got two boys and there’s nothing more I’d like to see than them pulling on a Tigers shirt and playing on our pitch as well.”
The club’s Director of Rugby, Jon Wells, added: “Liam has been a huge asset to the Tigers over the last 18 months and we are incredibly pleased that he has chosen to continue his career – which is on a massive upward curve – here in the UK, in Super League and with Castleford.
“Liam had plenty of interest from the NRL and I think it is an important statement for Super League as well as our club that players of Liam’s standing can see success and international recognition being achieved whilst living and playing in the Northern Hemisphere.
“He is a leader, a durable and consistent athlete and he will form the cornerstone of our pack for the next four seasons.”
Head coach Daryl Powell added: “Liam‘s contract extension is great news for the club. He has been a revelation this season in our front row, his work rate has been fantastic and his leadership has grown throughout the season.
“He is now regarded, if he wasn’t before, as one of the premier front rowers in the Super League competition and I’m confident he will continue to get better in the coming seasons at Castleford.
“He is having one of his best ever seasons which on current form will see him travel with the Great Britain squad this winter.”