Mac back at Castleford

Callum McLelland is planning to make up for lost time at Castleford after moving from Leeds Rhinos.

The 22-year-old halfback and former Hull man Mahe Fonua, the 28-year-old Tonga international threequarter, have become the Tigers’ latest recruits.

McLelland, who is working his way back to fitness following a ruptured knee problem, is returning to the club where he came through the development ranks, playing for England at both Under-16 and -18 level, but didn’t make a first-team appearance.

Soon after turning 18, he switched codes to join Edinburgh, becoming a high-profile signing for the Scottish Rugby Union’s much-hyped SQ (Scottish Qualified) programme (he was born in Pontefract but was eligible through a grandfather from Ayrshire).

Within nine months, and after catching the eye in the 2018 Under-20 World Cup in France, McLelland was back in Rugby League with Leeds.

His time at the Rhinos has been injury-riddled, limiting him to 16 games (he also made two appearances for Scotland, scoring three tries, as they clinched World Cup qualification, and spent time on dual-registration at neighbours Featherstone).

Out of contract at Leeds and with Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin incoming to join Luke Gale in the squad, McLelland is heading back to Castleford on a two-year deal with the option of two more.

Now he will compete with Danny Richardson, Gareth O’Brien and Jake Trueman for a halfback berth in Lee Radford’s side.

“I always dreamed of playing for Cas,” said the Lock Lane product.

“Last time I was here I didn’t end up playing a Super League game unfortunately, but now I’m hoping to kick on.

“I think I’ve become a lot more mature as a player, a lot more patient. Loads of different things have been thrown at me. Hopefully that shows when I’m playing.”

Radford coached Fonua at Hull and reckons the ex-Melbourne Storm and Wests Tigers player has a point to prove after his second spell with the Black and Whites ended a year ahead of schedule following his release.

“I think it will be a breath of fresh air for his career,” said Radford.

“When he’s on, he’s on, and then there’s not too many better.

“It looks like he is already knuckling down, ready to go, and in my opinion, right some wrongs and prove a few people wrong.”

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