Star winger Justin Carney has given Castleford Tigers a huge lift ahead of tonight’s clash with St Helens by signing a new long-term contract.
The deal will keep Carney - rated as one of the finest imports in Super League - at the club until the end of the 2019 season.
The 25-year-old joined Tigers from NRL club Sydney Roosters at the end of 2012 and has scored 31 tries in just 28 appearances in all competitions.
His initial contract was due to expire this autumn and he had been attracting interest from both Australian and rival Super League clubs.
“It’s a good feeling,” said the powerhouse back, whose form has been at the heart of Tigers’ impressive start to the season.
“There’s been a few stressful months trying to figure out what I wanted to do, but I knew I really wanted to stay and I’m pleased it all worked out in the end.”
Carney has become a huge fans’ favourite and re-signing him was a priority for coach Daryl Powell and chief executive Steve Gill.
The player added: “I didn’t realise there were so many people wanting me in their team, but I think I belong here. At the end of the day, my family and I are happy here and that’s all that matters.
“It’s a big statement from the club and a big decision for me as I’ve secured mine and my family’s future. I’ve worked really hard over the years to try and get a lengthy deal and it’s paid off now because I’m really happy here and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else – I just love it here.”
Carney went on: “I don’t want to be complacent, but I can just concentrate on my footy now. When you know your future is sorted it puts your mind at ease and you can take a step back and focus on what’s important which is us winning every week. It’s not going to come easy, but that’s our goal and I’ll be busting a gut and doing everything in my power to help us do it.
“The people I play with are my best mates off the field, they’ve made me feel at home since the day I got here. I hold most of the people here as close friends for life.
“It’s a good feeling to be a part of something like this - it’s very special, especially with the way we’re going at the moment. It was a big culture change at the start of the year with new people coming in with a lot of experience and it’s great to be a part of it.”
Powell could not disguise his satisfaction at Carney’s decision, which was announced just hours ahead of a home second versus first Super League showdown with Saints.
“I am delighted a player of Justin’s standing both at Castleford Tigers and within the wider game has decided to re-sign with the club,” Powell said.
“Both the fact he sees his future with us and the length of the contract is a huge statement for our club and the environment we have created.
“Justin is a personality both on and off the field and I know all at the club will delighted with the news.”