CASTLEFORD are sending four fringe players out to Championship clubs in a bid to get them better prepared for Super League action.
Back rower John Davies has already joined York City Knights and scored a try as well as being voted man of the match in their game against Batley last Sunday.
He has been joined at the York club this week by teenage scrum-half Ben Johnson, with both on dual registration forms, allowing Cas to recall them if they are needed for the first team.
Prop Steve Nash (pictured) is set to go back to Leigh and centre or second rower Jimmy Grehan has joined Batley on an initial one month’s loan.
Head coach Ian Millward explained the reasoning behind the moves: “We’re looking to give them some good first team experience as the intensity in the under 20s in not good to advance their game.
“We need to get them against men and the second toughest competition in the UK is the Championship.
“The gulf between the under 20s and Super League is too far. If you look at some of our fringe players when they come back in they struggle with the pace a bit because there’s such a gulf.
“We need to see how Ben Johnson goes against men, playing in the Championship and need to see how he gets them around the park.
“We need to evaluate him going forward as a future Cas player, especially with Danny Orr coming off contract.
“We’ve also got people like John Davies. He can do it pretty easy in the under 20s, but it’s the effort on effort and the intensity, especially defensively, which they will get better at Championship level.
“We’ve got to look at putting more and more players out there to educate and fast track to get them ready for Super League.”
Millward, meanwhile, did not hide his disappointment at the manner of the Tigers’ 54-6 defeat at Warrington last Sunday, even if injuries played a part.
He said: “We were interrupted by injuries before the game and interrupted by injuries during the game.
“But the players lost a bit of confidence and belief from the week before. There was a bit of a hangover.
“I was a bit disappointed in our attack. We were a bit negative and need to be more positive.
“Losing Nick Youngquest first tackle of the game was very disruptive. He got knocked out cold by a head high tackle and the referee made the right decision to penalise, but he didn‘t put it on report.
“It made it very hard. We lost our full-back and lost a replacement. It disrupted our attack.
“Rangi Chase was a massive miss, but we’ve got to cope with that for another two games. Richard Owen and Kirk Dixon being out also had an affect, but we’re hopeful they’ll be back for the next game.
“The players did keep going in the second half and they tried hard, but we lacked a bit of cohesion.”
Millward said problems defensively in wide areas surfaced again, but everyone was working to improve this aspect of the team.
He added: “It’s well documented we’ve got issues with our defence on the edge. We’re playing second rowers in the centre and players who may not be ready for first grade standard are playing there.
“I thought our forwards didn’t allow anything up the middle, but we were susceptible on the edge.
“We’ve got to keep that in mind when we go about our recruitment and in our training.
“I’ve been trying to address the centre problem since I came on board, but there’s nothing out there at the moment that could improve us.
“It’s an area we’re very vulnerable in at the moment, but we’re working very hard on the training field.”
Castleford Tigers Supporters Club’s next event is a Rugby League debate with guests from the media.
It takes place at the Wish Communications Suite, at the Probiz Coliseum, on Wednesday, May 9 with a 7.45pm start and is open to all, admission £1 with a raffle and reduced bar prices.