WHEN Cheyse Blair signed for the Castleford Tigers midway through the 2019 Super League season, there was understandable anticipation.
Here was a recruit that had played almost 40 games in two seasons for the champion side Melbourne Storm – and he was coming right for West Yorkshire.
By his own admission, however, Blair endured difficulties – not least because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the tough consequences it had on his family.
“It was enjoyable and tough at the same time at Castleford,” Blair told League Express.
“Moving your family to the other side of the world was something we were looking forward to doing but then Covid hit – it was a tough period to get through and it was hard on the kids and partner.
“They ended up coming home for 10 months while I stayed to keep playing footy. It was to hard for them in the UK because they were stuck inside the house and weren’t even able to go to school.”
That being said, Blair loved the town of Castleford as well as the people at the club, expressing just how welcome he was made to feel at the Jungle.
“On the footy side it was good. The club and people of Castleford were awesome which made it fun to be there.
“There are some top fellas at the club and I made some friendships for life which is something I will always cherish.
“It was a good experience. I don’t think I got to showcase my best footy which was a shame but that’s footy at the end of the day.”
The former Parramatta Eels and Manly Sea Eagles centre left the Tigers at the end of the 2022 Super League season, but there had been speculation that he could well have joined another club in the UK or France with Toulouse Olympique mentioned at one stage.
However, that was never something that Blair considered as both he and his family knew they wanted to go back home to Australia after a three-and-a-half year stay in West Yorkshire.
“I didn’t really even explore that avenue (of going to another UK club) because we knew we wanted to come back to Australia.”