As predicted in League Express last Monday, Castleford Tigers have confirmed their signing of Parramatta Eels centre Ben Crooks for the start of the 2016 Super League Season on a three-year deal.
Crooks becomes coach Daryl Powell’s second signing ahead of the 2016 campaign after French prop Gadwin Springer was announced last week.
Crooks, the son of former Tigers legend Lee Crooks, joined Parramatta at the beginning of 2015 but has yet to play in the first grade for the Eels.
Crooks started his career at Hull FC. The 23-year old made his debut for the Black and Whites in 2012 and by 2013 he had nailed down a regular spot in the first team. Crooks went on to be named in the 2013 Super League Dream Team and won the Super League Young Player of the Year award.
Crooks is now looking forward to joining his hometown club and returning to Super League.
“Joining Parramatta Eels was designed to improve my skills and mature me both as a player and a person in the highest quality environment in world Rugby League, while experiencing a new independent and memorable lifestyle,” said Crooks.
“Even though I have not yet managed to break through and play in the NRL, I believe I have achieved my goals in my career development and will return to Super League a better player for the experience,
“I have loved by time at Parramatta and thank everyone for their guidance and support,
“We have had talks with a handful of Super League clubs, including a return to Hull FC. Castleford Tigers are my hometown club who made a determined effort to sign me both now and when I first turned professional, and I am anticipating an exciting new chapter in my career,
Crooks added: “The Tigers have made massive strides on and off the field in the past two years and I am looking forward to working with Daryl Powell, who has a proven track record of bringing out the best in players and thus fulfilling their potential.”
The Tigers’ coach can see the potential in his new signing.
“I am really pleased that we have been able to secure the signature of Ben Crooks at the Tigers. He has shown huge potential as a player and we are confident that our environment will bring the best out of him in every facet of the game,” said Powell.
Powell added: “Ben is quick and athletic with a great try scoring ability who we feel will fit neatly into the way we like to play the game.”
Tigers CEO Steve Gill is delighted to confirm the deal:
“I am really happy that we have secured Bens signature for the next three years. He fits in to our plans and where we want to be as a club moving forward. We understand that there were other Super League clubs interested in Ben’s signature. Ben showed a desire to come to the club and to link up with Daryl, and we look forward to welcoming him to the Castleford Tigers.”
Crooks will join his new team mates this November for pre season training ahead of the 2016 Super League Season.