Alex Foster insists it was a simple decision to commit his long-term future to Castleford Tigers – and says he never doubted his ability to return to Super League after signing a new three-year extension to his deal with the club.
Foster has proven to be a revelation since joining Castleford at the beginning of last season, having initially left London to join then-Championship side Bradford before they were liquidated, making him a free agent.
He still had another year left on the contract he signed midway through last year, but the Tigers have acted swiftly to tie the 24-year-old down: and he exclusively told TotalRL in his first interview since signing the deal that he never had any intention of looking elsewhere.
“I still had a year left on my deal, so it’s really nice for them to acknowledge my progress and give me an upgrade,” he said.
“It was an easy decision to make; and there’s absolutely no place I’d rather be than Castleford.
“I feel I’ve come on massively since the start of 2017 when I joined. The progress has been pretty rapid, but I never doubted that I could hack it at the top level despite leaving Leeds when I did. The thing for me which has been most pleasing is being able to play week-in, week-out so quickly.
“When I left Leeds I was very disappointed, and going to London was a bold move given I was so young. I always believed I could get back to Super League, though.”
Foster and Castleford are handily placed for a push at a second successive Grand Final appearance this season, and victory over Wigan on Friday night would move them five points clear of fifth-placed Hull FC.
Tipped by many as a one-season wonder last year, Foster admits he’s signed on at the Tigers again for one reason: to win trophies.
He said: “This is a club that is going places,” he said.
“Last year was not a one-off; we’re coming back into some form now and we’re showing what we’re all about. As I say, this is a team that is capable of a lot.
“The injuries we’ve had this year has meant the team has changed around a fair bit but we’re still well-placed in the table to have a tilt come the back end.”
The 24-year-old has become revered for his utility at the Tigers, most recently filling in at centre due to an injury to Jake Webster.
And while Foster admits he’s happy to continue on playing anywhere for Castleford, he does accept nailing down a regular position is one challenge he faces in the coming years.
“In all honesty, I’m just happy to be playing,” he said. “Centre is a position I haven’t played too much of as a professional but I did play there as an Academy player at Leeds.
“Daryl knows I’ll do a good job wherever he puts me. My favourite position is back-row but I’m equally comfortable in the middle or the centres. The challenge is perhaps to nail down a solid position but for now, I’m just enjoying the ride. It’s great to get it all sorted and concentrate on rugby for the next three years, and not worry about contracts and things like that. Hopefully that will bring the best out of me.”