Mahe Fonua backs Castleford Tigers to bounce back after securing contract extension

Mahe Fonua says Castleford Tigers will come back stronger and “ruffle some feathers” in 2023 after earning his spot in their squad for next season.

The Tigers missed out on a Super League play-off place with a last-gasp defeat at Leeds Rhinos on the final day of the season.

It was a heartbreaking way for Fonua’s first season at the club to end, following his move from Hull FC.

The centre was one of only five players to feature in all 27 regular-season matches in the division, alongside Castleford team-mate Joe Westerman, Leeds Rhinos prop Mikolaj Oledzki, St Helens hooker Joey Lussick and Wakefield Trinity forward Matty Ashurst.

And his performances were rewarded last week with an extension to his contract, tying him to the Tigers for the 2023 season with an option in the club’s favour to extend for a further year.

“I’m really excited; it was an easy choice for me and I’m very grateful that the club felt the same way,” said Fonua.

“I feel like I’ve found my feet again and got that fire in my belly again here at Castleford, so I’m thrilled to be here for another year and hopefully we can have plenty more good moments together.

“Going into 2023 I hope to have a consistent year and we’ll be fighting to get some silverware.”

This season proved a fruitful reunion with Castleford coach Lee Radford, with whom Fonua won two Challenge Cups while at Hull.

Fonua said: “I think he gets the best footy out of me. To be playing under him again, it’s going to be another good experience and I’m very grateful.

“I’ve been part of a good squad this year and I’m excited to play alongside some of the boys that are coming in next year.

“We should be able to ruffle some feathers in the competition next year with the squad that we will have.”

However, Castleford face being without Danny Richardson for much of next season after the halfback was confirmed to have torn both the anterior and medial cruciate ligaments in his knee.

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