Exploring possible Castleford Tigers recruitment options after Craig Lingard admission

Aaron Bower
Jack Sinfield, Jake Bibby, Tee Ritson

Jack Sinfield (left), Jake Bibby (middle) & Tee Ritson (right) could all make Super League loan moves in the next few weeks

Castleford Tigers coach Craig Lingard has admitted on Thursday that the club are actively trying to bolster their squad following their winless start to the new Super League season.

“Conversations are happening daily, Danny Wilson is working his socks off behind the scenes, speaking to agents, clubs and players and we are doing what we are doing as a playing group to get us there,” Lingard told the media on Thursday.

The Tigers are clearly in the market for players, but matters are complicated at present by the upcoming Challenge Cup quarter-finals, which would fall within the window of any two-week, short-term loan deals that could potentially be struck in the coming days.

Any player joining Castleford would then be cup tied for their parent club if they play against Wigan in next weekend’s quarter-final for the Tigers. But there are options on the market for the Tigers to consider: some of whom play for clubs that are already out of the cup.

If the outside backs become a position of interest for Lingard to strengthen, Huddersfield winger Jake Bibby would automatically be a player of interest, you would assume. It is only a few weeks since Giants coach Ian Watson admitted they would look to utilise the loan market for Bibby to get him regular game-time.

“Sometimes you’ve got to look at the quality and level of player that you’re dealing with – and Super League is the level Jake deserves to be playing at,” Watson said.

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“To get him up to speed for when he does come in to play for us, we’re going to have to probably look at something like that in the not-too-distant future.”

Another winger who could potentially be available on loan is St Helens winger Tee Ritson. With Waqa Blake, Jon Bennison and Tommy Makinson all deployed on the wing for the Saints in 2024 thus far, Ritson appears to be a clear fourth choice, perhaps leaving the door ajar for a loan – or even permanent – move.

The Tigers have Rowan Milnes, Danny Richardson and Jacob Miller as frontline half-back options but in terms of creativity, there are halves at other Super League clubs not getting any game-time. Jack Sinfield appears to be one prime candidate, with Brodie Croft and Matt Frawley locked in as Leeds‘ pairing unless injury strikes. His best option for minutes could be a loan elsewhere.

Staying with Leeds, and although he will likely feature on Friday due to injuries and suspensions, James Donaldson has struggled for minutes and would provide Castleford with an injection of experience and ability – not to mention work-rate.

Wigan are another club struggling for forwards for this weekend’s game with Leigh but in a few weeks, will look much more well stocked. That could leave the door open for senior players to look elsewhere for more game-time – or even young forwards like Tiaki Chan and Harvie Hill to get a short-term loan to further their development.

In terms of the marquee names Lingard referenced in his press conference on Thursday, it seems likely Castleford fans will have to wait until 2025 for any major signings to come through the door. But in the short-term, there are players on the market who can help the Tigers through their sluggish start.

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