Powell: Castleford Tigers academy success shows future is bright

Castleford Tigers under 19s half-back Callum McLelland. Picture: Matthew Merrick
Castleford Tigers under 19s half-back Callum McLelland. Picture: Matthew Merrick

Head coach Daryl Powell has praised the work going on with Castleford Tigers’ academy after the under 19s side reached their Grand Final.

The young Tigers will play Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 2pm) in the Academy Grand Final.

Wigan finished top of the Academy League so claim the home advantage, with the Tigers finishing in second place and looking to avenge defeats in the regular season to their Warriors counterparts. Both came through knockout semi-finals.

But whatever the result the Castleford youngsters have enjoyed a good season with a number of bright prospects making their way in the game.

Powell said: “We’ve got a lot of good young players coming through the system, which is always great to see.

“I am so pleased they have got to the final. Pleased for Pete Riding and Tony Smith and all the guys closely associated with the young fellas, it’s a great achievement. Hopefully they can go to Wigan and do themselves justice on Sunday and hopefully win it.

“Either way, they have done awesome this year.

“Players are developing within our system who will go on to press for a first team place.

“We’ve been working hard to grow our youth development over the last four years and we are in a good spot at the moment.”

When asked to name players for the fans to watch out for, Powell said: “There’s quite a few. Luis Johnson is a really good player, you’ve got Jake Trueman and Callum McLelland at half-back. Robbie Storey’s really good in the outside backs and Jacques O’Neill charges about in the middle of the field, belting people all over the place. There’s a real good group of young players.

“You also get some players who come through late, people mature at different ages.

“There’s some high quality players and hopefully they can do themselves justice. If they can win the whole thing it will be awesome for us.”