Castleford Tigers have received a real boost ahead of tonight’s game at Huddersfield Giants with news acting-captain Luke Gale has signed a fresh five-year deal at Wheldon Road.
The gifted scrum-half has again been one of Super League’s form players in 2016 having made last year’s Dream Team and been an unused member of England’s squad against New Zealand following his debut campaign at Castleford.
Gale, who turns 28 later this month, had attracted significant interest from rivals clubs and it is understood NRL sides were also monitoring his development.
But the former Harlequins player, who was under contract for next season and is hoping to finally make his England debut in the Four Nations, will now remain at the West Yorkshire club until the end of 2021.
Leeds-born Gale, who joined from Bradford Bulls at the end of 2014, said: “I did have interest from elsewhere but I always wanted to stay here, and I’d like to see out the rest of my career at Castleford Tigers.
“I’m delighted to have signed my new deal and it’s great to be able to put all the rumours to bed.
“I love what Daryl (Powell) and (chief executive) Steve (Gill) are building here; it’s a great club to be part of and I’m excited to see what the future holds for the club in the coming years.
“The fans are amazing and we’ve built a brilliant team here who are hungry for success and to bring silverware back to Castleford.”
As well as his creative skills – no one has made more than his 24 try assists this season – Gale has also shown his leadership quality by standing in as captain following Michael Shenton’s injury on the opening day of the campaign.
As Tigers seek to keep their top-four hopes alive this evening, head coach Powell added: “I fully expect Luke to become the next England half-back and look forward to him continuing to grow as a person and a player within our environment. He has been outstanding since he signed at Castleford and I expect him to improve every year he is with us.”
On-loan Larne Patrick is unavailable against his parent club but Nathan Massey returns and Joel Monaghan is available after missing last week due to illness.