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Players were ‘reluctant’ to speak to Super League club over IMG score

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Castleford Tigers head coach Craig Lingard has revealed that players were “reluctant” to commit to the side for next year as questions lingered over their Super League status.

Originally placed outside of the top 12 spots, the indicative grading from last October would have worried some of the club’s supporters, as the side sat below the likes of Toulouse Olympique and Wakefield Trinity, who are in the RFL Championship.

At the time, the club said the ranking was actually incorrect, and also outlined their plans to achieve a Grade A score by the end of the 2025 season, and to have a score of 14.25 by the end of 2024 – and it now seems that they’re on track to achieve a really strong score.

However, as we don’t know where other sides will sit when the Super League spots for 2025 are determined, there are still some question marks over their place – althought signs are, now, that they should be okay.

Castleford Tigers Quiz: Can you name these former Super League players?

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Craig Lingard: players “reluctant” to speak to Castleford Tigers over Super League uncertainty

Castleford Tigers' Craig Lingard celebrates his side's victory over Salford Red Devils

Credit: Imago Images

Lingard has suggested that the club has struggled to recruit players, with much of this being down to the IMG uncertainty.

Via The Yorkshire Post, he said: “We’re really confident that we’re going to be in Super League and are not planning for anything else other than Super League,” said Lingard, who will not find out for certain until October.

“More so two or three months ago when initial conversations started happening about players for next season, people were a little bit reluctant to commit to us or even have conversations with us – but I think the message is getting out there now that we’re comfortable we’ll be in Super League.

“The market in the UK this year is pretty much non-existent in terms of players moving clubs or becoming available. The ones who have become available have had four or five clubs in for them so it’s difficult to get those quality players.

“We have been speaking to players, agents and clubs over in Australia about trying to get people in. We’ve missed out on a couple of targets that have stayed in the NRL. We are looking and having conversations but it’s difficult.”

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