Over 1,000 players have taken to the field for Castleford Tigers, and in the 2023 season, for the first time the Tigers will carry their own heritage number on their playing shirts.
Every player who has made a competitive match appearance for Castleford Rugby League Football Club since 1926 has an associated heritage number, and from February when the new Betfred Super League season begins, the Tigers will have them on their playing shirts and wear them with pride.
The first-ever player to receive a heritage number for the club was William Hargrave, who represented Castleford during the 1920s.
The Tigers’ Head Groundsman & Kitman Stuart Vause explained that the Club has wanted to acknowledge the players’ heritage numbers for some time.
“We’ve planned on doing it for a while, probably since I’ve been here. I think it’s nice to be able to celebrate the history, the heritage, and the players both past and present.
“I mentioned it to Radders (Lee Radford) and he has been fully on board with it. It also got the backing of all the lads I spoke to, the likes of Macca (Paul McShane, Mass (Nathan Massey), Adz (Adam Milner) and a few others and they thought it would be absolutely brilliant that we could do it this year.
“Macca’s number is 961 and we’ve had a lot of players to get to that and I think that the players will be proud to run out in the shirt with their heritage numbers on this season.
“We are three years off one hundred years of the club and what better way to celebrate our history with having the heritage numbers on the shirts going forward.”
The latest addition to the Tigers’ heritage numbers is #1022 which belongs to Alex Mellor following his move to Wheldon Road during the 2022 season.
This of course means that the next competitive debuting player, in positional order for Castleford, will receive #1023 – and that could be one of our new recruits such as Gareth Widdop, Jacob Miller, or Muizz Mustapha. That next number could also go to one of our emerging talents through the Academy or Reserves such as Aaron Willis, Hugo Nikhata or George Hill.
Head Coach Lee Radford shared his thoughts on the importance of acknowledging our history by adding heritage numbers to the First Team’s playing strips.
“I think for some of the players it will feel very important, they will take some pride in being part of this Club’s history, what’s being worn now and what has come before them to get to this point, and it may be impactful for them.
“I do think knowing your history of the team and what has been before your time is important, particularly for the local lads who see the former players in the town itself.”