TWO of Castleford Tigers’ promising young players are heading out on loan for the 2013 season with Championship clubs in a bid to give them vital first team experience.
Highly rated scrum-half Ben Johnson is joining Dewsbury Rams while full-back or winger James Clare will go on loan to newly promoted Doncaster.
Both will be available to play for their respective loan clubs from February, 2013 and after the first 28 days will be on a 24 hour call back for the Tigers.
The pacy Johnson, 20, is a product of the Castleford Tigers scholarship after being signed from local amateur club Lock Lane in 2010 where he made some impressive performances with their under 18s side.
He made his Super League debut against London Broncos in August and made a further first team appearance.
The strong running Clare, 21, was promoted to the first team squad for the first time last season, making his Super League debut at Huddersfield and going on to make three senior appearances, scoring his first try in the home game against Huddersfield.
Clare, who also signed from local amateur club Lock Lane, came through the Tigers under 20s academy system and is seen as another talented player who can ultimately make the grade with Cas with more experience under his belt.
Steve Gill, Tigers’ head of youth development, said: “Ben and James signed for the club at the same time and have progressed really well with both earning the opportunity to play for the first team last season.
“Each has impressed the coaches of their respective loan clubs and will make valuable additions to the Championship sides.
“The loan spell will offer the opportunity for them to step up to regular first team rugby which will no doubt enable them to further develop as players. We hope it won’t be long before they are making their mark in Super League for the Tigers.”
Castleford this week confirmed that Richard Mathers’ move to Wakefield Wildcats has been made permanent.
The international full-back joined the Tigers’ rivals on a two-year deal with Cas believing they have more than adequate cover for the full-back position following the addition of utility back Jordan Tansey.
Tansey has fully recovered from the knee injury he sustained at York and will be available for January’s pre-season friendlies.
Mathers, who made 27 appearances for the Wildcats in 2012 after joining them on loan from Cas at the start of the season, said:.“The feeling I have is one of a big relief. I have been thankful throughout to Wakefield and it was never in question I wanted to stay because I enjoyed it so much last year.
“To get a two-year deal and represent the club while hopefully playing a big part is something that I really am delighted about.
“I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a season as much. We evolved as a team as we found our way towards the back half of the season and it was a great journey.”