Castleford Tigers utility back Jack Broadbent has sung the praises of new head coach Craig Lingard and his backroom team, insisting they’ve transformed into a ‘different team’ this pre-season thanks to everyone being handed a ‘clean slate’.
Leeds Rhinos academy product Broadbent joined Cas ahead of last season, penning a two-year deal having made a total of 22 senior appearances for the Rhinos after debuting in 2020, scoring nine tries in the process.
The 23-year-old’s first 12 months at the Jungle saw him go on to score a further six tries in 26 appearances, nailing down the starting spot he sought after.
But while there was success on a personal level, it was a difficult year for the Tigers, to say the least.
Throughout 2023, they were embroiled in a relegation scrap alongside Wakefield Trinity, eventually doing just enough to salvage the situation and survive having gone through three head coaches.
There’s a fourth in place now in the shape of Craig Lingard, who has made the step up from assistant, and Leeds legend Danny McGuire has been brought in as his number two.
With that in mind, Broadbent knows things have to change for the better in the upcoming 2024 campaign.
Castleford Tigers utility Jack Broadbent insists they are a ‘different team’ from last year with ‘pretty positive season’ on the cards
Speaking to The Sportsman on YouTube, Broadbent said: “It was like being at a different team when I came in on day one of pre-season.
“Craig’s come in and done a lot, put us all on a clean slate. It’s a brand new environment, so it’s really exciting to get going.
“We’ve brought the age of the squad down massively, which helps because we’ve got young, eager players who want to impress and want to play for Castleford. We’ve created a good group of lads.
“Bringing in a new head coach and a new assistant in Danny McGuire with the pedigree he has, when they speak, people listen.”
“He (McGuire) is not short of knowledge in the game, you only have to look back at what he’s achieved in his career. You can tell why he’s done what he’s done, because what he says works when we go out and do it in training.
“If we can just buy into the philosophies that him and Craig are bringing, we could be on for a pretty positive season.”
Broadbent sings praises of club’s new coaching team, including boss Craig Lingard
While assistant McGuire has more Super League experience than most, head coach Lingard’s top flight experience is limited to the time he spent as number two at the Jungle last season.
The 46-year-old did however take Batley Bulldogs all the way to a Championship play-off final and more recently the 1895 Cup final at Wembley on a shoestring budget.
Opting to stick around and see out the 2023 season as the Bulldogs boss after securing his full-time role with Cas probably tells you all you need to know about the character of the man, with Broadbent continuing: “Craig just wants to build that togetherness in the squad.
“He’s really come to the forefront and got his ideas across to us. We’ve seen a lot more group-related activities.
“It might not be things on the training field, it might be things like getting us together for a coffee and things away from the field, but it’s always about building friendships.
“If you can have those bonds off the field, then it can show on it.”