Castleford Tigers sign ex-Sunderland keeper Kieran Hudson

Castleford Tigers have signed Whitehaven prop Kieran Hudson - a former Sunderland goalkeeper who is also the grandson of Leeds legend John Holmes.

By Dave Craven
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 6:00 pm
New Castleford Tigers signing Kieran Hudson
New Castleford Tigers signing Kieran Hudson

Head coach Lee Radford has moved to secure the young forward on a two-year deal, although he will immediately rejoin Whitehaven to play in the Betfred Championship on a season-long loan in 2022.

The rise to Super League of Hudson, who only joined the Cumbrian club from Newcastle Thunder in October, is certainly an unusual one.

“It is a bit surreal to be fair," he said.

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“I'm excited to get started. I played for Sunderland academy (as a keeper) from when I was nine until about 16, so I didn't join rugby league until quite late.

"I should be good with my hands! Being around that sort of environment - the professional environment - I think will help me quite a lot.

“I got involved in rugby league at school - people coming and teaching us - and I have a bit of history in my family; my grandad (John Holmes) played for Leeds.”

Holmes, who died in 2009, is arguably Leeds' greatest-ever player having made more than 600 times for his hometown club between 1968 and 1990 while also being part of Great Britain's 1972 World Cup-winning squad.

Hudson, 21, added: "Lee (Radford) wants me to be around the lads and learn from the more experienced players and hopefully take some of their skills on board for me.

"I am fairly new to the sport, but I’ve got some transferable skills.

“I want to get some more game time under my belt, get that ball in my hands, and when I’m down in Cas just be around people and get some experience before taking some of that knowledge back up north.”

Radford said: “He has got some physical attributes that no coach can implement in someone.

"He is six foot five, he’s very aggressive in contact, and carries the ball as hard as he can.

"That acceleration into contact is exciting, and putting him in a full-time rugby environment for the first time will only benefit him.

“Whilst his background is not conventional, Newcastle is an area where rugby league is trying to promote and grow the game; he’s come through that system and gone over to Whitehaven this season.

“With the games I have watched of him, and having met him, he seems a really nice kid and is willing to learn.

"With the middles we have at the club such as (Joe) Westerman and (Liam) Watts, hopefully, we can upskill him in his rugby IQ as well.”