It would be fair to say Terry Matterson’s side under achieved last season. After spending the first nine weeks of the season in the dizzy heights of the top three, the Tigers turning point came after a 26-all draw with Harlequins.
What followed was four consecutive league defeats including losses to Wakefield, St Helens, Leeds and Warrington. Inconsistency cost Castleford a place in the play offs, losing out to Hull KR on the final day of the season.
Despite missing out on the play offs, Castleford had a good Challenge Cup run. Kirk Dixon sent his side into the quarter finals with an extra time penalty goal, while Kevin Sinfield broke the Tigers’ hearts with a simple penalty kick in the semi final at Doncaster.
However Castleford now have a coach with proven credentials. Ian Millward joins the Tigers, after winning silverware with Leigh, as a successor to long serving Terry Matterson. Millward led the Centurions to Northern Rail Cup success last season, and has won several Challenge Cups and Super League Grand Finals with St Helens.
Castleford have recruited softly, relying on current household names such as Rangi Chase, Richard Owen and Danny Orr to propel them into the limelight. With Millward expected to get the best out of the players, Castleford cold prove to be a team that can upset sides this year.
Key man: Rangi Chase
The Man of Steel had a terrific year in 2011. He represented the Exiles before claiming English nationality by residence. He then turned out controversially for the England team in the Four Nations, losing in the final to Australia. However Chase’s rewards with international selection came about through inspiring Castleford to become one of the early pace setters in the competition. He led Castleford to first place in the league in the first three weeks of the season, but after dropping off they regained that position in the second week of April. Now Chase will once again be a key man for Castleford, as without him the Tigers have little strength in depth in the stand of department.
One-to-watch: Grant Millington
The former Cronulla player showed promise when he joined the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2011. However a shoulder injury picked up in the penultimate round of the regular season has forced the player to have a reconstruction and will miss the start of the new season. However Ian Millward isn’t worried and has insisted the prop forward will go onto be one of the better players in Super League.
Transfers Out: Willi Isa (Widnes), Greg Eden (Huddersfield), Nick Fozzard (Dewsbury), Martin Aspinwall (Hull FC), Billy Harris (Dewsbury, season loan), James Clare (Dewsbury, duel registration), Ryan Brierley (Leigh), Richie Matchers (Wakefield), Dean Widders (Retired).
Prediction: With Ian Millward at the helm Castleford should make it back into the play off, 7th.
Super League Grand Final Odds: 66/1 (10th favourites)
Leage Leaders Odds: 80/1 (10th)
Challenge Cup Odds: 50/1 (10th)
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Squad: Richard Owen, Nick Youngquest, Joe Arundel, Kirk Dixon, Josh Griffin, Rangi Chase, Danny Orr, Jake Emmitt, Daryl Clark, Craig Huby, Brett Ferres, Jonathan Walker, Steve Snitch, Stuart Jones, Adam Milner, Ryan Hudson, Lee Mitchell, Paul Jackson, Grant Millington, Oliver Holmes, Nathan Massey, Ryan McGoldrick, Steve Nash, Jordan Thompson, James Clare, John Davies.