Tigers star Walker signs extended contract

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CASTLEFORD Tigers have been given a boost ahead of tonight’s home Super League clash with Hull Kingston Rovers with news that highly-rated prop Jonathan Walker has signed a new two-year contract extension which will keep him at the club until the end of 2014.

The 21-year-old (pictured) broke into the first team from the club’s academy in 2010, quickly establishing himself as a regular in the side. He quickly earned international recognition with a call up to the England Knights squad a year ago before a knee injury ended his 2011 season prematurely.

With injury troubles firmly behind him, Walker is the latest of the club’s homegrown talents to commit his long-term future to the club, following his former Academy team mates Jordan Thompson, Nathan Massey, Oliver Holmes, Richard Owen, Adam Milner and Daryl Clark in doing so despite huge interest from rival Stobart Super League clubs.

Tigers head coach Ian Millward said: “I am really excited that Johnny, a talented, English front rower with size and presence, has agreed to stay and be a part of the Castleford Tigers moving forward.

“He was keenly pursued by numerous other clubs and I’m glad to have got him. It is hard to find English front rowers with good size and the kind of presence that Johnny has. He has all the attributes to become a top quality Super League player and a future international. Johnny will get the opportunity to be both with the Castleford Tigers and it’s a real vote of confidence that he wanted to stay.

“He worked really hard with us to get back to full fitness from his injury and he continues to work hard as he gets back up to speed with more and more game time. It will all show in his form in the coming months; the signs are good.”

Walker said: “It’s great to have signed as I believe Cas is a good club that is going places and also I believe it is where I can improve most as a player by working with Ian Millward and Stu Donlan.

“This week I feel that I have got all my confidence back from the injury, and the new deal gives me extra confidence. I want to show what I can do and am capable of doing. I feel I’m heading towards my best form, hopefully this will keep me in the starting line up and help the team to be successful.”