Home / Sports / Castleford Tigers star Luke Gale: Late mum made me Man of Steel – EXCLUSIVE | Other | Sport

Castleford Tigers star Luke Gale: Late mum made me Man of Steel – EXCLUSIVE | Other | Sport

The Castleford scrum-half beat off competition from team-mate Zak Hardaker and Hull star Albert Kelly and is now targeting Grand Final glory in Saturday’s showdown against his hometown club Leeds.

A coachload of Gale’s family, including his three-year-old daughter Betsy, will head across the Pennines to Old Trafford to support the 29-year-old in the eagerly-anticipated title decider.

But his mother Gail, whose love and support set the England man on the road to stardom, will not be there. She passed away in June 2013 at the age of 46 after a fight with cancer.

Gale said: “My mum was the biggest single influence on my career and I wouldn’t be Man of Steel or in a Grand Final if it wasn’t for her.

“I owe my mum so much and everything I do on a rugby field is for her because she got me to where I am now and I couldn’t be any more grateful.

“My mum dedicated a lot of her life towards me playing rugby and would take me to training to Leeds two nights a week when I was there on scholarship.

“Whatever I did, she was always there for me and losing her was hard, but the support I had from the rugby league community was awesome.

“I was playing for Bradford at the time and all the boys were right behind me and came to the funeral.

“It’s sad that it takes something like that to make your family closer, but it definitely did.”

Indeed, the Gale clan will be there in force on Saturday as Castleford make their first Grand Final appearance.

Gale added: “I have a very strong relationship with my auntie and obviously my dad. They have got a bus coming over from Middleton in south Leeds and my daughter has already been practising her chants for the game.

“I wish my mum could have got to meet Betsy, but she never did because she just fell poorly when my partner got pregnant.

“Betsy is also a massive inspiration and a huge influence on me, so everything I do is for her.

“She’s my No1 fan and it’ll be amazing to have her there at Old Trafford this weekend.”

Gale was nurtured in the Leeds academy from the age of 12 before being released in his late teens without making a first-team appearance.

Ahead of him in the pecking order were Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire, the legendary duo who will make their final appearances for the Rhinos in this weekend’s title decider.

Gale reinvented himself at Doncaster and then made his Super League name at Harlequins under current Leeds boss Brian McDermott before returning north to Bradford and then Castleford.

In each of his three seasons with Daryl Powell’s men, he has earned a place in the Super League Dream Team and being voted Man of Steel by his peers confirms his status in the game.

Gale famously recovered from having his appendix removed to play a starring role in last week’s dramatic play-off semi-final against St Helens which saw him land the winning drop-goal in extra time.

Gale said: “With Rob, Danny and Kevin Sinfield in front of me at Leeds, I knew I had to find a future somewhere else.

“I did that and when I spoke to Powelly about joining Cas, I could see how driven he was and we’ve just got better and better.

“To go from lying on my hospital bed and being told my season was over to playing in a Grand Final is pretty special. Saturday will be the pinnacle of my career.”

Tigers boss Powell, meanwhile, last night won the Super League Coach of the Year award and Castleford were named Super League Club of the Year. Wigan centre Oliver Gildart won Young Player of the Year.

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