Posted: Saturday 25th April 2020

Jon Wells: "We are a strong unit here"

In his monthly column in Club magazine ROAR, Castleford Tigers Director of Rubgy Jon Wells discusses the COVID-19 pandemic.

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You can read April's edition of ROAR for free HERE.

Hello everyone,

Well, this is a very different piece to write – and for you to read I’m sure. Indeed, at the time of writing we are three days into our nationwide lockdown, a measure put in place to try and keep people apart, slow the spread of COVID-19 and hopefully alleviate the pressure on our national health service so we can effectively deal with this virus and save lives.

No doubt you will have heard all of this countless times over the last couple of weeks, so let me give you an update on life in and around the Club over the last fortnight. From looking at this as a novel and interesting distraction, to where we are now is a huge shift that society has had to take in such a short space of time; and that is apparent too inside the Club. The players are now training at home, working through individual programmes set by our strength and conditioning team; we are keeping in touch as many of you will be via Skype and Zoom and all of the benefits of living in a social media world (never thought I’d say that!).

If we look specifically at rugby league, then naturally there are plenty of questions and not many answers at the moment. What we do know is that we won’t be resuming the season any time soon – best guesses at the moment point to the end of June or early July. Obviously this poses huge issues for the whole game and I have heard plenty of ideas concerning the condensing of the season in order to retain some credibility to SLXXV.

There are questions too about the future of our Club and the game in general. The “top office” personnel here are working tirelessly to try and ensure there is a Castleford Tigers for you to support when this is all over – this is our greatest challenge but we are a strong unit here so I have faith.

I would like to make special mention at this time to our Club doctors, Nick Raynor and Rishi Dhand, both of whom have been working on the front line since this pandemic established itself in the UK. They are doing an amazing job under huge pressure and we are all really proud of them, now more than ever. But that feeling extends also to any of you out there who are working at the coal face of this huge national emergency; whether that is within the NHS, or as one of our key workers who are keeping everything going. You are genuine heroes and we salute you.

Finally, and most important of all, is the health and wellbeing of our town, our community and the link between us. I’ve said this before but it seems to carry greater weight at this time. The Club is central to this town, the pulse, the heartbeat for many; but the same is also true. The town, and it’s health and wellbeing and togetherness is essential to the survival of this Club. So, despite our short term limitations, let’s keep one another in our thoughts – and when this is all over, let’s celebrate like we haven’t done before!...

See you on the other side. Stay safe, and we love you all.