Castleford Tigers have lodged a formal request with the RFL to drop down to Group 2 of the Betfred Women’s Super League in 2022, to best promote the development of a young squad and the long-term sustainable growth of the Club’s women’s and girls’ pathways.
The club released a statement this afternoon: “Over the course of the past two years, the Tigers Women’s team has faced a number of robust external challenges leading to a full rebuild of our women’s team and programme. As a Club we take pride in having overcome those challenges and remain hugely excited for the future.
“The Tigers’ clear vision is focused on long-term sustainable growth for the girls’ and women’s game and the wider playing pool of talent. Our remodeled development pyramid will see extended access to rugby in Primary and Secondary schools, filtering into the female Tigers Talent Pathway (TTP) with additional support for girls accessing community clubs and ultimately, to Women’s Super League and International level.
“We have also enhanced our staffing and welfare structure allowing our new ‘Scholarship’ and ‘Academy’ programmes to be launched; headed up by committed, high-quality coaches who share our club-wide vision. The Tigresses Academy will focus on playing development for 16 to 19 year olds whilst the Scholarship programme will focus on support for Under 16’s, both assisted by our Women’s First Team and coaching roster.
“In essence, Castleford Tigers will focus key, limited resources on supporting players to learn ‘the Tigers way’ growing as both players and people, proud to represent our club and to wear our badge.
“Women’s First Team Head Coach Matty Faulkner, and Community Director of Castleford Tigers Foundation, Simon Fox, have assembled a young squad and staffing profile who share our values and beliefs as we approach the 2022 season. This long-term project will place growing the game, at the heart of its philosophy.
“As a consequence, Castleford Tigers believe it is in the best interests of our young team to learn and hone their talent in a First Team playing tier that is time appropriate for that growth model. Betfred Women’s Super League has been split into two groups of six teams in 2022, Group 1 and Group 2, and the Tigresses had earned a place in Group 1 through their on-field performances in 2021.
“Following detailed discussions with the governing body, Castleford Tigers have therefore lodged a formal request to the RFL for our Women’s team to compete in the Women’s Super League Group 2 competition in 2022. As a founding club of Women’s Super League, it is naturally a decision that hasn’t been taken lightly. However, the Tigers believe we must act in the best interest of our squad and for the Club’s long-term goal of sustainability and growth.”
Tigresses Head Coach and Pathways Manager, Matty Faulkner said: “Coming to Castleford the vision was to build a more sustainable girls and women’s pathway in the local area. This move will give us the opportunity to build this whilst challenging our girls at a suitable level. They have worked extremely hard in such a short space of time to play against three strong teams in the Challenge Cup. After an honest reflection process, we feel that this is the best move for us and will make us stronger and sustainable in the long term.”
Thomas Brindle, Betfred Women’s Super League General Manager commented on the Tigers’ formal request saying: “Castleford Tigers have been a valued member of Women’s Super League since the competition was launched. Having considered the challenges the club has faced and taking into account results so far this season we have agreed and support the Club’s request to play in Betfred Women’s Super League Group 2 in 2022. We will be making the necessary adjustments to the competition structure in the near future.”