Why new Castleford Tigers boss Lee Radford has ‘missed the job’

Lee Radford reckons his spell out of Rugby League has sharpened his appetite for coaching.

And having used the 20-month gap between being axed by Hull and starting his new job at Castleford to reflect and re-evaluate, the 42-year-old is eager to get back into the routine of weekly matches.

“This pre-season has taught me how much I’ve missed the job,” explained the man who played a six-month waiting game to replace new Warrington coach Daryl Powell at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle after his appointment, initially for the 2022 and 2023 campaigns, was confirmed in April.

“Three or four weeks before I started at Castleford, I was expecting to get the old butterflies, and I was surprised when that didn’t happen.

“But as soon as we got into the grind of daily training, I had no doubt the desire and excitement were there, and hopefully that time away from the game has added to my coaching.

“I had a long spell (six-and-a-half years) in the Hull job. When you’re in the middle of it, it’s very hard to take a step back and assess anything.

“But I’ve now had the opportunity to take a calmer view of how I did certain things, and to consider what worked well and what didn’t work so well, and to take a look at how other people operate and pick up bits and pieces.”

Radford reports an encouraging first two months with the Tigers, adding: “There’s still plenty of stuff to iron out but how the lads have applied themselves has been impressive.

“There’s been a lot of attention on the physical side, with the strength and conditioning staff doing their stuff, and now we will step things up again as we look towards the warm-up games.”

Castleford visit Championship side York on Sunday, January 16 and League 1 Doncaster on Sunday 23 ahead of their first Super League game at home to Salford on Friday, February 11.

That’s followed by an intriguing showdown at Powell’s Warrington the following Thursday, February 17.

“We’ll be going strong on both pre-season fixtures,” said Radford.

“The two grounds we’re playing at have fantastic surfaces, and I’m really looking forward to the games.”

Castleford have taken Kiwi teenager Caleb Stanley, the nephew of new signing Bureta Faraimo, on trial.

“He has a real good pedigree from a rugby union perspective,” said Radford of the powerfully-built 18-year-old back.

“He came over to England with his dad, who is in the military, and hopefully we can find a pathway for him here.”

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