DEPARTING STALWART Craig Huby admits it will take time to come to terms with no longer being a Castleford Tigers player.
Huby, 28, made his debut as a 16-year-old in 2003 and was the club’s longest-serving player, before the 30-14 play-off loss to Warrington Wolves two days ago brought the curtain down on Tigers’ season and his Cas career.
He has signed a long-term deal with Huddersfield Giants, which begins next season and admitted: “It will take a while to sink in.
“With a couple of minutes to go when they scored it probably hit me for the first time, but I have made my decision to leave and I stick by it.
“I am looking forward to a new challenge at Huddersfield, but I am not thinking at all about next year just yet.
“I am just going to reflect on the game, have a few beers with the boys and see what comes in the next few weeks (when England’s Four Nations squad is named) and if nothing comes of that have a relaxing holiday with the family.
“It has been a pretty good year, but I’m disappointed with how it ended. We gave ourselves a chance early on, but we dropped the ball again and didn’t execute again.
“It has been a cracking season, but we’ve just not delvered at the right time.”
Tigers finished a club-best fourth in the First Utility Super League table, but were runners-up in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup, lost to Catalan Dragons in round 27 when victory would have secured the league leaders’ shield and were beaten in both their play-off ties.
Huby reckons that is part of the learning curve for Tigers, who he feels will handle the big occasions better next time around.
“The players will definitely take a lot out of it and I will definitely take a lot out of it,” he stated.
“I’ve never been in this situation. I’ve been in the top-eight once before, but nothing like this, finishing fourth.
“It has been an amazing year, to get into the top-four. I am sure the club and the players and the coaching staff will get it right next year.”
After the previous two heavy defeats, to Catalan and St Helens, pride was regained with a battling performance two days ago, but Huby said that was little consolation.
“We still let ourselves down,” he said. “It is never nice losing, especially in a last-chance game.
“There were too many errors and we didn’t execute, again. We beat ourselves and we have to learn from it.”
Most of Tigers’ players are now preparing for their off-season break, but Huby could still have a couple of months left in his 2014 campaign.
He was named earlier this year in England’s elite training squad and will find out in around a week’s time if he has been selected for this autumn’s Four Nations series in Australia and New Zealand.
“I’m back in training with the England camp and I’ll work hard there and see if I can get on the tour,” Huby said.
“If not, I’ll have a couple of weeks off and then get back into it. I’m going to enjoy the next couple of days with the lads first though – and have a bit of fun.”
Prop is a hotly-contested position in the England squad and of his chances of making the trip Down Under, Huby said: “I am not too sure.
“I’ve not really thought that much about it, but if I do get in, all well and good.
“If I don’t, there’s no dramas - I’ll work even harder next year to try and get in next time.”