Former NSW and Test winger Joel Monaghan has revealed he knocked back an offer to return to the NRL in order to finish his career in Super League.
The 33-year-old former Sydney Roosters and Canberra star was left without a club last September, just a month before the end of the season, when Warrington decided to release him despite having 12 months left on his contract.
After fielding interest from an unnamed NRL club, Monaghan opted to join Castleford on a two-year deal.
“It was a weird time of the year when it came, obviously it was a bit of a surprise,” Monaghan said.
“There were a few options, including an opportunity to go back to Australia and play, but I want to finish my career over here.”
Monaghan, who played in the 2008 World Cup final, enjoyed a new lease of life in England after opting to leave Canberra under a cloud five years ago in the wake of a ‘Mad Monday’ prank that involved a simulated sex act with a dog that was photographed by a teammate.
With the Wolves he won the 2012 Challenge Cup at Wembley and played in the 2013 Grand Final, both times alongside older brother Michael, and averaged a try a match in his 145 appearances for the club.
He was made captain for 2015 but it coincided with a dip in form for the club as they failed to make the top four and Monaghan admits he took it personally.
“It was a tough year, my first as captain and the way it all turned out, it was not the year we wanted to have,” he said.
“I wasn’t happy with big parts of the season but I really enjoyed my time there and there are no hard feelings at all. It was time for a change.”
Monaghan, who is planning to move from his Warrington home to share a house in Headingley with Bradford captain and former Raiders teammate Adrian Purtell, will fill the gap on the Castleford wing caused by the departure to Salford of another ex-Raider Justin Carney and he is looking forward to helping the club end their 30-year wait for silverware.
“It’s definitely a decision I’m happy with,” he said. “Look at what Cas have done over the last few years and where they’ve come from. It’s been a transformation since I came to England five years ago.”