Why interest from Castleford Tigers made it easy for Danny Richardson to leave St Helens
CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ former St Helens half-back Danny Richardson says he was left empty-handed when his old club handed out the Super League rings following their Grand Final triumph in October.
Richardson, a member of the 2018 Super League Dream Team, became a fringe player last season after losing his spot to Theo Fages and was forced to watch from the sidelines when Justin Holbrook’s men defeated the Red Devils at Old Trafford.
However, Richardson still made 10 league appearances as well as kicking five goals in Saints’ Challenge Cup semi-final win over Halifax and expected his contribution to be recognised.
“It was a weird one,” Richardson said at Castleford’s pre-season media day. “We got in the changing rooms after the win and I was made up for the lads because some of those boys are my best mates.
“Justin came up to me and said they had no rings left, they had given them out to all the other lads. So I didn’t end up getting one.
“Rushy (chief executive Mike Rush) has told me I will get one but whether I will or not, I don’t know. I’ll wait for the call.
“It would be nice to have one because I did play a part and had been there since I was a kid. We’ll see what happens.”
“It was a frustrating year and I probably didn’t know how to handle it at times,” he said. “It got to me a bit but it is what it is. It created this opportunity for me.”
Richardson is now hoping to win a ring with his new club after Castleford paid an undisclosed transfer fee to sign him as a direct replacement for Luke Gale.
“If I’m honest, I didn’t ever really see me leaving St Helens,” said Richardson, who has signed a three-year contract with the Tigers. “I was going to play there for my whole career.
“But things changed and I knew I had to leave. I needed something fresh to reignite my love for the game. It made it a lot easier when Cas said they were interested in signing me and it looks like it’s the best for me.”
Castleford coach Daryl Powell is excited at the prospect of pairing Richardson with Jake Trueman, the 2018 Super League young player of the year, and believes they could go on to play for England.
Powell said: “I think they could be a pairing in the World Cup next year, they’re capable of doing that.”
Richardson has already ringed the calendar for his return trip to St Helens and insists there will be no divided loyalties.
“I’ve had a look,” he said. “Obviously it will be emotional but I’m happy where I am now and my passion is with Castleford.
“My dad has been saying Cas haven’t won at Saints for 30 years so imagine me kicking the winning goal!
“That would probably be a special moment for me but I’ll deal with that game when it comes.”
Richardson and Trueman will play together for the first time when the Tigers host Toronto in Michael Shenton’s testimonial game on Sunday week.
Castleford kick off their league campaign against Toronto a fortnight later and Powell has confirmed that forwards Alex Foster, Junior Sa’u and Mike McMeeken will all miss that game as they continue their recovery from injury.