HEAD coach Ian Millward praised the contribution of talented teenager Daryl Clark (pictured) in Castleford Tigers’ morale-boosting 36-12 victory over Widnes and backed him for a future England call-up.
Clark, 19, came off the bench to inspire the Tigers, scoring two tries with typical flair and setting up another with a long pass as his display earned him the sponsors’ man of the match and words of encouragement from Millward.
He said: “I thought Daryl Clark was quite outstanding.
“When I got a job here the first thing I did was to put Daryl Clark on a four-year contract. I put Rangi Chase on a four or five and Richie Owen on a four or five and young Milner. I was trying to get the base and spine of my team and get some stability.
“Daryl’s got speed. At the moment we are teaching him what to do with it.
“He’s an exciting talent and a very good player.
“It’s hard to believe he’s not in the England Knights team. I rang up during the week about that actually and they have picked a second rower who can play hooker. I thought that was a great criteria to move this game forward for this country when we play internationals. So there you go, there’s a kid with speed and skill, but I don’t coach the England side.”
Millward was pleased with the contribution of several other players, including hat-trick hero Nick Youngquest, and happy with his side’s improved defensive effort.
He said: “Nick Youngquest was astute and clinical with the way he got the ball across the line.
“He’s a specialist winger and he knows his way to the tryline. It was off the back end of some good play on the inside, but he had the ability to finish it up.
“He got some good metres as well and our back three were strong. Probably in the last few games we’ve lacked a little bit in our back three with Richie (Owen) being out. We’ve had a few disruptions with Nick getting knocked out in the first tackle of the game against Warrington so it was good to see we got some good momentum back in that area.
“Richie Owen was a big threat and could have had four tries, but was held up four times.
“Defensively we were very strong and we didn’t look like conceding tries.
“I thought at times our attack in the first half lacked a bit of patience and at times our attack wasn’t fluent. But that’s what happens when you’ve had a couple of losses in a row - you lack a little bit of confidence so obviously it was very important to get the win.
“Our kicking game was really poor which didn’t give us a chance to get some field positions and build a bit of pressure and get some continuity.
“But the great thing for us out of this game was that we’ve had a win, we’ve been strong defensively and attacking wise and kicking wise we’ve got a lot we can gain from it.”
Castleford’s victory came at a cost with skipper Danny Orr suffering a back injury and Ryan McGoldrick being charged for striking Widnes forward Steve Pickersgill with his forearm or elbow – an offence that could carry a two-match ban and was being decided on last night.
With Rangi Chase still having one more game in his suspension to go it could lead to a half-back crisis for the Tigers, but Millward is hopeful his captain will be available for the next game at Hull KR on Sunday, May 20.
He added: “Danny Orr’s injury is a kick in the back and he’s got bruising.
“We don’t play next week so it gives us a chance to get him right. With Rangi out that’s pretty important we get him back on the field.
“If we were playing next week I’d say he’d be out, but with it being the following week it might give us a possibility.”