Castleford Tigers have confirmed that first team players Ashley Gibson and Michael Channing and under 19s star Brandon Moore will be leaving the club at the end of the season.
Gibson and Channing are in the squad to play against Wigan Warriors tomorrow night in what would be their last game for the Tigers.
Gibson agreed a two-year deal with the Tigers in 2013 after joining from Salford Red Devils. The former Leeds Youngster really broke through at Salford becoming a regular in the team before moving to the Jungle. He had previously worked with coach Daryl Powell at the Rhinos so he knew what to expect upon joining him at Castleford.
This season, Gibson has grabbed nine tries including a brilliant hat-trick at Magic Weekend against Wakefield Wildcats and in his two years with the Tigers he has scored 11 tries in 28 appearances.
Speaking on Gibson’s departure Tigers head coach Daryl Powell said: “Ash Gibson has been a consummate professional for the past two seasons, his ability to play in the centre and on the wing means he has done a great job for us as a utility back.
“I’d like to wish him all the best in his future career and thank him for his service as we have grown as a club over the last two years.”
Gibson said: “I just want to thank everyone at the club and the Tigers fans. I’ve really enjoyed my time here especially this year when I’ve played regularly.
“I would like to wish the club all the best for the future and I’m sure they will be up there in the top four competing for major trophies soon. Thanks again.”
Michael Channing initially joined the club on a loan deal at the back end of the 2013 season. He impressed enough that Daryl Powell brought him in on a permanent basis for 2014.
He has found himself behind Michael Shenton and Jake Webster, however, in the battle for a regular centre position. Despite that, he managed to make 27 appearances in the Super League for the Tigers in his time with the club.
Head coach Powell said: “Michael Channing has been a pleasure to have at the club.
“His infectious personality is great and his ability has grown across his two years at the club.
“I would like to wish him all the best in his future career and thank ‘Channers’ for being a part of the clubs development over the last two years.”
Channing will miss life as a Tiger.
He said: “I’ve absolutely loved my time at Castleford over the last two-and-a-half years I’ve been here.
“Unfortunately in life not everything works out the way you want it to but I hold no grudges and am just honoured to have represented such a humble and welcoming town,”
“One day I wish to return to the Jungle and pull on the Cas jersey again but for now I look forward to my future challenges.
“I want to thank everybody at Castleford from the coaching staff to the fans who are there for us week in week out. As a southerner coming up north I have definitely found a second home where I know I’ll always be welcome. Thank you again everybody and see you soon! #Tigerssssss.”
Brandon Moore linked up with Castleford from the Cumbrian RFL Regional Academy in the spring of 2014. He impressed immediately and it was not long before he earned a first team deal for the 2015 season.
He represented England Academy in 2013 and followed in the footsteps of fellow Cumbrian, Will Maher in joining the Tigers.
Just last week Brandon scooped the under 19s Player of the Year award at the club’s annual presentation night.
Tigers coach Powell has praised Moore’s work ethic:
“Brandon Moore has played for one season for the club at under 19s level but has been training with us as a full-time player.
“His toughness, discipline and focus is second to none and I’m sure he will do a great job in the Championship next season for whichever club he chooses. It’s been great to have him at Castleford and we wish him good luck for his future.”
Moore has really enjoyed his time at Castleford and is looking forward to the next chapter in his career:
“Winning the U19s Player of the Year award makes me realise how far I have come as a player this year and I would like to thank Daryl, Danny, Shez, and all the coaching staff at Cas for all their time and giving me the opportunity to play at this great club.
“Moving on to next year I’ll take a whole load more experience with me and I’d like to thank everyone at the club for a great two years. I’m leaving a better player than when I came and for that I am so grateful.”
Tigers chief executive Steve Gill has praised the three players for their professionalism.
He said: “All three players have been a credit to our club and applied themselves both on and off the field at the highest level.
“On behalf of everyone here at Castleford Tigers I would like to wish them all the best in the future.”
Further contract negations are ongoing and the club have not closed the 2016 recruitment door at this stage.