VETERAN Castleford Tigers centre Jake Webster is set to play on until almost his 37th birthday after agreeing a two-year deal with Bradford Bulls.
The ex-Kiwi international, who has spent the last six seasons at Wheldon Road, will join the promotion-chasing League 1 side next season.
Webster is still a regular in the Castleford side, scoring four tries in 21 appearances this term, having helped them to the League Leaders’ Shield last year and played in the Grand Final.
However, Tigers have other centre options ready for 2019 and so the 34-year-old will instead head to Odsal.
Webster admitted: “I have a very heavy heart leaving Castleford. The biggest memory from my time here will be the fans.
“They’ve been fantastic, and they follow us everywhere we go. That’s why I spend so much time after the game with them; ultimately, we’re out here playing for them.
On the field Jake is a tough and uncompromising competitor; off it an example to the younger generation of what is expected to succeed at the highest level.”Castleford director of rugby, Jon Wells
“I’d like to thank all the fans and all of the staff and coaches here at Castleford for their support over the years.”
On the former Hull KR and Melbourne Storm star, Tigers coach Daryl Powell said: “Jake has has been a pleasure to work with. I’d like to place on record the appreciation of all the coaching staff here of his contribution and wish him all the best in the next stage of his career. We now need to kick on and give him the best leaving present possible which is obviously a Grand Final ring.”
Castleford’s director of rugby Jon Wells added “The Castleford Tigers will say goodbye to Jake Webster at the end of the 2018 season – and he will leave us having made a significant contribution to this team and its progress over the last six seasons.
“On the field Jake is a tough and uncompromising competitor; off it an example to the younger generation of what is expected to succeed at the highest level.”
“This was an incredibly tough decision for all involved as he is one of our senior players – having played 120 times for the Tigers and who is approaching 300 career games – and we would like to place on record that Jake has conducted himself with nothing but professionalism and grace throughout.”
Bradford boss John Kear admitted: “We’re glad to bring a player the quality of Jake on board.
“He’s going to play a huge role in our squad next year, bringing a lot of experience to the back line.
“We have built our season ticket campaign around the character and values of our supporter base and reciprocating their loyalty.
“Signings and additions to our club of this quality are all a part of that and we’re happy and heading forward strongly as a club.”
Kear added: “I’m really pleased to secure this deal.
“I have always admired Jake; he is a player that is a huge threat to any defensive line and sets a good example as a professional and leader
“We know what is required and expected of players in the Bradford Bulls shirt and with the support of our fans we are able to build and add to a squad that I know will stand us in good stead for the campaigns ahead.”