The Garry Schofield Column: My prediction for Castleford Tigers in Super League 2024

IF IT hadn’t been for Wakefield, they would have been preparing for a campaign in the Championship, and if it wasn’t for London Broncos, I’d have had not-so-classy Cas down to finish bottom of the pile this time around.

I really rate Craig Lingard, a canny coach I know quite well from my time working at Keighley on the commercial side, both in terms of his tactical nous and player-management skills.

He has had Batley punching above their weight consistently against a background of key players being picked off by other clubs.

And he’s brought in a great assistant in Danny McGuire from Hull KR. As I have said several times, I see him as a future Leeds coach.

But the pair of them would have to be magicians to make the current Cas squad a proper top-flight force, because, in my eyes, the quality just isn’t there.

Castleford seem to have made a hotchpotch of signings, and I think there could be a bit of a hangover from last season.

While they will take a few scalps, particularly at home, I can’t see them finding the kind of consistency required to get anything like close to pushing for a place in the play-offs.

I’ve already talked about the IMG grading system, and it’s clear Castleford have a lot to do, especially in terms of stadium development, if they are to maintain top-flight involvement long-term, especially with several of those clubs currently below them in the grading ‘table’ trying their utmost to improve.

The problem is that Castleford also have to retain their existing fans and add more, and that’s done through winning, and preferably entertaining in the process, out on the pitch.

The addition of a wealthy board member in Martin Jepson is a boon, and his financial wherewithal should certainly help going forward.

I hope the club stays patient and gives Craig and Danny both the backing and time they need.

After three coaches in one season, a period of stability is oh so important.

Castleford Tigers – 11th