Castleford Tigers have confirmed the signing of former Leeds Rhinos and Great Britain prop Ryan Bailey on a deal until the end of the season.
The 31-year-old will link up with the first team squad immediately, and the club have an option of extending Bailey’s stay at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle for a further two years at the end of this campaign.
He brings with him a wealth of experience, having made over 300 appearances for Leeds over 12 years after making his debut aged 18 in 2002 when current Castleford coach Daryl Powell was in charge at Headingley.
He went on to win six Grand Finals, three World Club Challenges and a Challenge Cup with his hometown club, coupled with a number of Great Britain and England caps.
After being released from Leeds at the end of last year, Bailey - a robust, colourful character and often regarded as one of the sport’s pantomime villains - switched to Hull KR, but made just one appearance in a difficult spell before parting ways with the Robins just over three weeks ago.
“I’m really excited to be joining Castleford Tigers,” said Bailey, who will look to help further bolster the West Yorkshire club’s pack after they lost prop Craig Huby to Huddersfield Giants in the off-season.
“I’ve been really impressed with the set-up here and I’m confident I’ll fit in well at this family club.
“I really like the work Daryl is doing here and I’m looking forward to getting down to business and pushing for a place in the team.
“I want to put my reputation behind me now and start a fresh and I hope the fans here get behind me.
“Having played here at the Jungle the atmosphere is always immense and I can’t wait to pull on the shirt and get out there.”
Bailey’s signing comes at a crucial time for a Castleford side depleted with injuries, with seven first team regulars currently sidelined.
Powell said: “I am delighted to welcome Ryan to the club; he is a proven First Utility Super League player, who I am confident we will see the best of.
“Our pack has been very good this season, and Ryan will add to our options and provide consistency within our squad. He comes to us motivated and with a point to prove, and I look forward to working with him.”
Tigers chief executive Steve Gill said: “I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Ryan and his family to the Castleford Tigers family.
“Being at your hometown club for 12 years, as he was at the Rhinos, can mean the transition of moving to another club can take a little while.
“I am confident our fans will help make that transition a speedy one, as we all welcome him and his family to our home.”
Bailey could debut in Sunday’s game at Salford Red Devils.