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Daniel Smith talks Lee Radford’s influence and Castleford’s silverware aspirations

Across Super League clubs are deep into their preparations for 2022 with many of them dreaming of Old Trafford and Super League glory.

Amongst those clubs full of optimism are the Castleford Tigers who welcome a new era after eight fantastic seasons under Daryl Powell who now takes charge of Warrington.

Filling the void left by Powell is two-time Challenge Cup winning coach Lee Radford who has drafted in a number of exciting signings including Jake Mamo, Mahe Fonua and Joe Westerman.

They compliment an already impressive squad at the Jungle leading many to believe that the Tigers can finish in the top four next season and really push for success and that seems to be the view of forward Daniel Smith.

Older brother of Leeds man Cameron, Smith has bags of experience and is one of the most underrated forwards in Super League especially given the skill level he brings to a physical role.

In 2022, he comes into the season on the back of an impressive year in which he was central to the Tigers’ cup run all the way to Wembley.

That has left him feeling very optimistic about the forthcoming season emphasising how much he and his teammates are enjoying pre-season in an interview with the club website stating: “It has been great to be back with all the lads for pre-season over the last few weeks. We have obviously got a new coaching staff now and there are a few new players, so it has been good to get talking to them and getting to know them. You can see that everyone is really up for it in training.”

A ball playing forward, Smith believes Radford can help develop his game due to his experience playing in a similar role. Radford played in three Grand Finals for Bradford winning two of them against Wigan in 2003 and Leeds in 2005 before guiding Hull FC to Old Trafford and Wembley in 2006 and 2008 respectively.

A key part of these successful packs, Radford could very well be the man to bring the best out of Castleford’s already impressive set of forwards.

Smith certainly believes so saying: “It is really good to learn off someone who used to play in my position because I think he likes ball-playing forwards which definitely suits my game. I am excited to learn from him because I am sure it is going to help my game and give me a few pointers about what he wants me to do.

“We have got a very big forward pack for next season with the likes of George, Joe, and Kenny coming in and with the lads, we have already got in there.

“We have a mix of some lads that are ball playing and some tough guys as well. I am really looking forward to working with all of them.”

If Radford can get the best out Smith and his fellow forwards, the Tigers could be a real threat at the top of the league especially with Radford’s previous success in major finals guiding Hull FC to consecutive Challenge Cups in 2016 and 2017.

Could Radford end Castleford’s three decade wait for a victory in either of the major finals? The last time the Tigers tasted success on the grandest stage was at Wembley in 1986 before Yorkshire Cup success in 1992 and the Regal Trophy in 1994.

Smith believes his new coach could be just the man to deliver success, stating that he is aiming for huge success in 2022: “My aim for next year is to be playing consistently because I thought last year, I had a pretty decent year. I stayed on the field and played as well as I could so hopefully, I can take that into 2022. We got to the Challenge Cup Final last year and hopefully we can get some silverware.

“I always enjoy playing down here with the fans because I think they are great. With being a Cas lad, I know how much it means to them. I will be doing everything I can to get them fully behind me and the lads.”

For the full interview go to the Tigers’ website here.

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