'It doesn't need wholesale changes' - future coach Lee Radford outlines thoughts on Castleford Tigers' squad

Incoming boss Lee Radford has already begun the process of planning Castleford Tigers’ squad for 2022, but says there won’t be wholesale changes.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 5:45 am
Lee Radford will become coach of Tigers from the end of this season. Picture by Melanie Allatt Photography/Castleford Tigers.

The former Hull coach will take over when Daryl Powell leaves to join Warrington Wolves at the end of this season.

Radford, who guided his home city club to two Wembley wins, has signed a two-year contract and insisted his aim is for Tigers to challenge St Helens’ and Wigan Warriors’ dominance of the European game.

“I don’t think it needs wholesale changes,” Radford said of Castleford’s playing roster.

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“I am really looking forward to working with some of the young blokes in the squad and hopefully making them more established first teamers, given time.

“There’s a lot of people within the squad I am looking forward to working with and a couple I’ve worked with previously, in Liam Watts and Jordan Turner, who I have good relationships with.

“Speaking to Liam , he can’t speak highly enough of the club.”

Radford’s backroom staff has not yet been confirmed, but he pledged: “Anyone who comes in will be coming here to add something and contribute to what we want to achieve.

“It is really early days, but I am sure when we get down to the nitty gritty we will make the right decisions in those positions.”

Under Powell, Tigers have become known for their adventurous attacking style and Radford stressed he is keen for that to continue on his watch.

He said: “This club plays a certain way and the field encourages you to play a certain way, the size and dimensions of the field.

“I’m very aware of the brand of rugby that is played at this ground and it’s one I’m looking forward to having an effect on as well.

“Here, you are in good ball [attacking in opposition territory] quicker than any other ground in the competition and the fact you are in good ball quicker allows you to play a bit more.

“The brand of rugby they play here, I’ve always enjoyed watching it and I’ve always enjoyed coming up against it and trying to stop it.

“The job Daryl has done has been great over the last seven years, as a club they have been in that tier of the best of the rest behind Wigan and Saints and ultimately trying to break that ceiling is going to be what the challenge is.

“Trying to knock those big boys off is everyone’s challenge in the competition.”

A former forward with Bradford Bulls and Hull, Radford joined the East Yorkshire club’s backroom staff in 2011 and was appointed coach two years later.

Sacked from his former role in March last year, he was set to switch codes as defence coach at American club Dallas Jackals before the coronavirus pandemic intervened, but will now remain in England and Betfred Super League.

“I am excited for the opportunity, it is a fantastic club and I am really looking forward to taking up the challenge,” he said.

“I like what the club is about.

“It is a hard-working, honest, hard-faced club and I think you know what you’re getting when you come here.

“I think all those descriptions suit me down to the ground.

“A club with such a history, the opportunity doesn’t come around very often.

“The media threw my name in pretty early, so that’s a compliment, but to actually be offered the post is something I am proud of.”

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