Castleford Tigers: Matterson pleased with progress

Coach Terry Matterson has hailed his Castleford Tigers players for the way they have shaped up in pre-season training.

Matterson said his squad have been "excellent", despite having to deal with disruption caused by the freezing weather – which has put paid to Sunday's scheduled game against Bradford Bulls.

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"It has been difficult," Matterson said of the past month. "It has been the most difficult spell since I have been here, trying to source training venues and keep them motivated.

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"But they have been really good. All the guys we've brought in have been really professional and some of that has rubbed off.

"I have been really impressed with them."

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Matterson feels his up and coming players have benefited from training alongside the likes of ex-Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves full-back Richard Mathers.

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"We've got a new bunch of guys coming through and the professionalism of the guys we've brought in has really reiterated what's needed," he said.

Tigers officials had been hopeful the Boxing Day clash with Bradford Bulls would defy the big freeze, but with the Probiz Coliseum pitch "frozen solid" a decision to call it off was made yesterday afternoon.

Matterson had planned to field a squad made up largely of fringe first team players and academy prospects. It is a blow for the young guys, because they might not get another opportunity," he admitted.

The game can't be re-arranged for next week as several Tigers players are unavailable, due to previously-booked holidays.

Cas are now hoping to slot in an extra pre-season game on January 16 – though they will have to find new opponents as Bulls will be on a warm-weather training camp in Lanzarote that weekend.

Explaining the decision to call off Sunday's game three days in advance, Tigers chief executive Richard Wright said: "The pitch is frozen solid. With forecasts for Castleford indicating highs of 0 degrees C until Boxing Day, it was in everyone's interest for us to make a decision at this early stage."

Chris Wood

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