CASTLEFORD Tigers’ experienced under 20s head coach Gary Thornton is staying with the club for the 2012 season.
The former Batley Bulldogs coach will remain at the club for a third season in the role in which he has overseen the progression to first team of a number of the club’s rising stars, including now Super League regulars Joe Arundel, Adam Milner, Daryl Clark, Jonathan Walker and Jordan Thompson.
Tigers head of youth development Steve Gill said: “As well as his central role in developing our young players into Super League ready prospects, Gary has this year guided the under 20s to their first play-off position (finishing seventh) since the forming of the new RFL structure three years ago.
“Gary has a certain man management style that our young players really respond to and his experience in working at this age group is growing all the time. It is a vitally important age group to coach. Gary is doing a fine job, we are delighted he is staying with us.”
Thornton said: “I’m delighted to be staying for another season at Castleford as under 20s coach.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at the club so far, and I’m seeing an improvement year on year in the performances of the players and it is with great pride that I see players going on to play Super League for the club.
“We’ve had a successful 2011, making the play-offs for the first time and I have enjoyed working with the current crop of players, seeing them develop and improve.
“Bear in mind we currently have around seven or eight playing regular first team who still qualify for the 20s, it proves the youth policy is bearing fruits and shows what strength in depth we have at youth level here at Castleford.
“Richard Tunningley (player performance manager) and Steve Gill (head of youth development) have built a very successful under 18s team this year as well and I’m looking forward to seeing these guys progress up to the under 20’s next season.
“I’m sure we can keep the conveyer belt of local talent going, pushing through our home grown players into Castleford’s first team.”