Castleford Tigers have announced the signing of promising young forward Bailey Dawson on a one-year deal, with an option for a further year in the Tigers’ favour.
It comes after they signed young Hull FC halfback Jacob Hookem.
The 19-year-old came through the ranks at the City of Hull Academy before being picked up by Hull KR where he represented the Robins’ Academy and Reserves squads before heading out for a loan stint at Midlands Hurricanes near the back end of this year.
Bailey is no stranger to a couple of the coaching staff already at The Jungle having worked with them at previous clubs. When talking to castlefordtigers.com, Bailey gave a brief background of where his career initially started in rugby league and his journey to the Tigers.
“I started when I was about 8 at Skirlaugh Bulls and stayed there for all of my community rugby. I then got a scholarship with City of Hull Academy, that was a good experience. I was with Danny Wilson and Rob Nickolay so I’ve got familiar faces here now. Then I went to Hull KR and had two years there in the academy and one year in the reserves and training with the first team.
“I came through the system when Danny, Rob and Matty, Lee, and Andy were all Hull coaches, they’re good lads and hopefully I can get my opportunity here. There’s a lot of hard work to be done in pre-season and throughout the season, and I’m willing to put in that work.”
Dawson picked up First Team experience during his time with the Midlands Hurricanes on loan, where he scored one try in five appearances for the club and the second-row stated how vital that experience has been in terms of growth on and off the pitch.
“It was valuable experience. It was beneficial for my career. I had some good and some bad games, but it was definitely great experience for my career and for me to grow as a player.”
The Tigers’ pre-season is in full swing and when looking at the squad, Bailey pinpointed one player in particular that he is looking forward to be working with and believes rubbing shoulders with Super League level talent can only improve his game.
“Kenny Edwards is a player I’d like to play with, he skips around a lot and he’s kind of a free back-rower and I like that a lot. He plays the game hard so he’s definitely someone I’ll be looking up to and to learn off.”
Alongside playing for the Tigers, Dawson will be studying at University Centre Leeds where the Tigers Foundation’s link with the university offers young players the chance to study a degree alongside their playing career.
In closing, Dawson outlined how important being able to gain qualifications whilst representing the Fords will be in the future.
“I got given the opportunity to go to university and study a sports course. It’s really beneficial to young players to get an education as well. Getting a degree whilst training is perfect, it’s an ideal situation. Rugby careers aren’t long lasting so it’s perfect for me to go down that route and gain an education.”
Castleford Head Coach Lee Radford claimed that he’s excited to be giving a promising prospect the opportunity to progress at Wheldon Road.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for him and I really hope we can give him everything he needs to progress, and Bailey can give everything to move forward with this club.”