Castleford Tigers boss Lee Radford is preparing for his side’s second friendly ahead of the 2023 Super League season.
He missed the last one against Featherstone Rovers on New Year’s Eve because he was in Samoa after the Rugby League World Cup which sparked a rumour that he wasn’t coming back but speaking on Tigers TV he denied those rumours.
“They aren’t that lucky, I think that was just our playing squad hoping. I have that effect on people,” Radford joked before opening up on whether he has begun talks about extending his two year deal which expires at the end of 2023.
“Nothing yet, it’s not something I particularly think about, it’s not something that is at the forefront of my mind.
“I think we had a decent year last year without being special. We could have had a bigger impact on the competition but injuries in the spine didn’t help us.
“Success for us relies on keeping the nucleus of the side fit.”
He has suggested that there has been a real progression this pre-season:
“I think there has been a steady progression. I think one advantage this time around, it wasn’t wholesale changes.
“The standard is getting better, this time round we’ve doing 13 on 13 more often.”
This came after he claimed they were “underdone” in 2022:
“I say we were underdone last season, what I mean by that is the likes of Jordan Turner had hardly any pre-season, Paul McShane missed three quarters of pre-season, as did Adam Milner.
“We were physically underdone in terms of reps on the training field because they were returning to the field.
“Fortunately there is only Callum McLelland in that position at the moment.”
On McLelland he said:
“Really disappointing, he signed him on the impression that he would be back last April. To lose another half for the season was disappointing, then it was all systems go for this year.
“We need a progression in him.
“It’s one of them, I don’t want to predict something and it doesn’t come off.
“With Danny Richardson being out for the season with his injury, we’re short in that position already.”