Castleford Tigers have agreed a one-year contract extension with young hooker or back row forward Jacques O’Neill.
Castleford Director of Rugby Jon Wells said: “We are delighted to announce the re-signing of Jacques for 2020.
“He has progressed well despite an injury setback towards the end of pre-season and when called upon this season has shown us what he is capable of.
“If Jacques continues to apply himself in the manner in which he has this year, he can expect much more first-team rugby as a Castleford Tiger in years to come.”
The Tigers Academy graduate, who celebrated his 20th birthday in May, made his debut off the bench against Hull KR in round four of the Betfred Super League and he has gone on to make seven appearances for the first team, all of them from the bench, while he has also been a non-playing member of the club’s 19-man squad on a further five occasions.
His performances have now earned O’Neill a 12-month contract extension that will keep him at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle until at least the end of the 2020 season.
“I’m really happy to sign again with a great club. I’ve been here four years now and am starting to get a look in at first-team level,” O’Neill told TigersTV.
“Every time I’ve played I’ve enjoyed it more and more, but this deal doesn’t make me feel any more comfortable. I’ve just got to keep working hard and keep chasing Macca (Paul McShane) and Adz (Adam Milner) for a place in the team.
“I know I’m behind them at the moment and I need to keep chasing them; they’re two of the best players in the league and I’ve learned a lot off them both. They’ve taught me lessons that I had to learn and without them I don’t think I’d be here now.”
Tigers coach Daryl Powell said: “I’m really pleased for Jacques as it’s been tough for him this year. He hasn’t really played that much Rugby League and we’re then asking him to go into the Super League arena and compete, but he’s done a great job.
“He’s a tough character, he can play 9 and 13 and he’s done well in both roles, so I’m delighted he’s agreed to extend for another year.
“Next year is a big year for Jacques, he’s got something a bit different about him to the other options we’ve got in those positions and I’m looking forward to seeing him develop further into next year as we move through this next pre-season.”