THE selection of three Castleford Tigers players for England squads this week has been welcomed by head coach Terry Matterson.
First call-ups for Joe Arundel and Jonathan Walker and a recall to the England set-up for Brett Ferres (pictured) is a reward for fine starts to the new season.
Back row forward or centre Brett Ferres, 24, has been selected for the 34-man elite training squad, alongside former Cas centre Michael Shenton, while current centre Joe Arundel, 19, and prop forward Jonathan Walker, 20, form part of a new 25-man England Knights squad, which also includes former Tigers favourite Joe Westerman.
Coach Matterson felt the selections were deserved, but the club could have also had more representation.
He said: “It’s great to have three players called up and shows we are doing something right at Castleford.
“I think we were unlucky not to have a couple more. I was surprised that Richard Mathers wasn’t included, it’s not an area where England have massive depth. Certainly Craig Huby is unlucky playing the way he is.
“But those guys can put their noses into selection for later in the year and just because you don’t make those squads doesn’t mean you can’t make the England side down the track.
“I’m really pleased for Brett. I’ve been pushing his name for quite a while and I really think he deserves it.
“Brett has played for England before and it’s good to see him back in the squad. I’m looking forward to seeing him push his way into the England team.
“He’s a more mature player than when he previously played for England. I’ve challenged him to improve in certain areas of his game and it has shown in his performances.”
The new England Knights squad will supplement the pool of players available to the national team and add valuable pressure for international selection among the sport’s top stars.
Matterson has also welcomed the new concept and said: “Over the past few seasons I have focused on promoting youngsters into the first grade squad and we’re really pleased to have got two of our guys in there.
“Joe and Jonny have not been in the first team squad for long, but I think everyone can see they look really comfortable at that level.
“Involvement in a squad like this can only help them improve.
“We look forward to many more making the next step in the near future. If guys like Adam Milner and Olly Holmes keep doing their thing and playing good rugby their time will come down the track.
“We’ve got Daryl Clark in the England Academy squad as well and it’s encouraging that we are getting guys recognised. It should be a boost for the whole squad.that if they play well they will eventually get the chance.”
Promising utility back Jordan Thompson has joined Castleford team-mates Nathan Massey and John Davies on loan at York City Knights.
England Academy star Thompson, 19, has joined the Championship side on a one-month loan deal.with a view to gaining match fitness and experience and made his debut for the Knights in their 28-22 win against Keighley Cougars in the Northern Rail Cup on Sunday.
Although Thompson has not figured in the Castleford first team squad for the opening two Engage Super League matches he is still considered part of the future plans of head coach Terry Matterson.
He explained: “We feel Jordan needs to play at Championship level to continue to develop his game and with Nathan and John already at York it was a great opportunity for him to gain some first team experience.”
Thompson will remain in full-time training with the Tigers first team squad and will link up with the City Knights, along with fellow young Tigers Massey (dual contract) and Davies (loan) ready for match day preparation.
Castleford Tigers Supporters Club is holding a Meet The Directors night on Wednesday, March 9 at The Loft, Xscape (start 7.45pm).
This is always one of the most popular events in the calendar and gives CTSC members an opportunity to discuss the “hot issues” concerning the Tigers with members of the board, including chief executive Richard Wright.
Due to demand it is a members only event and admission is £1 with a 2011 membership card. Membership can be bought on the night.
April’s event is “A Night At The Races” and takes place on Wednesday, April 13.
Castleford Tigers fans who buy an advance ticket for Sunday’s clash with Hull KR at the Probiz Coliseum can see the following week’s home game against Catalans Dragons for half price.
For adults, the offer allows adults to watch two live Engage Super League matches for only £28 – a saving of £12. OAPs and juniors will only pay £15 to see both games.
The offer applies to everyone who pre-purchases their entry ticket for Sunday’s match either online – www.castigers.com – or at the club shop in Carlton Lanes Shopping Centre.
A limited number of places remain available for Sunday’s Tigers match day camp, which will take place at the Pobiz Coliseum from 10.45am- 2.30pm ahead of the Hull KR game.
Led by a first team player, the camp is open to girls and boys aged 6-12 and there will also be a half-time certificate presentation for the participants. For £10, participants will be provided with lunch and free entry to the game as well as discount tickets for friends and family. For more information, contact Alex Green on 01977 552 674 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
From 1.30pm the kids club ‘JT’s fun factory’ will take place in the heated marquee where youngsters can enjoy discos with a party DJ along with games and prize giveaways while parents enjoy a re-run of the Huddersfield match on the big screen TV.