Castleford Tigers coach Lee Radford hopes his new prop Muizz Mustapha will help tidy up a Tigers team which will also feature two fresh halfbacks next year.
As well as the powerfully-built 22-year-old Leeds frontrower, who has signed a twelve-month contract, with the club having the option of adding a further year, Castleford have, as predicted, landed Gareth Widdop from Warrington and Jacob Miller from Wakefield.
Halifax-born ex-Melbourne Storm and St George Illawarra Dragons star Widdop, 33, who has played 28 times for England and four for Great Britain, has agreed a two-year deal.
And 30-year-old Australian Miller, who has also been at Wests Tigers and Hull (under Radford), and played for the Combined Nations All Stars against England in June, has penned three-year terms.
“What Gareth has achieved in the game has been phenomenal, his experience that he brings is huge,” said Radford.
“The stage he is at in his career, I think Castleford will be a really good environment for him and I think he will be good for everyone else at the club.
“Milky (Miller) is a blowtorch at halfback. He was the captain of Wakefield for several years, so he’ll bring that vocal side.
“Gareth and Milky are looking forward to playing together, and I think they will bring the best out of each other.”
Nigeria-born Mustapha played his junior rugby at Hunslet Warriors and represented both Yorkshire and England at Academy level while coming through the Leeds development ranks.
He was loaned to Featherstone in 2018 and made his Rhinos debut in the following year’s Challenge Cup fifth-round win at home to Workington.
Mustapha has made eight further Leeds appearances while also being farmed out to Dewsbury, Newcastle, Hull KR and, this year, Bradford.
And Radford, who has also signed former Tonga prop Albert Vete from Hull KR, reckons he has all the attributes to become an established Super League operator.
“I really like how Muizz plays, his leg speed, his defence, his line speed is fantastic, and he is a different shape to a lot of front rowers kicking around in the competition,” he explained.
“There is a niche for what he does. He’s a tidy-up man in and around the ruck, the type of player who will get the best out of someone like Sui Matagi, and vice versa.
“We are hoping we can develop him into the player we know he can be.”
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