Welcome to the Fords Feki

Posted: Friday 15th May 2020 - 5:00 PM

Back last summer, in a week bursting with singing news, Castleford Tigers confirmed within the space of five days the contract extensions of Head Coach Daryl Powell & forward Liam Watts. Added into this week was the captures of Salford Red Devils players Derrell Olpherts & George Griffin, plus the big star signing of the Cronulla Sharks winger Sosaia Feki for the 2020 season.

Avid fans of the NRL already knew what the acquisition of Feki would be adding to the Tigers backline; pace and power, with a man who scored 67 tries in 148 appearances at the Australian club in seven years.

But it was time for a new challenge for Sosaia and it has seen him travel from one side of the world to the other and join Castleford Tigers. One of the clichés for a player coming from the NRL is that they might struggle to adjust to the weather but Feki was already very well prepared and raring to get started with his new challenge.

“I grew up in New Zealand so it’s pretty similar but not as cold I think I’ll manage but everyone has been saying just pack warm clothes, so I’ve done that.”

“I’m pretty excited, I was nervous at the start but I’m here and I’m looking forward to it. It’s a new challenge I’d been at Cronulla for seven years and Castleford gave me an offer and I’ve taken it with both hands and it’s a new challenge that I’m looking forward to.

“I just started watching Super League when I signed here and I wanted to start looking at the teams and I’m looking forward to the challenge of it all, it should be great.”

Sosaia joins the Tigers on a three-year deal and is another big signing coming from the NRL to join the talent in Super League but more importantly for Fords fans he knows what it’s like to lift a title. In 2016 the Sharks won the NRL Premiership by beating the Melbourne Storm 12-14, a huge moment in the Sutherland Shire side’s history.

“I enjoyed my time at Cronulla I got a Grand Final victory with them, it was the first time for the club that they did that. My time with them was really good and I’d really like to thank everyone there. I’ve moved on obviously now to Castleford and I’m looking forward to playing as a Tiger.”

“What I did at Cronulla I’m going to try and do here and that’s do my best and hopefully score a few tries and finish off the moves when the opportunity is there. “

Castleford Tigers fans who follow the club’s Instagram account will have seen that Sosaia on his first day was paired up with Jesse Sene-Lefao for his first gym session and then at his opening field session Jesse was taking his time to speak about the way the Tigers did training drills and skills. Jesse started the welcoming committee for Feki ahead of him landing in the UK when they spoke about the Castleford Tigers fans.

“The fans here, I’ve heard that they’re crazy, in a good way! I’ve been told that they’re loud and loyal and how awesome this place (The Jungle) can be on game days and Jesse has told me a few stories about the fans. Jesse is a fan favourite here and he’s told me nothing but good stuff about the supporters and I’m hoping that the fans will like me just as much in the future too.”

Ahead of beginning his first day of pre-season training Sosaia was already getting involved with club engagements which included visiting the club’s main sponsors CBR Engineering & Mend-A-Hose, before meeting his player sponsor for 2020 Trinity House Orthodontics.

Then he was presented in front of the press to speak about joining the Fords, all of that whilst trying to finalize his new home over in the UK, so it would be fair to say he hit the ground running. Just before the press conference, he met his new coach Daryl Powell for the first time in person and he explains what he knew about Powelly before signing with Cas.

“What I’d heard about Daryl was that he’s a good coach and I was speaking to Jon Wells who discussed him and said that he’s one of the best coaches around the game so, getting the opportunity to work with him means I’m really looking forward to being coached over here.”

Having players that he already knew at the club helped him settle in but he is keen to keep bonding with his new team as a whole.

“Definitely. I know a few of the boys here like I already said about Jesse, I know Pete Mata’utia and I also know Junior Moors who I played with back in Cronulla when he was coming down from Melbourne and I can’t wait to get to know more of the lads and get playing with them all.”

Castleford fans got their first glimpse of Sosaia Feki in Castleford action on Boxing Day at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle as the Tigers hosted the Bradford Bulls in a festive friendly. Linking up with Danny Richardson Sosaia scored his first four-pointer in front of the Wheldon Road, a sign of things to come.

Unfortunately, Sosaia was injured in that game and it meant his Super League debut was delayed until March before agonizingly the injury reoccurred again pushing his maiden Tigers’ league appearance back further, this left the Cas #5 ‘devasted’ according to Head Coach Daryl Powell.

However, a small positive to take from the season suspension can be that injured players can continue to recover whilst missing fewer games. It is an exciting competition for the wingers within the squad as both Derrell Olpherts & James Clare started the campaign strongly, plus with Sosaia Feki and Greg Eden returning to fitness, four wingers are wanting to compete for a starting spot.

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