Finn eager to grab final chance
Liam Finn is hoping it will be third time lucky as he prepares for an unexpected return to Super League.
Ireland's World Cup captain thought his top-flight days were over when he turned 30 during the autumn but he did not hesitate when he got the call from his old Featherstone boss Daryl Powell to follow him to Castleford.
Finn is older and wiser as he gets ready for the big time once more, even if his decision to quit his day job as an electrician effectively means taking a pay cut.
"It's very exciting," he told Press Association Sport. "I certainly didn't expect it. It really has given me a spring in my step. Hopefully I can do the opportunity justice.
"When I got the offer my reaction was 'when do I start?'.
"The only thought I had to put into it was 'can I afford to look after my family?' If it was realistic, then I was doing it."
Finn left with the best wishes of his old employers as he took the huge gamble over his future.
He said: "I handed my notice in and they said 'all right, fantastic, good luck. Give us a ring when you've finished your rugby career and we'll see what we can do'.
"It was nice to be told that but it's still a bit of a risk because I've walked away from a steady number there. It was a bit of an empty promise because, at the end of the day, if they've got no work on, there won't be a job."
Finn has been given only a 12-month contract and, with relegation returning to Super League this year, the stakes are high but the goalkicking half-back is prepared to back himself.
"I completely understand where the club are coming from with the 12-month deal," he said. "It's probably best for both parties.
"Hopefully I can make an impression when I get an opportunity and prove to the coaching staff that I'm up to it and repay their faith.
"I never gave up hope but I never really thought it would happen. You don't see experienced Championship players getting an opportunity in Super League very often.
"Clubs from the top end of Super League have a bit of a cushion to take on the young ones but for the rest it is a genuine risk to put Championship players out there. It's a sort of sink-or-swim type situation."
Finn was just 18 when he made his Super League debut for his home-town team Halifax, who were the rubbing rags at the time and were relegated after winning just one of their 28 matches, and he quickly found himself playing part-time rugby in the second tier with Featherstone.
"I probably didn't grasp my opportunity," he said. "Maybe I didn't always do the right thing as a young player, I was probably a little bit quick to go out on loan and drop down to the Championship.
"There were a lot of young players at Halifax playing Super League through necessity. It probably made us think we were Super League players when we weren't.
"In an ideal world we wouldn't have been in that situation so early but the club were in dire straits and there was nowhere else they could turn. We were lambs to the slaughter."
Finn, who had a brief stint in Super League with Wakefield in 2004, was the last of Castleford's nine new signings to join the club and he is one of five players battling for the two half-back spots but he is up for the challenge.
"There's certainly a lot of competition for half-back places and that's going to be a benefit from a training and game perspective," he said.
"At some point there are going to be a few noses put out of joint and it's how those players react to that. Whether it's me or someone else, if you react in the right way, then you're going to get another positive effect from that."