Maskill joins Castleford backroom staff

COLIN Maskill has joined Castleford's backroom staff ahead of the 2003 campaign.

The former Tigers hooker will work alongside Tigers' assistant boss Gary Mercer (pictured) with the under-21 Alliance side and is the final appointment to the club's coaching set-up, head coach Graham Steadman said this week.

Steadman believes Maskill's experience as a player and on the Cas coaching staff will be invaluable.

"Colin worked with me in 1998 coaching our Alliance side and he understands the structures that we have in place here at the Jungle.

"He will be of great value, and not only to Gary with the reserve grade, because he has a wealth of experience and has coached at the highest level with Doncaster Dragons. He will prove a very useful addition to our coaching set-up."

Maskill will assist Mercer with the under-21s, while Dean Sampson and Tony Marchant run the under-18s and Steve Gill takes charge of the under-16s.

Gill will be assisted by Chris Lee, of Smawthorne Panthers, one of Castleford's scholarship coaches.

Sampson has recruited seven new faces and re-signed Richie Spedding ahead of the Senior Academy competition.

Mick Butterfield and James Smith have joined Cas from Normanton Knights. Butterfield was on Bradford Bulls' books as a junior and both players played for Dewsbury in last season's Academy Division One Grand Final.

Teenagers Kevin King and David Baxby arrive from Yorkshire League outfit Stanley Rangers, where Sampson is player coach.

Centre King and his wing partner Baxby have both been playing open-age for Rangers and King had an outstanding game against National Conference Leaguers Wigan St Judes on Saturday, scoring two tries and six goals in Rangers' GMB National Cup first round success.

Dominic Bramboni is a stand-off who played with the Bulls Academy last season and more recently with West Bowling in the Premier Division of the NCL.

Hooker John Rourke and Leigh Cooke join the Tigers from Shaw Cross Sharks under-18s. Rourke was man of the match in the Yorkshire v Lancashire trial game to select the BARLA side to face the Australian Schoolboys last year, a game in which Bramboni also impressed. Back-row Cooke was a member of Huddersfield's Academy outfit.

Academy games will again provide the curtain-raiser for Castleford's Super League programme, with Mercer's under-21 side playing their games on Thursday evening or Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, there is still chance to support Castleford's hottest prospects by taking out one of the club's Academy/Alliance Rising Star Player Position sponsorship packages.

Aimed at attracting this area's top young talent to the Jungle, the initiative, which costs 250, is aimed at local firms and individuals interested in supporting the Tigers best teenagers.

Benefits for those taking up the offer include two tickets to every Super League home game, brand-name inclusion in the match-day programme, a signed and framed pitch of their chosen player, PA acknowledgement and an invitation to the end-of-season awards ceremony.

For more details, telephone Dean on 01977-552674.