CASTLEFORD TIGERS forward Alex Foster is pinching himself after going from near the bottom of Kingstone Press League One to the top of Betfred Super League in the space of a few months.
Foster began his career with Leeds Rhinos and had spells at Featherstone Rovers and London Broncos before joining Bradford Bulls at the end of 2016. He was left without a club when Bulls went into liquidation, but Tigers coach Daryl Powell gave him a trial and – after proving his fitness by playing for Oxford – he was signed on a short-term deal and almost immediately a longer contract until the end of 2019.
He now finds himself playing for a team eight points clear at the top of Betfred Super League and Foster admitted: “It is something I couldn’t have imagined last year, with the move from Broncos to Bradford in the Championship.
“It was an unfortunate turn of events at Bradford, but for me it has been worth the drama that happened.
“I came to Castleford with a bit of an injury. I was struggling to get a club elsewhere and Bradford could not take me on because of the situation they were in. I had to prove myself and go out and play my first game once I was fit at the Oxford club. I am really grateful to [coach] Tim Rumford and everyone there that they slotted me straight in.
“I managed to prove myself, I’ve trained pretty hard and impressed the coaches and got a few games off the back of that.
“I am happy and delighted with what has happened. Cas have been the team to beat this year and it has been incredible playing with these boys.”
Despite his rise this year Foster, 23, admits he still has a lot to learn. He said: “There’s a lot in my game I need to develop, especially if I want to play on the edge in this team. There’s a lot of sophisticated interplay within the edges which I need to sharpen up my skill with, but I am delighted to be getting the game time I am whether it’s off the bench or starting.
“No matter how many minutes, it is quite humbling to be within this team.”
Tigers travel to Wakefield Trinity in two days’ time and Foster reckons they need to improve on their performance in last week’s 24-22 win over Hull FC.
“The boys said after the match it was probably a blessing in disguise that they came at us in the last 20 minutes and really put it to us,” he said. “That is something we’ve got to deal with in big games. The last two occasions against Hull we’ve been under the pump and not really shown what we can do, so it was probably good that we had a test at the end of the game.”