New Castleford Tigers signing Joel Monaghan is excited at the prospect of playing in a team producing the kind of exciting, attacking rugby league seen at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle in recent years.
Prolific try scoring winger Monaghan, 33, was officially unveiled as a Tigers player this week after putting pen to paper on a two-year deal following his release from Warrington Wolves where he had five successful years.
The Australian brings with him an impressive record of 114 tries in 118 games since coming to England and is already looking forward to keeping the try number up.
He said: “When you get later in your career it’s about going to places where you enjoy and go and play your best rugby.
“The way Cas play is perfect for an outside back and that’s one of the main reasons I have come here.
“It definitely helped me in my decision that they are a good team to watch.
“I had a few options at the end of the year and I was sitting watching one of their games, it might have been the Leeds game, they played some real good rugby and I text my manager at the end of it, saying I’d be very happy to go there and play.
“I thought it was time for me to do something new and move on and I’m really excited to have officially signed for Cas for two years.
“I know a few of the players and just from watching them you can tell they are a real tight bunch and a well coached team.
“It’s something I’d really like to be part of. They’ve been competing for trophies and top fours in the last few years consistently. They’ve had a bit of a turnover of players and still been consistent so it says something about the tightness of the group and hopefully I’ll add something to the team.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge and I can’t wait.”
Monaghan believes he is joining a side capable of challenging for all the top honours.
He said: “Cas are a quality team right across the park, they’ve got some skills and some big experienced forwards.
“It’s a tough place to come and play here and I’m looking forward to being on the other side of the sheds.
“Hopefully I can fit right in, be part of the team, part of the town and get to know the history and get to know the boys.
“I think I can add a bit of experience. I’ve been around a while now and I had a bit of a leadership role in the last few years at Warrington, capped off by being named captain this year. I hope I can bring some of that experience here.
“It was a great five years at Warrington. To come and play here and play in Challenge Cup finals and Grand Finals was fantastic. Hopefully I can say the same things about my time at Cas. I think they are very close here.
“Cas have been as consistent as anyone in the last two years. The last few years you knew you were in for a tough game when you played Cas.”
While he is getting to the veteran stage of his career Monaghan has no plans of settling into retirement any time just yet and hopes to do well enough with the Tigers to win an extension to his initial two-year contract.
He said: “I’ll get up here on a two year deal and the beauty of not just Cas but Super League is that age is not that much of a factor here compared to back home.
“If you are playing well and feeling good then you have a chance of continuing your career. It’s something I’m thinking – that I’ve got a good few years in me left.
“I have to go out and do my bit first and worry about that later on.”
Monaghan will meet up at Cas with former team-mates from his days in Australia, Luke Dorn and Grant Millington, and also knows Ben Roberts while his 2015 Wolves team-mate Daryl Clark has given him the lowdown on Castleford the place and the club.
He added; “I’m really tight with Daryl Clark and he can’t speak more highly of the place.
“That’s about all I needed from him; he said it was a top place, I’d fit in really well and he knows what kinds of person I am. He loves the place.”
Monaghan revealed that signing for the Tigers has delighted his father back in Australia: “The first thing my dad said when I told him I’d signed at Cas was “Oh, I love that place.”
“He comes over every year and, being 65, keeps saying he loves watching games here and that’s from the other side of the fence so he’ll love it being on the Cas side.
“Him and my mum come every year. They fly in, fly home and book it for next year.
“I think they’ll be over in June. They’d not left Australia til (brother) Mick came over here and they’ve been over about 10 times now. They love it. They come over, watch the game then just travel and come back the following week to watch the next game.”
The signing of Monaghan has put further doubts over whether Justin Carney will ever play for Castleford again and although the club have said nothing speculation is increasing that a move away for him is being lined up with the Tigers now having two other quality wingers in Monaghan and Denny Solomona.