Adam: Now A Dad

Posted: Saturday 26th September 2020 - 9:00 AM


This article is taken from the September edition of Castleford Tigers' monthly club magazine ROAR, which you can read in full for free by visiting castlefordtigers.com/ROAR.

 

Adam Milner has been with Castleford Tigers for over a decade now, in that time he has grown from being a young player wanting to make his mark to one of the senior players of Daryl Powell’s squad. During the lockdown and the suspension of the season, Adam became a father for the first time.

On April 20th, 2020, Adam and his partner, Beth welcomed little Laurie James Milner into the world, roughly a month after Super League had been suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of lacing up his boots and getting ready for matches at The Jungle, Adz has had to get used to changing nappies and caring for his little boy.

“What an experience it has been! I’m starting to like him now, I can say that now because I’d say for about six weeks I was thinking ‘what have I done?’ or ‘what have I got myself in for?’, he’s grown on me now and I love him to pieces. It has been quite some lockdown having the fatherhood experience which I’m starting to enjoy now.

“I think he’s taken my mind off things really because my sole focus was really on him throughout the day and then I would get up in the morning, nip out for an hour or two to do some training. But lockdown was tough, times where you might be thinking if the game would be back on with it being such a challenging time for rugby league. So, the birth of my son helped me get my mind off things and keep me on the straight and narrow.”

Welcoming a child into the world is memorable enough, but 2020 for Adam will be one of the most memorable times of his life after his beloved Leeds United secured their promotion to the Premier League and won the Sky Bet Championship trophy by becoming champions.

“Yeah it’s a bit of tie is that… it’s sure going to be a year to remember for me with the birth of my boy and then Leeds United finally, finally making it to the big time after a long wait. I am doing everything I can at the minute to try and get a season ticket, hopefully, if someone can help and get me a season ticket then get in touch because I need one!

“It was amazing for Leeds to get back to the top, it’s been a long wait and they should have done it last year but they’ve showed the last two years how good of a team they are, consistently at the top and I can’t wait for them to kick start in the Premier League.”

Whilst Adz might be a big football fan it was clear that rugby league was the sport he wanted to play from a young age, but if it wasn’t for family members trying to coax him out to play who knows what he could be doing now?

“I wouldn’t have even started rugby league if it weren’t for my mum and sister. Stanley Rangers was my amateur club and my mum drove down in a little Ford Escort and all the older lads would be playing on a field and I would just be watching out the window with a smile on my face but I just wouldn’t go and join in with them.

“My mum and sister told me ‘go on Adam, go on Adam’ but I was petrified and didn’t want to join in at all. It took my mum and sister to almost join in the training session with me to get me started. I think since then I’ve never looked back; Stanley was a fantastic club to me, and I hold them in high regard before going on Scholarship with Wakefield and then Bradford for a period of about two months.”

Oh, how things could have played out dramatically different, that brief period with the Bulls Scholarship impressed Adam and it almost resulted in him joining Bradford instead of Castleford.

“In the last few months before the Academy contracts got dished out, I’d been on Wakefield’s Scholarship for two or three years and it was all I ever knew so I thought I’d spend some time at a different setup and see what other clubs are like. To be honest I loved it at Bradford, if Bradford had offered me a better contract at Academy level I would have probably signed at Bradford.”

Well here he is ten years later and he is still with Castleford, his senior journey which began in July 2010 when Adam made his Super League debut after working his way up through the Tigers Academy and into Ian Millward’s First Team squad.

“I remember it quite well actually as I’d just finished my A-Levels at Outwood College, again if it wasn’t for my mum I probably would not have gone to college and just stuck to rugby full time as soon as I finished school but she made me stay to get my A-Levels. I trained all that week and Terry Matterson told me I was going to be playing, imagine the delight that I had getting given my first opportunity to play Super League.

“As soon as you get that call you’re straight on your phone to the parents and then mum and dad are ringing the rest of the family and then I’ve got a coach full of people coming down to watch my first game. It seems a long time ago now, but it goes quick, 10/11 years at Cas playing Super League.

“I have a little bit of a laugh and a joke with Danny Orr because when he was playing at Cas he used to say; ‘Make sure you enjoy it, it’ll soon go quick and you’ll soon be coming to the end of your career and you will be saying where has time gone?’. There’s still a lot of life in me yet and I’m still enjoying it.”

During August Castleford Tigers welcomed Gareth O’Brien on a loan for the remainder of 2020, it’s his second spell with the club after featuring in two games back in 2013 and Gaz mentioned Adz as one of the familiar faces he knew stepping back into Cas this time, but not just from his short stint previously as Adz explains.

“It was brief, Ian Millward was the coach, I think there were two lads from Warrington who came at the same time and I can vaguely remember him turning up and the club was going through a bit of a tough period at that time. I played with and against Gaz at amateur and Academy level, regional camps and stuff and I always remember Gaz O’Brien coming through with Owen Farrell, the two together. It’s good to see what they’ve both done since then, I’ve sort of kept an eye on his career since really. I think he’s fit in well, fullback is a tough position, especially at Cas as a key cog in how we play and attack. He’s doing a good job at the minute and the more time he spends there, the more he’s going to learn and get better for us.”

In the current Castleford Tigers squad, we have what the club likes to call #ONECLUB men, these players have been with the Fords for a number of years and have only ever played for this great club. Adam is one of those men and is closing in on his 250th match as a player for Cas, a remarkable feat that he takes a lot of pride in achieving.

“It does mean a lot to me now, I’m coming into my testimonial year whether it’s next year or delayed I’m not too sure but I remember I was ball boy at the game where Cas got relegated – fast forward to 2017 and us winning the league shows what a turnaround it’s been. I’ve sort of been there throughout them years with Cas and how much it means to the lads who have been involved all those years such as me, Oggy and Massey, how much it means to be part of that team that’s gone from fighting relegation to come 10 years on and be fighting for the title.

“I think that makes us proud, seeing people’s appearance milestones – I’m chalking them off at the minute, the higher you go you see some of the legends of this club and you’re in and around them. It’s something I’ll look back on in my career and think I’ve not been too bad.”

With youngsters expected to be given more chances this season with matches coming thick and fast, Adam believes that there is potential that more #ONECLUB men will be with Castleford Tigers in the years to come.

“Cas was known for being a club nearer the bottom but now we’re fighting for silverware year on year, I don’t see why lads, local lads especially, would be wanting to go anywhere else. Financially Cas might not be able to compete with other clubs but players are wanting to play with top teams and these young lads I don’t see why they would have high aspirations of staying at Cas and hopefully going on to win something at their local club.”

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