One star Castleford Tigers and Lee Radford need to tie down going into the Super League season for 2024

WITH most Super League clubs having finished their recruitment for the 2023 season, all eyes are now firmly fixed on retention going forward.

Players are able to negotiate with other clubs from May 1 which means that clubs will want to nail down in-demand players before that date.

Of course, with the Super League salary cap standing at just over £2 million at present, sometimes that isn’t possible and stars may have to leave in order to ensure that the wage bill does not go over the necessary limit.

For the Castleford Tigers, there has already been a large turnover ahead of the 2023 season under Lee Radford with the likes of Jake Trueman, Derrell Olpherts, Gareth O’Brien and Cheyse Blair all leaving the Jungle whilst Muizz Mustapha, Jack Broadbent, Albert Vete, Gareth Widdop and Jacob Miller are just some of those that have joined the Tigers in the off-season.

Looking ahead to 2024, however, there are a number of Castleford stars out of contract, but perhaps the most important one for the Tigers is Joe Westerman.

Recruited to be that focal point and link between the forwards and the backs, Westerman enjoyed a superb return to his boyhood club in 2022.

Despite a disappointing season overall from the Tigers, the 33-year-old appears to be getting better with age and it is that experience and intelligence that makes the loose-forward a must-keep for Radford and the Tigers looking ahead to the short-term future.

Of course, Westerman is entering the twilight years of his career, but his importance to the Castleford outfit was more than underlined last season.