Castleford Tigers v Hull FC: Victory is top of the agenda for Lee Radford

FACING HIS former club for the first time tomorrow means very little to Castleford Tigers coach Lee Radford.

By Peter Smith
Saturday, 5th March 2022, 5:58 am

Radford coached Hull from 2014-2020, leading them to successive Challenge Cup final wins at Wembley midway through his reign.

He was sacked two years ago this month, but returned to coaching with Tigers when pre-season began in November.

Three successive defeats at the start of the campaign have made tomorrow’s game a huge one for Tigers, but Radford insisted he has more important things to focus on than his history with the opposition.

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Castleford Tigers head coach Lee Radford. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“Whoever we were facing this week was probably low on the agenda,” Radford said.

“We desperately need a win for between our ears – it’s like walking around a morgue at the moment, this joint.

“There’s definitely some things we can do in our performance that’s going to get a result.

“I would love to get them both, a really good performance and a win – that’s the perfect scenario for me.”

Castleford Tigers' George Lawler is back from suspension and available to play against Hull FC tomorrow. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Radford saw signs in last week’s loss at Hull KR of the way he wants Tigers to play and has called for more of that tomorrow.

He added: “We had some joy in the middle in the first half last week and watching the game back, I think we sat in there for too long doing that.

“You can march a team up the field, but if you don’t come away with points, you’re not reaching your objectives.

“We need to bring our centres and back-rowers into the game more often and to do that, your spine needs to be getting more involvements and touches with the ball.

Castleford Tigers' Bureta Faraimo is sin binned against Hull KR. He will miss the Hull FC game. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

“That point can’t be made any clearer so I really hope we start to see an improvement in that. We are working hard on it and hopefully we will see some rewards.”

Hull have won two of their opening three games and are on the back of a 48-16 thrashing of Salford Red Devils a week ago, but Radford stressed: “We are concentrating on what we need to get right this week, rather than what the opposition are going to throw at us.

“I think they are using the same playbook I left them with – so we’ll pick our ears up and listen to a few plays.”

Tigers are without former Hull men Bureta Faraimo and Liam Watts, who are both suspended and George Griffin drops out because of injury.

George Lawler will return from a one-game ban and Jason Qareqare and Jack Sadler are drafted into the 21-man squad

Radford said: “We are backs against the wall, we are thin and we’re getting uppercut after uppercut every week, it seems.

“We have got to come out swinging.”

Andre Savelio and Kane Evans are available for Hull after suspension and replace Cameron Scott (foot) and Carlos Tuimavave (hamstring).

Castleford Tigers: from Evalds, Olpherts, Turner, Trueman, McShane, Lawler, Westerman, Massey, Fonua, Hepi, Sutcliffe, Smith, Eden, Blair, Matagi, Martin, Hall, O’Brien Robb, Qareqare, Sadler.

Hull FC: from Connor, Swift, Griffin, McIntosh, Reynolds, Sao, Houghton, Satae, Savelio, Lane, Lovodua, Evans, Fash, McNamara, Brown, Johnstone, Bowden, Wynne, Vulikijapani, Burrell, Shaul.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3.30pm.

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