Castleford Tigers star Ben Roberts is to leave the club with immediate effect, bringing an end to his four seasons at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Roberts played 78 times for the Tigers after joining at the start of the 2015 season, playing a key role in the 2017 season when the club won the League Leaders’ Shield.
Prior to his Castleford career Roberts, a Samoan and New Zealand international, enjoyed a successful career in the NRL, playing in over 130 games for Melbourne Storm, Parramatta Eels and Canterbury Bulldogs.
Speaking to castlefordtigers.com, Roberts said:
“First and foremost, I want to thank God for giving me and my family this opportunity. To the fans who have supported me and the boys for the last four years, I would like to thank you for making the experience of playing for the Tigers one that me and my family will never forget. To my teammates who I see as life-long friends, I wish you all the success for the rest of the season and beyond.”
The club’s Director of Rugby Jon Wells added:
“I think the first thing to say is that Ben should be incredibly proud of the contribution he has made to the Castleford Tigers since his arrival in 2015. He played his part in re-positioning this club to where we are today. At his best, he was unplayable.
“In recent months, Ben’s injury issues have meant he has struggled to reach a point of fitness and availability that would allow him a continued run in the matchday 17 and, following a series of long but amicable discussions, we have reached an agreement which works for both Ben and the club.
“We wish Ben and his family all the very best for the next stage in their lives, and there will always be a warm welcome here for them all should they ever return as fans in the future.”
Head coach Daryl Powell said:
“I think it’s fair to say it’s been frustrating for both Benny and ourselves that he hasn’t been able to get on the field as often as he’d like and unfortunately that looked increasingly unlikely. We therefore felt it was best to come to an agreement between ourselves so that we could all move forward.
“Benny has had some fantastic times at the club, particularly in 2017 when he played probably the best rugby league of his career. He really was pivotal to us being outstanding that season. In and amongst that, he’s found it really difficult physically to get onto the field and given his standing within the squad it’s also become difficult for us from that perspective.
“It’s been tough, but it’s an amicable agreement and I’d just like to wish Benny and his family all the best for the future. I know he’ll be wishing the same to us because he’s been a big part of the growth of the club over the past four years.”