Lee Radford: I can’t stand our games being shown on TV

Lee Radford Castleford SWpix
Photo: Allan McKenzie / SWpix

Castleford head coach Lee Radford says he can’t stand his team’s games being shown on TV ahead of tonight’s showdown with Huddersfield which will be live on Sky Sports.

Tonight’s match at the Jungle will be the Tigers’ 19th competitive game of the campaign. That tally includes their two Challenge Cup ties this term as well as 16 matches in Super League so far.

Of the 18 to date, 10 have been shown on the small screen by the RFL’s official broadcasting partners. Seven of those on Sky Sports and one each on BBC, Channel 4 & Premier Sports. Radford though, is most definitely not pleased when the cameras come to town.

“I can’t stand being on TV and I can’t stand the camera panning on my face when we concede a try. I feel like saying, ‘I didn’t miss that tackle so go and zoom in on the kid that did’,” Radford said.

“At my last club [Hull FC], they’d zoom in on me and then zoom in on the chairman straight after. I can’t stand the commentary and I can’t stand the negativity of the comments.

“I’m very anti-camera, although I’ve got a great face for it! There are very few plusses of being on TV.”

Radford was, of course, dismissed live on air by Hull FC back in March 2020. Following a defeat to Warrington, Black & Whites’ owner Adam Pearson announced the news publicly on Sky Sports.

Cameras Add to Disciplinary Issues

While it’s certainly not unusual for any sports personality not to like the camera, it’s now widely recognised as being part and parcel of the job.

Radford backed up his comments, adding, “It sounds daft but earlier on in the year, when the rules were different and we played a different game for the opening six rounds, you dreaded being on camera.

“You knew they were going to get a video replay of you touching someone else’s head and that your player was going to get 10 minutes [in the sin-bin].

“After round six, they changed the rules again. Then it was okay to touch someone else’s head again. That was really frustrating.

“We were on Sky a lot in those early rounds, and we were top of the comp for sin-bins, top of the comp for red cards, top of the comp for ‘Six Again’ calls against us. As you can tell, I don’t like the camera very much at all.

“We’ve only had one coaches meeting this year. That was after the farce with Mahe [Fonua] getting 10 minutes [in the sin-bin] at Wigan.

“The rules changed after that, and we were allowed to play actual rugby again. That was nice.”

Calls for a Captain’s Challenge

Last week saw Leeds lose out to St Helens in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Zane Tetevano was sent off while James Bentley added to his collection of cards with a sin-bin.

Harry Newman was also handed a retrospective ban for the use of ‘aggressive language or body language’ towards referee Tom Grant.

The centre appealed his two-game ban and had it extended to three on review. He wasn’t though punished in any form during the 80 minutes on the pitch by Grant.

Cas boss Radford believes the officials should be able to be questioned. The 43-year-old thinks this should come in the form of a Captain’s Challenge. The concept isn’t a new one to rugby league, with the Australian NRL already having adopted it.

“I think there should be a Captain’s Challenge like what they have over in the NRL,” Radford said.

“Refs do get it wrong sometimes and the fact that you could challenge that without offending them would be a positive.

“I appreciate it would only be for Sky games over here because there isn’t enough camera angles during a regular round. I do think there would be some mileage in that though.”

When Cas welcome Huddersfield this evening, it will be their first TV appearance since the start of June. That came against Wigan, also at the Jungle, and was a game that Radford’s side lost.

For reference, the Tigers have lost seven of their 10 televised games so far in 2022. Their record on Sky Sports stands at two wins and five defeats. The Fords are sixth in the Super League standings prior to kick-off.

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