Castleford Tigers left in ‘tough’ position with full-back exit becoming increasingly likely

Josh McAllister
Niall Evalds, SWPix

Picture by Alex Whitehead/

Castleford boss Andy Last has admitted that the club are not currently in a position to offer full-back Niall Evalds an extended contract beyond the current season.

Evalds, 29, is coming towards the end of his deal at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

The Castleford full-back is currently sidelined after suffering a pectoral tear earlier in May, and may have played his final game for the Tigers.

Hull KR have been linked with a move for the one-time England international for 2024, with Willie Peters recently confirming his interest.

Having joined the club from Salford ahead of 2021, Evalds has been limited to just 37 appearances for Castleford in three seasons, scoring nine tries.

“We’re not in a position at this moment to make him an offer”

“It’s a tough one with Niall,” Last told media on Thursday.

“We haven’t seen the best of him in the two years that I’ve been on board from a first team coaching point of view.

“We’re not in a position at this moment to make him an offer because he’s not playing.

“We need to make sure we spend our budget wisely and at the moment, the fact he’s not playing makes it difficult to really put a strong case forward and definitely make this amount of money available to him from a signing point of view.

“It’s tough when those contracts aren’t given out. When you go past those deadlines, you know other teams are able to enquire and make offers and some teams may be afforded a little bit more budget than we’ve got.

“Niall is a good player and a good kid and we’re just unfortunate that we haven’t seen the best of him.

“It makes it difficult to stake a claim and say we’re going to invest X amount into this player when he hasn’t been able to get out onto the field.

“It’s a challenge, but that’s the nature of this open window of recruitment.”

Hull KR boss confirms Niall Evalds interest

2023 will see Hull KR full-back and Scotland international Lachlan Coote hang up the boots, with Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e waiting in the wings for his first team chance.

Peta Hiku will return to England for his second stint on a three-year deal at Craven Park, and head coach Peters has recently confirmed his interest in Evalds.

The Robins are also currently without forward Sauaso Sue and James Batchelor due to long-term injuries, while Dean Hadley is a doubt against Catalans.

33-year-old Coote is also currently sidelined after suffering a head knock at Magic Weekend.

“We definitely have interest in Niall Evalds, that’s for sure,” Peters said during his weekly press conference.

“But nothing has been done as of yet. We’re looking to strengthen our spine next year, and Niall can play on the wing as well.

“Next year, Peta Hiku is coming to the club. We’re looking at him at full-back, but he can play certain positions and that was the reason to get him.

“We are looking at another option. Whether that is Niall who can play full-back we know extremely well, he also played on the wing at Salford.

“If it’s not him, we’ll be looking at someone else for that as well. 

“The key is to strengthen and get more speed in and around those sort of areas if we can and Oliver Gildart, that’s the reason we’ve brought him in as well.”

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