Castleford Tigers swoop in to sign back from fellow Super League outfit: ‘It’s a fresh start and I can’t wait to get going’

Ben Olawumi
Rowan Milnes

Rowan Milnes in action for Hull KR in the Challenge Cup semi-final - Alamy

Castleford Tigers have further bolstered their pack ahead of 2024 with the addition of half-back Rowan Milnes from Hull KR on a two-year deal.

The 24-year-old had fallen out of favour at Craven Park, starting the Challenge Cup final back in August but not featuring since a defeat at St Helens the week after that heartbreak.

With Tyrone May joining the Robins from Grand Finalists Catalans Dragons, Milnes’ spot on the pecking order took another knock, and it was expected that he’d be moving on.

Leeds Rhinos had been heavily linked with him, though boss Rohan Smith kept his cards close to his chest when asked about him earlier this year, and it’s now been confirmed that the Jungle will be the playmaker’s next destination.

Castleford Tigers swoop in to sign star half-back from fellow Super League club

Bradford-born Milnes – who started his career with the Bulls before joining KR in 2020 – has been released from his contract in East Hull and allowed to link up with the Tigers.

Having put pen to paper on a deal running until the end of 2025, he told Cas’ club website he’s relishing a fresh start and new beginnings, hinting at how difficult sitting on the sidelines over the last few months has been.

Milnes said: “I’m delighted, I can’t wait to get started. It’s a big club and hopefully we can turn it around next year with a good crop of young players coming in.

“I’m excited to meet the boys, meet the fans and get started. I bring a lot of organisational skills and I can help lead the boys around the park.

“I back my kicking game and I’m a playmaker, so hopefully I can help the boys around into some good positions. There are some exciting players I’m looking forward to meeting and excited to work with.

“There are a few of the boys I already know like Will Tate from Hull KR and Alex Mellor from my Bradford days so I’m excited, it’s a new fresh start and I can’t wait to get going.”

Tigers’ recruitment tally ticks up to eight with Rowan Milnes’ addition

Castleford become Milnes’ third permanent home to date, Bradford and KR the only other two so far. He has pulled on a shirt as a loanee for Dewsbury Rams and Wakefield Trinity you, as well as a brief return on loan to the Bulls.

With 71 career appearances, he’ll want to build on towards a century come 2024, and becomes the Tigers’ eighth new recruit.

Nixon Putt (Central Queensland Capras), Elie El-Zakhem (North Sydney Bears), Sylvester Namo (North Queensland Cowboys), Josh Hodson (Batley), Josh Simm (Wynnum Manly Seagulls), Sam Wood (Hull KR), Luke Hooley (Leeds) will all join him at the Jungle, along with experienced head Joe Westerman who has committed the remainder of his career to his hometown club.

The one signing that hasn’t been confirmed yet is that of a coach to head up the team. Danny Ward – who kept Cas in Super League this term – is believed to have rejected an offer to stick around, and KR assistant Danny McGuire has also been reported as turning down a contract offer from the Fords.

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