LUKE Gale has finally confirmed one of rugby league’s worst-kept secrets by signing a two-year deal with Castleford from the start of next season.
The England Knights scrum half was keen to stay in Super League following the Bulls’ relegation and will link up with Daryl Powell’s men from pre-season.
Gale, 26, is the second half-back to join Castleford for next year, alongside Samoan international Ben Roberts who has signed from Melbourne Storm.
Gale said: “I’m really excited to be here. Castleford have had a great season, and Daryl and his team around him have fulfilled the potential, and they have turned Cas into a proper team.
“I’m jumping at the opportunity and I cannot wait. Daryl showed a bit of interest and I have worked with him at the England Knights and at Leeds before.
“I like how he goes about things, and even though there was other interest, once I spoke to Daryl that was it - I wanted to join Castleford.”
Powell has worked wonders at Wheldon Road this season and transformed the perennial strugglers into serious title contenders.
Although Castleford were beaten by Leeds in last weekend’s Challenge Cup final, Gale said: “I love how Castleford play to be honest.
“They play good rugby and pass it about, always playing expansive football.
“Everyone seems to work for each other and there is no standout, and everyone puts a shift in.
“I spoke to Daryl and I felt he can take me and the club to that next level, and I want to be playing in those big games.
“I want to be in the England squad too, and I had aspirations to be there this year, but obviously things at Bradford did not go too well.”
Gale also worked with Tigers assistant coach Danny Orr at London as well as Aussie full back Luke Dorn.
He added: “I also know Danny Orr from my time at London, and when I moved there at 18 Danny took me under his wing and was a mentor figure for me.
“Obviously Danny is involved and I know Luke Dorn, who is one of the best players I have ever played with, so all of those reasons add up.
“You only have to look at Marc Sneyd to see a player who wasn't really spoken about.
“He was always a good player, but he had to find that next level, and he has stepped up now because of the work Daryl and his team have put in.
“Having a good chat with Daryl left it clear that I wanted to become a Castleford player.”
Tigers boss Powell said: “I’m delighted we have been able to secure the services of a quality half back who not long ago was just on the edge of international recognition.
“Luke's organisational ability alongside his willingness to both play at the defensive line and indeed through it will fit neatly into how we want to play next season. His passing and kicking game are top quality.
“Luke alongside Ben Roberts and Liam Finn give us variety and quality at half-back with Ben Reynolds proving he can also step up when needed, giving us additional depth in such a pivotal position.”