This time last year, Alex Foster was without a club and three months' pay, now, he is an established Super League player.

Alex Foster had a promising start to his career; coming through the Leeds Rhinos academy, he made his Super League debut in 2013 and signed a three-year contract at the end of that year. Yet, in 2014 and 2015, Foster - a back-rower or centre - went on loan to London Broncos and Featherstone Rovers respectively. Then, in 2016, the Gloucester-born utility player moved to London permanently, on a two-year deal.

Ahead of the 2017 season, Foster was set on relocating north once more as the Bradford Bulls came calling, only to become a free agent once the Bulls went into liquidation in January 2017.

With a lack of attention from other clubs because of his injuries, Foster considered retiring to pursue other career avenues. Castleford Tigers, however, offered Foster hope.

Trialist to contracted player to Grand Final scorer

The Tigers brought Foster in on an initial trial basis in February 2017 with the view of signing a two-year contract - a contract which was signed in June after he did enough to impress head coach Daryl Powell despite his injury problems. This move would prove to be one of Powell's most inspired in 2017.

Foster debuted for Castleford in May 2017 at Huddersfield and since that moment became a regular figure in the first team, appearing 19 times and scoring twice. Ironically, his first try of the season came against his first club, Leeds, in September.

When a high kick bounced into his arms, Foster shrugged off three defenders and stretched valiantly for the line. Foster's story truly hit the realms of fantasy when he became the first and only Castleford player to score in a Super League Grand Final. In the space of just ten months, Foster had gone from a Championship cast-off into a formidable Super League player.

An example to others

Alex Foster is a truly great example of why Rugby League players should never give up; he has established himself as a consistent, hard-working player at the top of the game. A player can be as talented as he likes, but it takes the attitude and determination like that which Foster has to make it in this sport.

He is the type of person - on and off the field - that every Super League team needs; he does the nitty-gritty, the not so glamorous work that those in the stands rarely acknowledge, yet he also brings that much-needed enthusiasm and honesty that drives the culture of the club as a whole.

Whenever Foster takes to the field for the Tigers, the Castleford faithful are guaranteed a 100% effort performance. The fact that Foster was able to switch between prop and centre in the Tigers' recent victory over Hull FC speaks volumes about the type of person he is. Regardless of where Foster is asked to play, he will go ahead and play there, and, do so impressively.

An Alex Foster is the sort of player that coaches build their team around.

Remarkable then that Foster was just a few weeks away from quitting the game last year. But, Foster's decision to carry on and Powell's decision to hand him a trial at the Tigers has paid dividends for both parties.