Despite making the playoffs, Castleford couldn’t emulate their 2018 campaign. Here’s our look at their season.
Super League Record
Competition Points: 30
Super League: Playoffs
Challenge Cup: Round 6
Castleford Tigers Player of the Year: Liam Watts
What was good about their season?
A strong start to the season is always the best way to start, with five wins in their first six games. From then on, they failed to win more than two games in a row. Despite all the injuries they faced, the side has managed to adapt and scrap for those vital two points on more occasions than most. That never-say-die attitude gained them a play-off spot.
Jake Trueman has improved drastically over the season and was well-deserving on a Great Britain call-up at the end of the season. Stepping up into Luke Gale’s boots for the entire season was never going to be an easy task but he has managed the transition almost seamlessly. He still needs to improve on certain aspects of his game but for a 20 year old, the future certainly looks bright for Cas if they can keep hold of him.
Liam Watts has been another player in the Cas side who has really stepped up in the pack this year. There has been lots of movement because of injuries around him but he has taken on a leadership role within the team and is thriving. He deserved his Man of Steel nomination and finally looks to be turning into one of the most consistent performers in Super League.
What was not so good about their season?
After losing out on the Grand Final in 2018, the Tigers were determined to right those wrongs in 2019. After beating Warrington in the Elimination Final, they then went on to lose to eventual finalists Salford in the semi-finals. It seems like a step back for many Cas fans but they were simply not at the races for the most part of the season.
The side has had to deal with a tonne of injuries in 2019. Halfback Luke Gale has sat out the entire campaign with a ruptured Achilles injury and has now moved onto Leeds. Injuries to key personnel, including Mike McMeeken, Junior Moors and Jesse Sene-Lefao, meant the Tigers were constantly having to change their team on a weekly basis. This is never ideal for any team, but especially for one wanting to make a decent run in the play-offs and beyond.
Who was their best player in 2019?
Other than Trueman and Watts, there haven’t really been any players who have performed consistently strong throughout 2019. Many, such as Jordan Rankin, Paul McShane and Grant Millington, have stepped up when needed but because of injuries, very few players have been able to play more than a handful of games this year. Hopefully the 2020 season will be injury-free for them.