CONTROVERSIAL former Man of Steel Rangi Chase has been praised for the manner in which he has dealt with lower league opponents trying to “get in his head” following his return from a drugs ban.
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The ex-Castleford Tigers and England international was suspended for two years after testing positive for cocaine while playing with Widnes Vikings in 2017.
One of the most gifted players Super League has ever seen, the mercurial stand-off was given a chance to resurrect his career with League 1 Doncaster when that ban expired in July.
Securing the 33-year-old’s signature was a major coup for Richard Horne’s part-timers but also something of a gamble following his chequered past.
However, New Zealand-born Chase - who won Man of Steel when at Castleford in 2011 and represented England at the World Cup two years later - has repaid them in full with some impressive displays.
He helped the Dons reach the play-offs and, though their promotion hopes were ended at Newcastle Thunder on Sunday, he had agreed to play on with the South Yorkshire club in 2020.
Danny Washbrook, the veteran Hull FC back-rower who has joined York City Knights ahead of next term, saw first-hand Chase’s impact after playing a handful of games on dual-registration.
“Whenever I’ve played alongside Rangi for Doncaster, he’s gone really well,” he said.
“It’s obvious he’s still got all his razzle dazzle and all those tricks.
“Teams do try to target him and get in his head, though.
“Obviously, they would; it’s Rangi Chase, ex-Man of Steel and England playing at a level two levels below Super League.
“People have been putting a bit of target on him; they’ve been trying to hurt him both when running at him and hitting him in the tackle.
“They are out to get him and know he can blow up but he’s doing a good job controlling his reactions.
“He’s not letting them get under his skin and that’s great to see as it is to see him playing again.”
Meanwhile, former Wakefield Trinity player Washbrook, 34, admits he was preparing to retire with his second spell at hometown Hull came to an end this autumn - until a chance conversation changed his plans.
"I had got it into my head that I'd probably retire," he explained.
"But I was chatting to Jon Flatman, the York CEO, about another subject and he just happened to say 'what are you doing next year, do you fancy playing here?'
"I thought it would be a good opportunity. Having spoken to Graeme Horne and Ben Cockayne who'd played there before, I knew how much they enjoyed it at York.
"And (Hull players) Liam Harris and Cam Scott had both been over this year and spoke well about the set-up.
"They are definitely a club going in the right direction having had a great season finishing third in the Championship straight after promotion.
"They are a club on the up and that's one of the things that really appealed to me."
* Danny Washbrook's testimonial golf day at Brough Golf Club has been rearranged for Thursday October 10 for anyone interested in playing contact firstname.lastname@example.org