They played for both: Castleford Tigers

LEEDS RHINOS V LONDON BRONCOS ANDY HAY. © VARLEY PICTURE AGENCY PIC BY CHARLIE KNIGHT

Ahead of the Saturday’s game against Castleford Tigers at the 2022 Magic Weekend, take a look back at four players who have worn both Rhinos and Tigers shirts in the Super League era.


Andy Hay

Forward Andy Hay signed for Castleford ahead of the 1990-91 season from Redhill ARLFC. He made eight substitute appearances over three years as he missed the whole of the 1991-92 season. He was back playing in 1993, making 15 starts and scoring seven tries to become a regular in John Joyner’s side. During his time at the club, he won the Yorkshire Cup and Regal Trophy before moving to Sheffield Eagles.

Soon, the forward was on Leeds’ roster and scored three tries in eighteen appearances in his first season. As part of Graham Murray’s mobile and powerful pack, Hay continued his success into 1998 and 1999, with the latter proving to be a season to remember. Having featured off the bench in 1998 Grand Final, Hay also came off the bench in the 1999 Challenge Cup Final win over London Broncos, as well as finishing the year with 32 appearances and eleven tries (the most scored by a Leeds forward that year).

The turn of the millennium saw Hay have another memorable campaign as he scored in the 2000 Challenge Cup final defeat to Bradford and was also selected for the England World Cup squad at the end of the campaign. He left the club in 2003 to join Widnes and later Doncaster in 2005.


Luke Gale

Castleford picked up half back Luke Gale from Bradford Bulls, who had been relegated in 2014, ahead of the 2015 season and the move proved to be a masterstroke for the club.

In his first season, the half back made a statement to the competition by topping the point scoring charts with 249 points in 29 matches. He also earned a spot in Super League’s dream team for the first time and repeated the feat the following year.

2017 was the stand out season in the half back’s career though. As part of a formidable spine with Ben Roberts and Zak Hardaker, Gale provided tries for Greg Eden and Greg Minikin, who both finished in the top five scorers in Super League that season, plus he was back as the League’s top points scorer once again. His work throughout the season was rewarded with a League Leaders’ Shield, but he couldn’t do the Super League double at Old Trafford as his former club Leeds claimed their seventh Grand Final title in October.

Injury hampered the half back’s final years with the Tigers, before he returned back to the Rhinos as the club’s major capture for the 2020 season. Having come through the club’s Academy pathway as a youngster, Gale formed a dangerous combination with Rob Lui as Leeds won four out of their first five games. Even with the break in the season due to the COVID pandemic, Gale helped orchestrate two drop goal wins over Huddersfield Giants, as well as kicking the crucial one-pointer that secured Leeds the Challenge Cup later that year. In his final year, he made 11 appearances before moving to Hull FC for 2022.


Jamie Thackray

A player who has represented clubs in all three tiers of UK Rugby League, Jamie Thackray had two-year spells at both Castleford and Leeds.

The former Hunslet and Halifax forward left the Blue Sox in October 2002 to take up the opportunity to join Graham Steadman at Castleford for the upcoming 2003 season. A steady campaign saw the club finish eighth – Thackray appearing mostly from the bench in his nine games – but the following year saw the Tigers relegated from Super League and Thackray departed for Hull FC.

After a year and a half in black and white, he was released to join Leeds where he notched up seven games for the Rhinos in 2006, notably scoring twice against Warrington in a 54-16 win at Headingley. In his first full season with the club a year later, Thackray was an impact player in blue and amber, making 24 substitute appearances. He continued his try scoring record too, crossing five times throughout the season, but missed out on selection for the Grand Final. He terminated his contract with the club at the start of 2008 and rejoined Hull shortly after.


Alex Foster

Forward Alex Foster joined Leeds’ Academy from Wetherby Bulldogs before making his first team debut for the club in 2013.

Named Under-18s Player of the Year in 2011 and a top performer throughout his time in the club’s pathway, Foster was given his chance by Brian McDermott in the Rhinos’ 52-36 win away at Widnes. Before the end of the season, he made seven more substitute appearances, scoring his sole try of the season against London Broncos, and capped his first professional season off by signing a three year contract.

Following loan spells at Featherstone and London, the forward left the club and was later added to Castleford’s squad by Daryl Powell in 2017 after completing a successful trial. He went on to play 19 times and lift the League Leaders’ Shield in the Tigers’ memorable campaign, as well as score Castleford’s sole try in the Grand Final defeat to the Leeds.

Adding 16 appearances to his Tigers career in 2018, the following year was a nightmare for the young forward. A knee injury ruled Foster out of 16 months but he made his return to action in the second half of the 2020 season, playing eight games between August and October. After 13 more appearances in 2021, he left the club to take up an opportunity with Championship side Newcastle Thunder.


Ticket and travel Information

Both tickets and travel are still available to buy now ahead of Saturday’s Magic Weekend clash with Castleford.

HOW TO BUY  

Full price tickets for both the day and weekend and coach travel can be purchased via the following methods: 

  • Online at tickets.therhinos.co.uk (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) 
  • Over the phone on 0371 423 1315 (Monday – Friday, Opening Hours: 10.30am-3.30pm) 
  • In person at the Club Shop at Headingley Stadium (Monday – Saturday, Opening Hours:  10am-4pm) 

Not got your limited edition Magic shirt either? Head of to our official online shop to kit yourself out.

For more information about the event, click here.