With veteran Jeff Grayshon established at number eight in the mould of an old-fashioned, ball-handling prop forward, the team also needed some real power and go-forward and looked to Leo Casey to provide this. In reality, Casey turned out to be less of an impact player, but more of a grafter with his own handling skills who, despite not really living up to his big transfer fee, nevertheless made a solid contribution to the team over five seasons.
Leo’s career began at his hometown club Oldham in 1985 and after five seasons and 71 games was just coming into his prime as a prop forward when Rovers decided to take a gamble on a potential future international. In his first year at Featherstone he took his time to settle down with the weight of expectation on his shoulders. He started to make his mark with hard work and intelligence in a successful front-row combination alongside Grayshon and kiwi hooker Trevor Clark. His quiet, unassuming style won him less headlines than one of that summer’s other purchases, firebrand Brendon Tuuta, but that probably suited Leo fine. The following season was spoiled for Casey by a broken thumb which interrupted his progress, and following the departure of Peter Fox who had signed him, the year ended with Rovers surprisingly relegated. However Leo played his part in Rovers’ Championship winning side of 1993 under Steve Martin. That year our front row was Leo, Australian prop Wayne Taekata, and hooker Mark Wilson. Back in the top flight in 1993 Casey had his best year yet in a new look front row alongside Steve Molloy and Richard Gunn. He then won his first international caps for Ireland in the 1995 Emerging Nations World Cup, and played five times in all for his adopted country.
After almost getting to Wembley with Rovers in 1995, Casey initially stayed with the club in the wake of the super league fallout. He started the short centenary season with Rovers, but after receiving an offer to go back to Lancashire he left to join Swinton. In total Leo played 147 games for Featherstone and scored nine tries. After Swinton, he later joined Rochdale before finally going back home to Oldham in 1999 where he finished his career three years later. His son Callum Casey currently plays for Halifax.