As Castleford ended a run of eight straight Super League defeats to turn champions Leeds over last weekend, Jordan Tansey enjoyed an excellent game against his erstwhile employers.
Tansey, 26, was playing in front of crowds of a few hundred at York City Knights last season before Tigers boss Ian Millward handed him a Super League lifeline.
The early signs are encouraging for Tansey, certainly on the evidence of his display last week, and it is perhaps a case of now or never for a player once touted as the next big thing.
Undeniably gifted but with a tendency to land himself in trouble off the field, Tansey has endured some notable lows since scoring the try which handed Leeds a highly controversial Millennium Magic weekend win over the Bulls in 2007.
A series of bad decisions – many alcohol-related – saw him spiral out of control and, after leaving Leeds, he had spells at Sydney Roosters, Hull FC, Crusaders and York before pitching up at Castleford.
Chev Walker, an old team-mate and personal friend, has backed Tansey’s renaissance to continue as they prepare to cross swords in today’s round-three Super League clash.
Walker said: “Jordan seems to have turned himself around and is playing well. I didn’t get to play much with him at Leeds but I know him away from the game and he’s a great bloke.
“I used to go and watch him at amateur level for Whinmoor Warriors in Leeds. As a young lad he had a lot of confidence in his game and I remember him being truly gifted.
“He would take risks on the field that maybe some young lads wouldn’t take. But they used to come off because he was good enough to do it.
“I don’t think he’s any worse than a lot of young lads have been. He just seems to get himself in a little bit of bother which always seems to make the press.
“But I think he knows that this is his last chance now. He’s working hard off the field to make sure that he doesn’t get involved in any misdemeanours. He’s trying to put it all behind him and get rid of that tag.
“I’m loathe to start lecturing him, because you’re crossing that barrier of friendship, but I’m certainly there for him if he ever needs a bit of advice.”
Walker, meanwhile, has enjoyed a fine start to the season with the Bulls and lined up at loose forward in the opening two rounds.
He said: “I got through a lot of work against Hull last weekend but it was tough. It’s just a matter of getting those minutes in and getting those spells right.
“If I do that then I can rip in and go again. But I’m enjoying the role I’ve been given and am working hard to perfect it.
“We were disappointed last week, not only with the loss but the way that we started. It was out of character after what we’ve been doing over the last few months and the fact we’ve been eager and the hungrier team.
“I think it’s an early kick up the backside that we can’t bask in our own glory after the Wakefield game.
“Not that we did, but it was a reminder that it’s hard work that will get us wins, rather than just getting out there and hoping that something happens. We need to get out there and make it happen this weekend against Cas.”