DARYL Powell says Castleford Tigers are close to agreeing a new contract with Quentin Laulu-Togaga'e - and can’t understand why no one has given the full-back a Super League shot before the age of 33.
Castleford signed the dynamic ex-Sheffield Eagles full-back from Halifax at the end of May, initially on a deal until the end of the season.
However, Samoa international Laulu-Togaga’e - who scored 183 tries in 218 games for Championship Sheffield before joining Toronto Wolfpack - has been an instant hit and immediately proved his worth in the top-flight.
Powell, whose side are up to third ahead of Friday’s visit from Huddersfield Giants, said: “We’ve spoke to him about a new contract.
“We’re going through all the process of making sure everything is right for him and us and hopefully he’ll be with us next year.
“There’s no concrete decision yet, we’re still discussing it with Q.
“But he’s been a great addition, and he’s fitted in so well to the way we play.”
Laulu-Togaga’e has helped fill the problematic No1 role for Castleford that has been an issue ever since Zak Hardaker was suspended last October for taking cocaine.
However, he has also shown his versatility by operating well at half-back and has scored four tries and created another four so far.
Powell conceded: “I’m surprised it’s taken this long (for Super League chance).
“But I saw him play a lot when I was with Featherstone, and I spoke to (Sheffield coach) Mark Aston about him just before he went to Toronto.
“Warrington had a little look at him then but for whatever reason, it didn’t go through.
“I’m not one who’s cautious in signing players from the Championship; I’m confident in getting players from that level.
“I’ve done it before and I will do it again.
“I don’t know why other teams are cautious - look at how well he’s done. It has surprised me it’s taken until now for someone to give him a chance.”
Powell admitted he was surprised, though, at just how swiftly Laulu-Togaga’e adapted to Super League.
“The way we play suits his game,” he said.
“He’s been around a long time and his rugby league intuition is very sharp.
“He picked our game up very quick and he understands it reasonably well.
“I was surprised at how quick he’s fitted in too because it’s been almost instantaneous, really.”