TEENAGE Super League star Adam Milner is the latest of Castleford Tigers’ home grown talents to commit his long term future to the club.
The 19-year-old hooker (pictured) has followed Richard Owen and Rangi Chase in penning new deals, signing a three-year extension that will keep him at Castleford until at least the end of 2014.
Milner followed up captaining England Academy to victory over Australia by establishing himself as a first team regular in 2011 when he made 23 appearances. In committing himself to the Tigers he has delighted new coach Ian Millward.
He said: “Adam is a tremendous hooker at 19 years of age. The club is blessed to have him and young Daryl Clark also coming through.
“I’m over the moon Adam wants to stay at the club and over the moon that the club is refusing any sort of interest in him or any of our young talents. The only interest we have is in them playing for the Castleford Tigers.
“There’s been a lot of good work done behind the scenes in identifying these players and also getting them to this level. It’s fantastic for the future to have Adam as well as Daryl, who himself is only 18, coming through in such a vital position. It’s good to have Adam tied up for the next three years and with two years on his contract remaining, Daryl is in the process of having his extended too.
“Both players will definitely be in the mix next year, they will both get a lot of first grade game time and there’s obviously Ryan Hudson in the mix too as a more experienced campaigner.
“All three of them bring different qualities to the team, but for the young guys, I think it’s fantastic that they can challenge each other for spots and in training.
“Over the last few weeks, coming out of the club is people re-signing, local talent re-signing and the club have made a statement by re-signing Rangi Chase and then Richard Owen and now Adam.
“It must be really exciting for Cas fans coming to games knowing that people who live in your area are playing for your club and it’s hard to believe that these two young hookers at 18 and 19 are playing so well at first grade, such are the demands of Super League – it’s all good for the future.”
Millward’s plans for the 2012 Super League season are taking shape with his first two player signings, Josh Griffin, from Huddersfield, and Steve Nash, from Leigh, and a third, a young forward from the Australian NRL, expected to be announced in the next few days. It has been confirmed that veteran prop Nick Fozzard is moving on.
The coach has also unveiled two of his new backroom staff with James Parkes joining as athletic performance director and Ben Stirling as head of physiotherapy.
“I fully respect the jobs done by the people leaving us, but I was looking forward to a fresh start and a new era. I want to create a culture at this club,” said Millward.
“James Parkes comes with a Rugby Union background. He played at the highest level at hooker and comes very highly recommended by some people I know and respect. He joins us on a three-year contract. James has attributes we feel can help advance our squad and brings a lot of science to our club.
“Ben Stirling’s been with the Crusaders and before then had experience in athletics and ice hockey. He has a good background on rehabilitation and also prevention, he’s got good recommendations from a number of players, including Nick Youngquest, and he has good programmes on helping us identify upcoming injuries early.
“He joins us after a season riddled with injuries. We have 12 in rehab now and he is already at work on getting our guys right for next season.”
Castleford have also confirmed that they are in discussions with existing strength and conditioner Kevin Till about remaining at the club and specialising in the physical development of the club’s youth teams from under 15s to under 20s.
Tigers’ physiotherapist for the past 11 years Russell Jones has left the club to take up a position away from sport in the public sector.
Chief executive Richard Wright said: “Russell’s ability to diagnose correctly and deliver the right course of treatments to injuries is first class. The way he nurtured Richard Owen to a return to full fitness ahead of schedule is in many way testament to his fine work.
“I’d like to make public our thanks to Russell for his contribution to the club over many years.”