When Lee Radford decided to ditch a deal in the United States with the Dallas Jackals and instead head for the small mining town of Castleford, a few eyebrows were raised.
The Tigers, just coming off the back of almost nine years of Daryl Powell as head coach, were in need of refreshing following disappointing Super League finishes in 2020 and 2021 where they missed out on a play-off spot.
Meanwhile, Radford had not coached since that infamous moment back at the start of 2020 when Hull FC owner Adam Pearson gave Radford his marching orders live on Sky Sports.
After a less than convincing start to life as Castleford boss – where the Tigers won just once in seven games – the West Yorkshire side are now purring and sit two places ahead former side Hull in the Super League table in fifth, though a disappointing 32-6 loss to Wakefield Trinity at the weekend stopped that momentum.
And, now Radford has talked about life at the Jungle so far and how there has been a significant change in the past month or so in terms of attitude within the camp.
“When you pull into town you can’t pass more than ten people without seeing a Cas shirt. It’s rugby mad,” Radford told the Out Of Your League podcast.
“When in 2017 they were flying, we would go to Brid or Scarborough the amount of people in Cas shirts was mad. When the club is doing well, the town is buzzing.
“The start was horrendous through injuries and suspensions which at that point was something we’ve never been involved in. At the time it was so frustrating but thankfully it’s gone in the other direction again.
“It’s taken a while to convince some blokes and I’ve really focused on the intent and attitude – not so much the detail but it’s the intent that you apply that with.
“With intent in defence you can mask errors and there has been a real buy-in to that in the last month and half.”
Castleford go up against reigning champions St Helens on Sunday afternoon, live on Channel 4.