Lee Radford delivers Gareth Widdop verdict after Castleford bow

Sebastian Sternik
Gareth Widdop Castleford Tigers Lee Radford SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Castleford coach Lee Radford is pleased to see a vibrant competition for places in his squad as the Super League season draws closer.

The Tigers made easy work of Huddersfield in their final pre-season outing as they bagged nine tries in a 48-10 win on Sunday.

Castleford open their season against Hull on February 19 and they will enter that fixture having beaten both Whitehaven and the Giants in their two recent fixtures. 

“I think both of the friendlies we’ve played this year I’m really happy with,” said Radford.

“They’ve given me some difficult decisions leading into the Hull FC game. I think some blokes have put their hands up in certain positions. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”

When asked if he had a preferred starting line-up in mind for the trip to Hull, Radford said: “We’re going to have to probably review it in detail. There’s still some time to go, anything can happen I suppose.

“Our middles in particular, I thought some of them really stepped up today. It’s a position where there’s always good competition for places. They needed to as well.”

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Lee Radford on Castleford’s tough start

Castleford face a daunting start to the 2023 Super League season, with their first three opponents being Hull, St Helens and Wigan. 

“You can go a few past that as well,” admitted Radford who’s team will then face Huddersfield, Leeds, Warrington and Catalans. “I think we’ve got a really tasty start. Our first seven or eight games are last year’s one to six I suppose. 

“We’ve got a really challenging start but I’m very pleased with how the players have gone about their business today. I think pre-season has been good. But again, you never find out what you are or what you’re going to be until round one.”

Star signing Gareth Widdop starts strong

Castleford’s game with Huddersfield marked the first home outing for off-season recruit Gareth Widdop. 

Looking back at his Wheldon Road bow as a Tiger, Radford said: “I thought he conducted the audience very well. 

“He got us round the field, kicked really well. Obviously with Jacob Miller coming back in for Round One, we’re really looking forward to seeing them two progressing their chemistry what’s going to be a great half partnership hopefully.”

Radford also praised Bureta Faraimo who bagged a hat-trick in the friendly.

“Looked strong,” he added. “I thought Jake Mamo looked strong as well. You throw in Greg Eden there as well. I think it’s fantastic competition for places.”

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