Castleford Tigers: Andy Last highlights the standout qualities of four new signings

Drew Darbyshire
Castleford Tigers new signings

Castleford Tigers new signings Alex Foster, Charbel Tasipale, Liam Horne and Billy Tsikrikas

Castleford Tigers coach Andy Last says their four new signings have brought a ‘freshness’ to the Jungle, and can’t wait to see them in action.

The Tigers have brought in Billy Tsikrikas, Liam Horne, Charbel Tasipale and Alex Foster as they look to secure their Super League safety for 2024.

Speaking in his weekly press conference ahead of their clash with Hull KR, Last said the quartet have brought freshness and energy to his squad.

Alex Foster: A favourite returns to Castleford Tigers

Newcastle Thunder captain Foster has returned to Castleford, a place he called home between 2017-21, playing for the Tigers in the 2017 Grand Final.

Last added: “We’ve got Fozzy back who is a great competitor and great character, knows Castleford and absolutely loves the club.

“I know he’s going to be a really key acquisition to us at this late stage in the season.

“The four players have come in, brought some freshness to the group and I’m looking forward to seeing how they can contribute between now and the end of the season.”

Charbel Tasipale: The Lebanese Cedar

Tasipale, a Lebanon international, has signed a one-and-a-half-year deal with the Tigers, with the option of a further year in the club’s favour. He played in all four of Lebanon’s games at last year’s World Cup.

On Tasipale, Last said: “Charbel, we’ve looked at Newtown Jets quite closely over the last couple of weeks, obviously Kayal Iro was in that team and Charbel was one that stood out, a right edge back-rower who is capable of playing centre and back-row.

“He’s a good line runner, very athletic and a good age, only being 23 years of age and has good experience from his time in the World Cup with Lebanon.”

Liam Horne: The Papua New Guinea star

Horne, a hooker or loose forward, has linked up with Castleford on deal until the end of next season from Queensland Cup side Norths Devils. He made his international debut for Papua New Guinea last year.

On Horne, Last said: “With regards to Liam, he is someone who came onto the radar, with that dynamism and versatility and is aggressive, which is something that we like.

“He’s very quick out of dummy half and we’ve had really good feedback from some guys who’ve played with him and some guys who have played against him, Josh Simm being one of them, obviously Josh plays at Wynnum Manly (Seagulls) and he’s someone we’re looking at and he spoke really highly of him, so he’s going to be a good player for us and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can bring.

“He’s brought some energy to the group already, it was his first day today (Thursday) and has got a bit of character and personality which is what you need at this time.”

Billy Tsikrikas: The Greek enforcer

Greek international prop Tsikrikas has joined the Tigers on loan from NRL side Canterbury Bulldogs for the rest of the season.

On Tsikrikas, Last said: “Really likeable character and someone we feel will do a good job for us.

“Peter Sharp also spoke highly of him, Peter is recruitment manager at the Canterbury Bulldogs and is a former head coach at Hull FC.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what Billy can do. He’s trained exceptionally well this week, he’s brought something to the group and is a big boy, has some presence and has bits of skill which are really effective for us.

“He’s got the ability to get in between people, he’s got late footwork, hoping that he’ll be able to get some quick play-the-balls so I’m looking forward to seeing what Billy is capable of.”

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