O’Neill signs contract extension

Posted: Sunday 6th September 2020 - 6:00 PM

The 21-year-old has been a part of the club since he was 16 after joining the Tigers Scholarship and Academy programmes before graduating by stepping into the First Team. 2019 was a breakthrough season for O’Neill making his Super League debut and 12 top-flight appearances. Jacques has continued to progress by featuring in a further five matches in the truncated 2020 campaign so far.

Speaking to castlefordtigers.com Jacques O’Neill shared his joy at extending his time with the club saying: “I’m really happy to sign a contract extension, I wasn’t really looking anywhere else and I’m getting more and more game time too, I’ve been here since I was 16 and I’m delighted to have another year with Castleford. Hopefully, I will impress a lot and things go well, for both the club and me, that the next contract extension would be a long one.”

Proudly sponsored by Russell Group in 2020, the former Askham Juniors player and his family have made the town of Castleford their home over the past few years.

“Since I came down from Cumbria as a 16-year-old the club has really looked after me. My mum moved down too when I was 17 and we both feel so at home, we both class Cas as home now and enjoy living here.”

Gaining more senior experience has been useful for Jacques who feels the best performances in his career so far have happened in 2020, but not one to settle behind the players who start currently in front of him – he wants to become a regular in Daryl Powell’s line up.

“Over the past year or so I think is where I have improved the most, both on and off the pitch, in training and I’m getting more of a look-in and I think that just comes with confidence. When I find out I’m close to playing regularly, it’s given me that drive to grow and be better.

“I’ve played a couple of games this year, they might have been the best I’ve performed in the First Team so far and I’ve got that drive to want to get better and better, I want that. There are players who may be in front of me, but I want to be better than them but I’m still learning from these great players such as Paul McShane and Adam Milner. I’m behind them at the minute but I’m aiming to be in front.”

Head Coach Daryl Powell spoke about O’Neill’s extension saying: “Jacques is a go-getter, he’s tough as they come and he can play a couple of positions and I’ve been working hard with him to try and get him to play in the middle at #13 and he has taken to that really well, and as a hooker he is good as a backup to Paul McShane.

“He’s a developing player with a lot of work to do and he needs to make sure he continues to strive hard to achieve his potential. Attitude wise he is spot on, he gets after things, he needs to stay focused and I’m sure he will, and he will end up being an outstanding rugby league player.”

Director of Rugby at Castleford Tigers Jon Wells also commented on the news: “We are delighted that Jacques has agreed a new deal for the 2021 season. At 21, the vast majority of his career is ahead of him and he has really worked hard on the demands that professional sport place on an athlete, particularly off the pitch.”

“He is fast developing into a genuine matchday starting player, adding some variety to his style of play and our hope is that he continues in the same vein in balancing that enthusiasm and ability that we all see to add to the 17 appearances he already has as a Castleford Tiger in the remainder of the 2020 season and into next year.”

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