Castleford captain defends decision to take kids out of school

James Gordon

Castleford captain Michael Shenton says the decision to take his three children out of school as a COVID precaution was not one taken lightly.

In an attempt to prevent further COVID disruption to the Tigers, who have already had two games forfeited in recent weeks resulting in a win and a loss in their favour, the squad decided to pull kids out of school while partners have been working from home.

They were part of contingencies put in place to prevent anyone having to miss the Challenge Cup final against St Helens at Wembley on Saturday.

Shenton said: “It’s not something I’d condone, my wife’s a teacher, so we know how important school is to kids.

“They’ll come out of school for a couple of days until we set off to Wembley. It is just everywhere around here, to be fair.

“With it being such a special game, it’s the only reason we’d ever do it.

“It wasn’t a decision we took lightly but something my partner was comfortable with.

“There’s other boys making sacrifices. I’d be gutted for my kids if they got track and trace and wouldn’t be able to come down and watch this game.

“My son Seb is absolutely loving it. He came to the semi-final and, along with the football that’s been on, it’s taken his interest in sport to a new level.

“For him to see me at Wembley and experience it will be a special moment for me. To experience that is worth taking a couple of days off school.”

Tigers coach Daryl Powell confirmed that his players have all passed their latest COVID-19 tests.

The RFL had even put a contingency plan in place to replace Castleford, if they were unable to get to Wembley due to player unavailability.

Powell rested virtually his whole first choice squad for the Super League defeat to Salford on Sunday, with prop Grant Millington coming through his first outing in two months unscathed.

Their only serious injury doubt for the final is young stand-off Jake Trueman, who has only played in the Challenge Cup semi-final win over Warrington in the past two months.