Finn at ease with Super League step-up
Liam Finn is hoping his effortless transition to the First Utility Super League will encourage more clubs to dip into the Championship for reinforcements.
At 31, the former Halifax RLFC and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats half-back thought his top-flight days were a thing of the past until his old Featherstone Rovers coach Daryl Powell offered him the chance to follow him to Castleford Tigers for 2014.
Powell was well aware of the player's ability and was soon left in no doubt about his ambition and desire to try his luck in Super League once more.
Powell recalled: "When I spoke to him about potentially signing for us, he said 'I didn't dream about being an electrician when I was five or six year old'."
Finn actually took a drop in wages in sacrificing his job as an electrician to go full-time with the Tigers but he has been delighted with his season so far.
"It certainly beats the old lifestyle of eight hours on site and straight to training on a night time," Finn said.
"It's nice to be at home with my kids, helping my wife get them to bed on a night time."
Finn, who signed a 12-month contract, is making out a strong case for a new deal after playing a key role in Castleford's blazing start to the season and is believes there are plenty of other players well capable of making the step up from the part-time Championship.
Warrington Wolves reaped huge rewards after taking a gamble of former Leigh Centurions prop Chris Hill while St Helens are expecting big things from of ex-Batley Bulldogs forward Alex Walmsley, and Salford Red Devils boss Brian Noble has been delighted with the contributions so far of Batley threequarters Greg Johnson and Jason Walton.
Finn, who captained Ireland in the 2013 World Cup, is happy to become the latest trail-blazer and believes the introduction of a new league structure in 2015, in which the top four Championship clubs face the bottom four Super League teams in a series of play-off matches, can provide a new window of opportunity for the game's leading part-time players.
"I hope it opens the door for a few more Championship players," he said.
"This new set up will enable a bit more free flowing movement between Super League and the Championship.
"In that mid-tier they will have a chance to prove themselves three or four times in a season against a Super League team, rather than maybe once in the Cup and people putting it down to a lucky performance.
"There's certainly 10 or 12 people that are ready to step up now and probably more when you put full-time training into individuals.
"I think people get carried away a little bit with Super League. It's just a game of rugby league at the end of the day which we've all been playing since we were young boys.
"It's not a different game. They are still playing at a very good level in the Championship and the step up is more than do-able for quite a few."