EIGHT YEARS after becoming a Grand Final winner, Castleford Tigers forward Chris Clarkson admits he is “playing for a contract” in this season’s Betfred Super League play-offs.
Clarkson was a member of Leeds Rhinos’ winning side at Old Trafford in 2011 and starred for Tigers when they beat Warrington Wolves in an elimination play-off last week.
His one-year contract - signed after a spell on trial in pre-season - expires after Castleford’s final game.
“Nothing is sorted yet, so I am playing for a contract,” Clarkson, who left Hull KR a year ago, said of his future.
“I am not too worried, to be honest - whatever happens, happens. If I keep playing my best rugby I am sure something will come up.”
Clarkson impressed in Tigers’ 14-12 victory at Warrington, shrugging off a huge hit by Ben Murdoch-Masila and going on to make a crucial try-saving tackle which halted Jake Mamo just short of the line inside the final two minutes.
I am confident we can go all the way and make the Grand Final. We have got that team ethic and commitment. To win it we’ve got to go over to Lancashire three more times and it’s exciting.Castleford Tigers’ Chris Clarkson
“It was fantastic, a great team performance,” he stressed. “We worked hard for each other and we had a great team ethic.
“Nobody stopped moving, everybody kept running and it paid off in the end.”
Tigers - who finished fifth in the table, one place behind Warrington - were without eight members of their senior squad due to injury or suspension and Clarkson felt “everybody stood up to be counted”.
He added: “I was really pleased for everybody, they deserved it. We have worked hard all year and it’s great to get over the first hurdle.”
Of his tackle on Mamo, which kept Tigers’ season alive, Clarkson recalled: “You’ve just got to get back there and keep your legs moving right to the end.
“It was a good 80-minute performance from everybody and in these big games you have to have an 80-minute performance and keep working right until the final whistle.”
Tigers will visit Salford Red Devils on Thursday for another elimination tie. Last week’s performance reminded Clarkson of they way Rhinos overcame the odds to win the title eight years ago.
He insisted: “I am confident we can go all the way and make the Grand Final. We have got that team ethic and commitment. To win it we’ve got to go over to Lancashire three more times and it’s exciting.
“This is what you want to do - play in the biggest games and play your best rugby.
“Leeds won it a couple of times from fifth so it can be done and I know what it takes to get there. We just need to do it.”