Castleford Tigers bolstered by signing of NRL international forward in Super League survival push

Ben Olawumi
Andy Last Castleford Tigers

Castleford Tigers have announced the signings of Billy Tsikrikas and Alex Foster as loanees for the remainder of the 2023 season as they look to avoid the drop from Super League.

Prop Tsikrikas, a Greek international, moves to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle from the NRL where he had featured sporadically over the previous two years for the Canterbury Bulldogs.

The 28-year-old prop last year got named in the Greece squad for the World Cup, and could have played against England, but withdrew prior to the tournament.

Foster meanwhile links back up with Cas for a second spell having previously featured for them between 2017 and 2021. He re-joins Andy Last’s side now from Championship outfit Newcastle Thunder.

Thunder sit bottom of the pile, with utility Foster playing 15 times so far in 2023. He has scored three tries in that time, and is able to play as a forward or in the centres.

NRL international ‘excited for Super League opportunity’ with Castleford Tigers

Sydney-born Tsikrikas, whose official forename is Vasili, says he’s raring to go.

Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, the prop added: “I’m very excited to be given an opportunity with the Tigers and to get to experience Super League.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity and challenges ahead and to do my part in finishing the season strongly.”

Boss Last meanwhile was equally as delighted to have got him through the door, with the new recruit expected to land in the country soon.

“Billy has been playing for the Bulldogs NSW team and playing big minutes due to the big engine he has.

“I spoke with Mark O’Meley, a former front rower who I coached that has been coaching Billy, who spoke highly of him regards his attitude and his effort areas during games.

“Billy has an opportunity to show us what he is capable of during these latter stages of the season.”

Tsikrikas will become the only active member of Greek’s squad to play in Super League at the moment.

Tigers put an end to recruitment woes

Last week, head coach Last told Love Rugby League that he and his team were finding recruitment a big challenge.

Admitting that getting deals over the line was proving a sticking point, he also made the revelation that Josh Griffin chose to join fellow relegation candidates Wakefield Trinity over the Tigers.

The boss said then: “We are looking but it’s all about making sure we get the right person. I can’t really comment on what other teams are doing, all I know is that we are looking and we have made enquiries.

“The final part of it is getting the deal done and that’s the tough bit. Other teams have been a bit more successful in that aspect.”

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