Castleford Tigers Head Coach Lee Radford has selected his first 21-man squad of the new 2023 Betfred Super League season.
The tough pre-season schedule is now done and dusted with the Tigers’ focus now set on the trip east this coming Sunday when they head to The MKM Stadium to take on Hull FC in their season opener.
Hull FC have a new man in the hot seat this season with vastly experienced Head Coach Tony Smith making the switch from east to west Hull after his stint with rivals KR came to an end last year.
The Black and Whites have been active in terms of recruitment picking up hooker Brad Dwyer and centre Liam Sutcliffe from Leeds Rhinos. FC have also dipped into the Australian market with duo Tex Hoy and Jake Clifford making the switch from NRL side Newcastle Knights. A familiar face to Cas fans in Jake Trueman also made the switch to FC for 2023.
The Fords’ last visit to FC’s home was a memorable one with former Hull coach Lee Radford getting one over his old side. Derrell Olpherts helped himself to four tries on the night, along with a double from Bureta Faraimo and scores from Suaia Matagi and Alex Sutcliffe to crown a 46-18 success.
Radford has had the luxury of being able to pick from a near fully fit Fords squad and Castleford fans will be keen to see some of the new faces who could potentially make their Super League debuts for the Club this weekend.
New half-back duo Gareth Widdop and Jacob Miller, along with Jack Broadbent and Muizz Mustapha are amongst the new recruits included in the squad. A man who loves a day out at FC’s home during his time at his former club, the imposing front rower Albert Vete, will be looking to make an impression if he makes his first competitive run out for the Tigers.
Castleford announced that star hooker Paul McShane will continue as Club Captain, and he will be joined by Alex Mellor who was named as Vice-Captain in the week. Both are included in Sunday’s 21-man line-up.
There is one player absent from the squad who will be available for another team this weekend in the shape of prop Daniel Smith.
He will play for Halifax Panthers in the first example of the new dual reg agreement between the two clubs.
🤝 @smithdaniel1 is included in @HalifaxPanthers' 21-man squad for their fixture on Sunday following our new dual registration partnership
💪 Rip in, Smig!#COYF https://t.co/4IcYLjUevu pic.twitter.com/ZCpXj57W9A
— Castleford Tigers (@CTRLFC) February 17, 2023