The Tigers went down narrowly to Wigan on Thursday night, ending the West Yorkshire club’s 100 per cent record. But, what five things have we learnt from Castleford’s season so far?
1. Daryl Powell leaving hasn’t affected the club
It was always going to be interesting to see whether or not the Tigers would rise to the challenge with the news of Daryl Powell’s departure at the end of 2021, but those worries seem to have been quashed. Four wins from a possible five games isn’t something to be sniffed at and Powell looks to be enjoying his coaching role a lot more with the pressure off.
2. Jordan Turner could be the buy of the season
A few eyebrows were raised when Jordan Turner penned a one-year deal at Castleford after a few injury-hit seasons at Huddersfield. But, the utility player has tore up the script so far in 2021 with some superb performances, standing in for Gareth O’Brien and Danny Richardson in the halves as well as putting in some great work on the wing.
3. Paul McShane is like a fine wine
2020 was arguably Paul McShane’s best-ever season as a professional rugby league player as he lifted the Man of Steel, but the hooker has started 2021 like a house on fire too. Ever the architect out of dummy-half, McShane has even improved his kicking game and now looks the complete number nine. He should be a shoo-in for the England squad come the end of the year.
4. Gareth O’Brien looks to be favoured over Danny Richardson
It was always going to be a close battle between who would earn the number seven shirt alongside Jake Trueman in the halves, but Gareth O’Brien has looked more assured with the Tigers’ attacking prowess seemingly coming more to the fore when the former Salford man has played. Of course, Richardson has suffered with injuries in 2021 so that could definitely have hindered his progress.
5. 2021 is the end of an era
With Powell exiting the Jungle after what will have been eight-and-a-half years at the club, it will be the end of an era for the Tigers. And, with players out of contract numbering double figures, it’s likely to be a few years of rebuilding under the new boss – whoever that may be.