Cas youth shine bright

Castleford have pointed to their successful youth academy structure as a key part of their Super League licence application for 2012.

Rookie hooker Adam Milner made his debut against Huddersfield on Sunday, becoming the fourth academy graduate to debut for the Tigers this season.

John Davies, Oliver Holmes and Jonathan Walker complete the quartet, with fellow youngsters Joe Arundel and Jordan Thompson gaining experience elsewhere on loan deals.

The Tigers have also brought through the relatively established Joe Westerman, Richard Owen, Michael Shenton and Craig Huby in recent years.

Six of those eight were on duty in the Giants victory and although he didn’t graduate through the Castleford  ranks, another was Brett Ferres, a local lad.

CEO Richard Wright said: “We made a strategic decision in 2004 to try and ensure that the best of the local talent were brought into the Tigers youth development system and then given the best possible opportunity to develop into Super League players. 

“It was inevitably going to take some time and it is great now to see the policy paying dividends.  We are all very proud to see the youngsters who come into our system graduating into first grade players, and there are plenty more who we expect to break through over the next couple of years.

“We are lucky to have some terrific schools and junior clubs in the area and we are grateful to them for the tremendous work they do in developing the young talent and giving Steve Gill and his team the players to work with.

“We will still look to sign key players from other clubs and from overseas, we saw at the weekend in the performance of Rangi Chase for example that they have a big part to play, but the clubs clear aim is to have a strong nucleus of Castleford developed players making up our squad. 

“That is a key element of the license application but it makes sense for many reasons, and we believe it to be the best way for the Tigers to be a successful Super League club.”

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