Castleford Tigers and Featherstone Rovers set to welcome supporters back on Monday
Castleford Tigers and Featherstone Rovers are set to be roared on by their fans for the first time in over a year with crowds given the green light to return from Monday.
This week, the Government announced its intention to proceed with phase three of their roadmap out of lockdown, which includes supporters being allowed back into stadia at limited capacity.
Castleford hosted the last professional rugby league fixture in front of a crowd in England when they defeated St Helens at Wheldon Road in March 2020.
They are preparing to welcome 3,600 fans back while Featherstone’s capacity has been limited to just over 1600. Both clubs have pushed their weekend fixtures to Monday night, in order to get the turnstiles clicking as soon as possible.
“It would be hard to put into words how good it will be for everybody,” said Castleford head coach Daryl Powell, whose side host Hull KR on Monday.
“It will be great for fans and players and coaches. I am fed up of hearing myself at games, I don’t want to hear myself any more. I miss the crowd, I can’t put into words how special it’s going to be.
“I speak to players a lot about the situation and they are so motivated by people being in the stadiums. It has been tough for them, probably more than anybody.
“It will be awesome for them and for everybody when we get crowds back in. It will be great, I am looking forward to it.”
Featherstone, who are unbeaten in four league games this year, host Oldham at Post Office Road. Their last game in front of a crowd was a Challenge Cup victory over League 1 Hunslet in March 2020.
Head coach James Webster has been in the job since the end of 2019 and says the supporters was one of his prime reasons for joining the club.
He said: “What attracted me to the job is the community spirit of Featherstone and seeing the fans travel home and away.
“I am looking forward to seeing a good number of Featherstone lunatics behind the sticks cheering us on.
“It is great. It is good that the world is moving on again and we can get back to some normality.”