Nathan Massey aims to become history-maker with Castleford Tigers as they head to Catalans

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SAT in the refurbished Legends Lounge at Wheldon Road, Nathan Massey is, predictably, surrounded by images of Castleford legends.

Malcolm Reilly, Alan Hardisty, John Joyner, Keith Hepworth… the litany of greats goes on.

Nathan Massey: Loyal Castleford Tigers servant.

Nathan Massey: Loyal Castleford Tigers servant.

Granted, industrious loose-forward Massey has not won Challenge Cups or played in Great Britain Ashes series wins like the aforementioned – now 30, he is a losing Wembley finalist and has never earned England honours – but arguably he has already done enough to warrant his own place in that pantheon. Largely under-rated, a consistent player who quietly goes about his business, that might seem far-fetched.

However, Massey is one of those players every squad needs; hard-working, unfussy, tough, durable and relentless and he has already played approaching 250 games for Castleford.

He signed as a 15-year-old, half a life ago, and it is hard to imagine him playing anywhere else.

After debuting in 2007, there were brief loan spells at various points with Featherstone Rovers, York, Gateshead and Keighley as the player made his way in senior football but that is it.

In the modern era, few players stay at one club throughout their career but is that now his aim?

Massey, ahead of the game against Catalans Dragons in Perpignan, said: “I hope so. I am 30 now and have got a two-year deal so I’ll see how I feel after that.

“It’s something I am really proud of; I love playing at this club and have done for a number of years.

“It would be a great achievement for myself to, hopefully, finish here as well. There’s been a couple of times when maybe I thought I would leave. But this club is pretty special to me.”

One way of making sure he does establish himself in Castleford history would be to help them become champions for the first time in their 94-year history.

The new campaign is only into its third week but Daryl Powell’s side have won both games ahead of Perpignan; there are signs already that they could challenge.

Massey said: “I have been in finals now; the Challenge Cup in 2014, I was lucky enough to win the League (Leaders’ Shield) in 2017 and lost that year’s final.

“That (winning a final) is our aim. We have started the season in great fashion and I think with players coming back and with the competition in the squad we have got a great chance this year.”

Castleford, with George Griffin, Tyla Hepi and Mike McMeeken back to ease their injury crisis, have changed their itinerary for the annual French trip, having flown out on Friday morning.

“Usually we go over and back in a day, but we’re doing it a little bit different this year, so we’ve got a bit of time over there,” said Leeds-born Massey, who will lock horns with the controversial Israel Folau on his Catalans debut.

“It (Folau) is nothing new. We know he’s an outstanding player.

“We don’t know much about him; obviously he’s been a bit of a star in rugby union and he’s not played (league) for a few years, like Sonny Bill (Williams). But he’s just another player in there.”

Massey added: “It’s a tough place to go. They are a big bunch of lads so it’s not one I particularly enjoy. But we’ve got to go over there and get the job done.

“On the back of what’s happened to us injury-wise at the start of the year, I think we’ve been outstanding.

“We’ve got boys coming in who’ve had limited pre-seasons and they’ve put their hand up to play and done a great job.

“We’ve got something to build on there. Hopefully, we’ll get a few numbers back in the next couple of weeks and we can build on the start to the season we’ve had.”