Lee Radford backs new disciplinary process amid Jack Welsby decision

Josh McAllister
Lee Radford, Jack Welsby. News Images

Castleford head coach Lee Radford has backed the new disciplinary process and had no complaints when he saw that Jack Welsby would be free to play following his high tackle. 

St Helens’ Welsby, 21, gave away a penalty try for an illegal high shot on Castleford’s Jack Broadbent in the second half of their Round Two tie on Sunday. The superstar full-back avoided a card on the field, and later only received a Grade A high tackle charge from the match review panel.

The decision led to no further action, leaving him free to play against Leeds this Friday, and without a fine for the incident.

And while it left Castleford fans bemused with the decision, opposition coach Radford actually supported the verdict.

In the new disciplinary process, a Grade A offence would be punished either by a caution or a fine, whereas previously it could have resulted in a one-match ban.

Lee Radford on new disciplinary process

“I’m a fan of not charging [suspending] people. I’ve been an advocate for that,” Radford said on the Welsby decision.

“If you look at the game over the last couple of seasons, they’ve been in the deep depth of squad numbers towards the back-end of the year. If keeping blokes on the field through lack of suspensions keeps those numbers a little bit lower, then that’s got to be good for the game.”

Radford further admitted that the game needs its superstars on the field, with Welsby definitely falling under that category.

The England international was awarded man of the match following his side’s World Club Challenge glory, scoring his side’s first try and assisting the other for Konrad Hurrell.

“This sounds really bad, but there isn’t enough superstars in our game to afford them in the stand,” Radford continued.

“We want maximum return on what we’re paying people as a sport and as a club. Like I said last year, I don’t want to go on about the first six weeks last season where the game went a bit crazy, [but this now] makes much more sense.

“Honestly, I think you’ll change players’ behaviours because it hits them in the wallet. We’re a tight breed of people, rugby league people, and I think you’ll see a knock-on effect.”

Castleford squad news

Radford’s Tigers are still without a win in 2023, falling to Hull FC and St Helens in Round One and Two so far respectively.

The side host Wigan this Friday at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, with Radford admitting there might be one or two changes due to slight niggles.

Centre Jake Mamo could be a doubt after leaving the field with a back injury against the Saints last Sunday.

“There might be a couple of changes, a couple of possibilities,” Radford said. “I’m not envisaging too many.

“We’ve got a couple of niggles, but we’ll give everybody as long as we can before Friday’s game.”

On Mamo, he added: “He’s struggling a little bit. He’s touch and go for the weekend.

“It’s a back spasm during the game. He was actually struggling with his knee earlier on in the week. But unfortunately his back took a little bit of a twist against St Helens.”

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