Four potential targets for Castleford in their halfback search

Like it or not, Castleford have been granted salary cap relief in order to replace the injured Luke Gale.

As a result, the Tigers are currently scouring the market for a replacement, although they’ve admitted they’re in no huge rush to do so.

But who could be available to them? We take a look at four potential options.

Theo Fages (St Helens)

Since the salary cap dispensation was first granted, Fages has been the name most strongly linked with a move to The Jungle.

The St Helens halfback is off-contract at the end of 2019 and following a mixed 2018 campaign, a season that saw him predominantly used from the bench, there are question marks over his Saints future.

The Frenchman is still only 24 and looks set to have a big career ahead of him, but if he finds himself not starting games again this year, he may decide to pursue options elsewhere.

It’s unlikely that Saints would allow him to go before 2019, but if the youngster decides a move is best for his future, Cas would most likely be circling.

Declan Patton (Warrington Wolves)

You have to wonder what Dec Patton is thinking right about now.

After years of waiting in the wings, years waiting to become ‘the man’ at the Wolves, he now finds himself in a squad blessed with Blake Austin and Kevin Brown, along with the small matter of one Gareth Widdop heading to the club next year.

Patton is still only 23 and played 30 games for Warrington last season. The problem is that 22 of those outings were from the bench, and often he was used as a hooker.

If Patton is to truly fulfil his potential as a halfback, he might have to leave Warrington. Again, it’s unlikely Warrington would want that to happen and he’s only just signed a new contract.

But could a loan-deal, even if it’s midway through the season, be beneficial for all parties?

Ryan Brierley (Toronto Wolfpack)

The problem Castleford will face in their search is finding a club willing to part with a halfback.

Toronto might be the exception.

The Wolfpack have four halfbacks on their books in Josh McCrone, Joe Mellor, Blake Wallace and Brierley.

All four of those players will have higher aspirations than to be a backup, and with Toronto inevitably close to touching the salary cap, dropping a half from their roster would seem to be the obvious move.

Brierley was below McCrone and Wallace in the pecking order last year and Mellor will almost certainly play this year, leaving Brierley’s future in doubt.

But there can be no doubting his qualities. The former Leigh and Huddersfield ace is one of the best support players in the game and has a phenomenal try-scoring record. In 180 career games, he’s scored 172 times, a quite outrageous try-scoring return.

His style of play would also compliment Cas, and it could be their most realistic option.

Johnathon Ford (Toulouse Olympique)

Castleford tried, and failed, to sort their fullback issues out last year by going for Toulouse ace Mark Kheirallah.

Now, could they consider trying to lure away another of their prize assets?

Ford has been a standout player in the Championship for years. Most of the time, he looks a class apart.

The Cook Islands international is 29 now and at the top of his game. As a short-term fix, Ford might be worth a punt for Cas. But would he leave the glamorous lifestyle of Toulouse?