Castleford Tigers stalwart Oliver Holmes signs contract extension for 2021 Super League season

'Tough as teak’ forward Oliver Holmes has signed a contract extension which will keep him at Castleford Tigers in 2021 - and is already eyeing a longer deal after that.
Oliver Holmes is tackled by St Helens' Theo Fages. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.Oliver Holmes is tackled by St Helens' Theo Fages. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Oliver Holmes is tackled by St Helens' Theo Fages. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Holmes’ one-year deal will take him into a 12th season in Castleford’s first team.

The 28-year-old local product made one appearance for England in 2018 and has also been capped twice by the second-string England Knights.

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He came through Tigers’ academy system before making his debut in 2010 and played 12 times this year.

There wasn't much for Tigers to celebrate during the second half of 2020. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.There wasn't much for Tigers to celebrate during the second half of 2020. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
There wasn't much for Tigers to celebrate during the second half of 2020. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“Being at a club for such a long time shows a lot of loyalty from both sides, myself and the club,” Holmes said of his new terms.

“It is a great achievement and I am looking to build on it.”

The second-rower signed a two-year deal in March, 2018, which included an option for a third season and reckons being out of contract at the end of next year will “bring the best out of me” in 2021.

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He said: “It wasn’t my decision, the option was in the club’s favour and they notified me earlier on in the year they were going to take up that option.

“I’m obviously really glad they did so, I want to be here for next year and beyond. It is a starting point, so I’ve got next year to look forward to. Hopefully I can earn a longer contract.”

The 2020 season was a disappointment as Tigers finished eighth in Betfred Super League, having been second when the competition was shutdown in March.

“Every year of rugby league is like a rollercoaster, but this one has been even more so than usual,” Holmes reflected.

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“It has been difficult, every club has had it hard. We came out of lockdown and didn’t play like we did at the start of the season.

“At the start we were right up there, performance-wise; everyone was on top of their game and then for some reason or other we couldn’t quite click after the first lockdown.

“It is disappointing for everyone who’s involved in the club. It’s not something we wanted, we wanted to push on and be challenging for silverware.

“We definitely thought we could do that, but Covid has had its way and we’ve got to be honest, we haven’t handled it as well as we should.

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“It’s a steep learning curve and hopefully we’ll go into next year, things are a bit more back to normality, we can get fans back down to the club and start playing back at the ground.

“There’s plenty to look forward to and plenty of hard work and desire that will hopefully drive us forward.”

Holmes pledged Tigers will use this year’s let down as motivation for the new campaign. He insisted: “It has been a long time since this group has been in such difficult circumstances regarding results.

“It has been unusual for this group to be in a situation like that and one thing you do need to do in situations like this is learn from it.

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“Hopefully we can gain from that experience and take it forward to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Coach Daryl Powell welcomed Holmes extension. He said: “Oli has come through our system and you can see how much he loves the club.

“He works so hard and I think it is demonstrated in his massive defensive efforts. He will do anything you ask him to do, whether it’s his favoured position in the back-row, or you ask him to go in the middle and he’ll go in there, tough as teak and do what he needs to do.

“He carries the ball strong and is a really tough, resilient defender. I’m delighted he will be staying with Castleford and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with him.

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“He has been an awesome player since I’ve been here at the club and his leadership is growing all the time.”

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