Love Island’s Jacques O’Neill could chase money as Castleford Tigers boss speaks out

Castleford could offer Jacques O’Neill a new contract after his dramatic exit from Love Island as the club confirmed he had been in communication with them and visited the First Team.

O’Neill had been released from his contract with the Super League side last month so he could go on the show and has also reportedly signed with FOMO Models. However, Tigers boss Lee Radford suspects the new reality show star will decide to chase the money instead. He said: “I think he will want to make a couple of million first and then dip his toe back into rugby league.”

The 23-year-old hooker joined up with his former Cas team-mates yesterday, just hours after his tearful exit from the ITV2 Love Island villa. Radford added: “He was in chatting to the boys who were all pleased to see him. He looked jaded and as if he’d had no sleep.”

Castleford released O’Neill from his contract last month but have first option if he decides to return to rugby league. Radford continued: “It isn’t something we have spoken about. That’s a conversation for down the line.”

The club also released a statement on Wednesday evening to confirm O’Neill had been in communication with them and that he was able to receive support from the Tigers’ Welfare Officer should he want to.

They said: “Castleford Tigers can confirm that today, Wednesday 13th July 2022, Jacques O’Neill has been in communication with the club, visited our First Team ahead of today’s training session and that O’Neill can receive support from our Welfare Officer should he wish.

“In advance of appearing on the reality TV show Love Island, the Tigers’ Welfare Officer had communication with O’Neill, and this support will continue to be offered to him. Alongside the welcoming nature of our First Team environment, of which he has been a part since the age of 16.

“Castleford Tigers’ primary focus with Jacques at this stage will be to support him. All at the club look forward to welcoming Jacques and his mother Janet to The Mend-A-Hose Jungle for a Betfred Super League match very soon, to cheer on the Fords. The Club will make no further comment at this stage.”

Elsewhere, Castleford have Nathan Massey and Paul McShane back from suspension for Saturday’s home clash with Warrington but forward Liam Watts starts a two-game ban for a high tackle, which takes their number of suspensions this season into double figures.

Jacques O'Neill left Castleford Tigers to join Love Island

Jacques O’Neill left Castleford Tigers to join Love Island
Allan McKenzie/

Other clubs have also suffered a raft of suspensions this year as RFL bosses clamp down on foul play. But Radford believes the current system is bad for the game, saying: “There has to be a bit of common sense. There is not enough depth in the competition to have these high numbers of suspensions.

“I think the players should be fined instead. Rugby league players are greedy people so fines would keep the quality of the competition higher. It would keep players on their toes because nobody wants to be hit in the pocket.”

Saturday’s game sees the first return of Warrington boss Daryl Powell to the club he steered to the 2017 Grand Final. Radford added: “The fixture is about Daryl coming back but our focus is very much on us. If we get our performance right we will get the two points.”

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, will take over from Clare Balding as president of the RFL next year.

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