The Offload chats to... Luke Gale
October 06, 2017
On Tuesday 12th October, Luke Gale underwent an emergency appendix operation. Exactly 3 weeks later he was picking up the Man of Steel award after kicking the Castleford Tigers to their first Grand Final. It’s no wonder the Cas fans are calling him a ‘real-life Superman’.
With just 24 hours to go until the big match at Old Trafford, we caught up with the man himself to talk about ‘that kick’, his achievements this season and the upcoming Rugby League World Cup in Australia.
How did it feel to receive the Man of Steel award earlier this week?
Yea, look it’s a great honour and something that I’m immensely proud of. It’s amazing to even get shortlisted, but to actually win the award is something I am very proud of.
Castleford will play in the first Grand Final for the first time in their history on Saturday. What is the feeling like in the squad ahead of the big weekend?
Yea, mate we’re all pretty relaxed to be honest. Obviously, it’s a different week being a Grand Final week but everyone turned up to training on Monday morning bright eyed and bushy tailed. It’s a bit of a different feeling – it’s a feeling of excitement, the whole town is excited and you can kind of sense that around the place.
You kicked the winning drop goal in golden-point extra time to get the Tigers to the final. What was going through your head in the build-up to that historic kick?
Well the drop-goal…look, I knew anywhere within forty metres, I’d fancy a shot at it. I actually kicked the first one alright which kind of gave us more confidence if I’m honest and I knew if I got in that position again I would re-set my sights and go again. As soon as you kick the drop-goal you kind of know when it’s going over and lucky for me it went over. There was a great sense of joy when it did and I just set off running down the pitch!
“By the week and a half point I kind of knew that I would be playing…”
Some people are referring to you as a ‘real-life Superman’ after playing as well as you did after having your appendix removed just 16 days prior to the semi-final. Was the plan always to play in that game?
After I got it removed, the surgeon came and saw me after and said, “look best case scenario, if everything went well, then give it three weeks”. I did a bit of simple maths and it was two weeks and two days but I knew that if I got myself right and got myself fit and worked hard then the semi-final would be a possibility. In training, we just changed the rehab and ramped it up but tried not to do too much too soon. By the week and a half point, I kind of knew that I would be playing and I knew that everything would be OK. Luckily for me it all paid off!
You’re on the cover of the new Rugby League Live 4 game. Was that a surprise or were you informed before the game was released?
Yea, it was pretty surreal to be honest! I remember the launch of the game, I went down to Game in Castleford and we played Rugby League Live against some Cas fans and kids, it was very surreal. To have Castleford on the front of the game and to have me in a Castleford shirt is a great honour.
“…it just shows the journey that the club has been on and it’s one I’m very proud of.”
You made the Super League Dream Team for the third consecutive year. Would you say that this one was extra special because you got to share the achievement with 5 of your teammates?
Yea, massively! It shows the progression that the Castleford team have made over the last couple of years. To just missing out on the playoffs the last couple of years to winning the league and being in the Grand Final with, like you say, 6 Castleford lads in the Dream Team just shows the journey that the club has been on and it’s one I’m very proud of.
You’ve recently met Prince Harry. Is he a big Rugby League fan?
He is yea, and he’s a very good bloke as well. I was talking to him with George Williams who plays for Wigan and England and we had a bit of a joke and a bit of a laugh. We just had a simple chat about Australia and the World Cup. He is a very down to earth guy with quite a good sense of humour.
You mentioned the World Cup which is coming up once the Grand Final is done and dusted. Are you looking forward to going to Australia?
Yes, it’s something I’m really looking forward to. To be honest, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t really had a chance to give Australia a thought yet. If selected, we fly out a week today which sounds quite mad now that I’ve said that. Look, we’ve got a big task on Saturday and possibly an even bigger one at the World Cup the following month so it’s a big couple of weeks ahead but I’m looking forward to.
You’re in the PUMA One Chrome at the moment. What are your thoughts on the boot.
I love em, they stand out! I wore them for the Dream Team kit launch and had about 5 reporters asking about them. They look like something out of an 80’s sci-fi film but I love them. I like to wear bright boots and I like them to stand out so the PUMA One Chrome are perfect for me.