Castleford Tigers: Liam Watts reveals truth about relationship with coach Lee Radford

Castleford Tigers prop Liam Watts says he is delighted to be reunited with his former Hull boss Lee Radford.

By Peter Smith
Friday, 4th February 2022, 4:45 pm
Liam Watts. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.
Liam Watts. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Tigers paid Hull a six-figure sum for Watts in 2018, amid rumours of a rift between the player and coach.

But Watts insisted the pair get on well, he is happy to be working with Radford again - and recommended him for the job.

“I know in the past a few people have said we’ve never got on, but we’ve always got on off the pitch,” Watts said.

“We are very similar in our ways and sometimes when you’ve got two big characters they do clash.

“There were never any regrets leaving Hull, I got chance to come to my hometown club which was a defining factor of me leaving.

“If not, I would probably still be at Hull now, but I got the chance to come here while I was still in my prime, which was a massive decision for me.

“Everybody I speak to now is saying ‘how are you and Radders getting on’? But me and Radders are all right - I think it was me that got him the job so I think he’s thankful.

“Out of the coaches that were being mentioned, I said to the club it’s a no-brainer to get Radders in.”

Tigers’ season begins in six days’ time when Salford Red Devils visit the Jungle and Watts reckons they are in good shape.

“We’ve had a really good dig,” he said of pre-season. “We’ve got a new conditioner and some new ideas, a new coaching staff and new ideas there and the lads who’ve come in have given us a massive boost.

“They’ve brought a bit of knowledge from other clubs and experience as well, so it’s nice to get those boys in and they’ll give us a bit more strike on the edges.”

With no Covid restrictions in place, after two seasons disrupted by the pandemic, Watts reckons 2022 is a huge year for the sport.

“The last two years have been the most awkward and I’ve not really enjoyed my rugby,” he admitted.

“It has been stop-start, we’ve been missing games and I lost all buzz for the game, but I’ve had a good pre-season.

“I picked up a slight hamstring strain before Christmas, but I am on the mend now, I am fit and ready for round one and I just want to get back into playing and getting the fans down.

“It is soul destroying when you rock up and there’s nobody there. We need the crowds, without them there’s no game so it’ll be good to get them back in.

“Hopefully we can get 8-9,000 for the start of the year - there’s a buzz around Cas at the minute and everyone I speak to says ‘I can’t wait for this year’.

“I get a real buzz out of that and I think it’s coming back now, whereas before it was all doom and gloom.”

Watts stressed: “I just want to get back into enjoying rugby. The virus is still around, but we’ve just got to kick on and get past this, because if not, the game’s going to decline and decline. It is time to come together and start building the game back up.”

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