2023 Season Preview: Castleford Tigers

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Lee Radford and the Castleford Tigers will be out for revenge in 2023. The club missed out on the playoffs in heartbreaking fashion last year, conceding two late tries to Leeds Rhinos in a final day loss.

It was an up and down first season as the Castleford Tigers head coach for Radford as he started the year with one win from six games before winning five of the next six. His side ended up winning 13 out of their 27 league fixtures, finishing in 7th place.

The Tigers were hamstrung by injuries throughout their 2022 campaign. Jake Trueman suffered an ACL injury in July, prematurely ending his Castleford career, and players like Niall Evalds and Danny Richardson were limited to eight and 12 games respectively.

Following the departure of Jake Trueman and the ongoing injury problems of Danny Richardson, Castleford have brought in a new halfback pairing for 2023 with the high-profile signings of Jacob Miller and Gareth Widdop.

Despite poor seasons in 2022, Miller and Widdop bring over 500 games of first grade experience to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle and will be looking to lead the side in 2023.

Gareth Widdop, who has joined the club after a disappointing three seasons at the Warrington Wolves, spoke to the media about his desire to win silverware with the club and his combination with his new halfback partner.

He said: “You play to win things and play in the big games. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that but I’ve got the opportunity now to hopefully do that with Cas and help them with my experience. That’s the goal – to get us in those finals.

“Milky [Miller] is a great fella and a great player. It’s early stages but we’re having a lot of discussions and the more we can train and play together, the better we’ll be. He’s really well experienced too.”

The key to success for Lee Radord and his side in 2023 is to keep as many of his first team players on the field for as long as possible. His squad has a strong core of senior players like Paul McShane and Joe Westerman who were instrumental in dragging Castleford so close to the playoffs but they need help from those around them like new signings Widdop and Miller.

On the other end of the spectrum Castleford also have a number of youngsters who will be pushing for first team opportunities this season. Jason Qareqare, Jack Broadbent and Muizz Mustapha have all made a number of Super League appearances already and they will be hoping to add to these in 2023.

After a slow start to the season last year, Lee Radford will no doubt be looking to make a stronger start to this new campaign, Standing in his way are St Helens, Wigan and Leeds who Castleford will play in their first three home games of the season.

If the Tiger’s can come through this period successfully there is no reason why the club cannot look to make a push towards a place in the playoffs this season.

Arrivals:

Jacob Miller (Wakefield), Muizz Mustapha (Leeds), Albert Vete (Hull KR), Gareth Widdop (Warrington), Jack Broadbent (Leeds), Jacob Hookem (Hull FC), Bailey Dawson (Hull KR).

Departures:

Derrell Olpherts (Leeds), Jake Trueman (Hull FC), Gareth O’Brien (Leigh), Cheyse Blair (retired), Ryan Hampshire (Wigan), James Clare, Sosaia Feki (both released).

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