The 2016 campaign for Daryl Powell and his squad was a season of ups and downs.
Early injuries to key players, had the West Yorkshire side produce some less then satisfying results. The worst being a 58-12 loss dealt by Hull KR.
The Tigers did manage to regroup though, once key players started to return and the talent of Powell’s group started to show what they could do.
Castleford produced another solid season under head coach, Powell, ending their 2016 campaign in fifth position for a second successive year.
Now 2017 has many expecting big things from the Castleford Tigers and although they have lost Denny Solomona, who scored a record breaking 40 tries in a single season, Castleford have secured the services of the 2015 Man of Steel Zak Hardaker.
2017 Transfer Market
In: Larne Patrick (Huddersfield Giants – 2019), Greg Eden (Brisbane Broncos – 2018), Tuoyo Egodo (London Broncos – 2018), Dan Igbinedion (Oxford RLFC – 2018), Samoa Jesse Sene-Lefao (Cronulla Sharks – 2018), Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos – Season Loan).
Out: Lee Jewitt (Townsville Blackhawks), Justin Carney (Salford Red Devils), Luke Dorn (Retirement), Frankie Mariano (Featherstone Rovers), Ryan Boyle (Halifax RLFC), Denny Solomona (Rugby)
BEST BUY: Zak Hardaker
Hardaker, 25, who remains under contract with Leeds until the end of the 2019 season, Castleford has managed to negotiate the services of the 2015 Man of Steel winner on a season long loan, with no recall provision by the Rhinos.
Hardaker’s flexibility and ability to play in a number of positions in the backline will help cover the loss of Denny Solomona and will complement what is already a very talented squad.
The Tigers finished 2nd to only Warrington in points for in 2016, scoring a total of 116 tries for the season.
Even with the loss of Solomona to Rugby and Luke Dorn to retirement, the inclusions of Zac Hardaker and Greg Eden, along with Ben Roberts, Joel Monaghan and Michael Shenton, Castleford should maintain their attacking power and will threaten a lot of rival clubs.
Castleford need to improve on their defence if they want to finish in the top 4 in 2017. Wakefield Trinity was the only club that conceded more points then the Tigers in 2016.
Castleford leaked 830 points to the opposition over 30 games, with an average of almost 28 points per game (27.6).
The Tigers can not allow a loss like the Hull KR thumping to occur in their 2017 campaign if they want to be real championship contenders.
KEY PLAYER: Junior Moors
Moors, 30, had a fantastic 2016 campaign, he made 2480 metres games and completed 85 tackle busts leading his team and coming 12 overall.
Moors has signed a two-year contract extension with Castleford that will keep him at the club until at least 2019.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jesse Sene-Lefao
The Samoa international agreed to a two-year deal with Castleford from NRL side and current premiers the Cronulla Sharks.
Sene-Lefao will add more attack in the Tigers forward pack and is a great addition to the squad is our player to watch for Castleford in 2017.
YOUNG GUN: Greg Minikin
The 21-year-old won the club’s player of the year award in 2016 after joining from York City Knights.
A bright prospect and one for the Cas fans to be excited about in 2017. Minikin once again put on display what he is capable of in the Boxing Day friendly match against Hull FC, scoring scored twice in the Tigers thumping of Hull FC 42-10. Get excited Tigers faithful.
STARTING 17 for 2017
|Stand-off||Ben Roberts OR Rangi Chase|
2017 CRYSTAL BALL PREDICTION
Although it will be a tough task replacing the loss of Denny Solomona and his 40 tries, Daryl Powell could not do any better then recruiting Zak Hardaker for the 2017 Campaign.
If the Tigers can sure up their defence and reduce amount of easy tries allowed, there is n reason why Castleford could not finish in the top for and be a real contender for some of the end of the season silverware that is up for grabs.
Our Prediction: 4th