Castleford Tigers teenager Bailey Hodgson joins NRL club Newcastle Knights on three-year deal
The 18-year-old made his Tigers debut - and only Betfred Super League appearance - as a substitute against Hull KR last month.
Castleford have received an “undisclosed” transfer fee for the full-back/centre who is the nephew of England and Canberra Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson.
He will arrive in Australia on Saturday to enter two weeks of mandatory quarantine before linking with the Knights squad for the 2021 pre-season.
Castleford say the fee will be reinvested into their playing squad.
Tigers’ head of youth performance Darren Higgins said: “We would like to wish Bailey all the best in Australia.
“It is a challenge he always wanted to take on.
“Bailey’s progress is not only great recognition for his own work and dedication, but for our youth provision with many people involved in this process.
“In particular, Danny Evans [Tigers’ under-16s coach] has had a profound impact on Bailey’s development, which I know Bailey is really appreciative of.”
Hodgson came through Tigers’ scholarship and youth system and had a clause in his contract allowing him to make the move Down Under if a suitable offer was received.
He is the second British teenager to sign with the club, following Huddersfield Giants’ England academy centre Dominic Young, who put his name to a three-year contract in August.
Knights head of recruitment, Clint Zammit reckons Hodgson has the potential to become an established NRL player.
“Bailey is an exciting prospect,” he said.
“He is a natural athlete with great balance and footwork.
“For the past 13 months I have watched him continue to develop rapidly.
“His willingness to work hard and compete in every aspect has allowed him to play in the Super League, despite his age.
“While he is only young, he will be afforded all the time and resources required to allow him to grow into a player that we anticipate will have a long career at the Knights.”