Back in 2007 Castleford Tigers beat Widnes Vikings at Headingley to gain promotion to the Super League from the former National League 1.
Within their side that year was an NRL giant in Awen Guttenbeil who had made the switch from the New Zealand Warriors to the Tigers’ to play in the Super League.
That wasn’t the case though as they were relegated to the National League but he decided to uphold his contract and help Cas secure a place in the top division of English rugby league.
Since that night in Leeds, the Tigers have struggled with financial difficulty and their place in the league was under threat until they shocked Super League by going within a win of the league leaders shield and the Challenge Cup.
Led by coach Daryl Powell they became one of the top sides and the ‘nearly men’ of 2014, however one thing is for sure they gave their fans one hell of a season.
On Saturday night a signing of similar significance was announced, not to the surprise of many though as it was already being talked about for weeks before it was revealed. This of course was Leigh Centurions’ confirmation of the signing of NRL Legend Fuifui Moimoi.
Leigh were outstanding last season, losing just one game to claim the Championship title and they won the Grand Final at Headingley, a place at which they had already pushed Super League giants Leeds Rhinos close in the Challenge Cup earlier in the year.
Their already impressive squad, which includes Ryan Brierley, Martyn Ridyard and Oliver Wilkes, could now be taken to the next level with the acquisition of Moimoi.
Last year’s performance against Leeds typified how far the Centurions have come since financial difficulties threatened the future of the club and in Paul Rowley they have a coach who can take them even further.
2015 won’t be as easy as last season with relegated pair London Broncos and Bradford Bulls looking stronger and ready to challenge Leigh for their title but if anyone deserves a shot at Super League it is the Centurions.
Last season’s Super League was one of the best for a long time, with the threat of relegation making games a lot more interesting and the race for the top eight being the tightest for years. Now throw in clubs from the division below battling it out for a place in the top division and we may see next season take it up a notch.
No disrespect to the other teams in the Championship as there are a lot of good teams at that level, including Featherstone, Halifax and Sheffield, however they will struggle to keep up with the financial power of the ‘big three’. That doesn’t mean that they will not be competitive as there are four places up for grabs in the ‘Super 8’s’ which makes for an exciting season in all divisions.
If the signing of Moimoi works out we could see Leigh Centurions in Super League in the near future and who knows, they could become the next Castleford Tigers.