Brad Graham on making his debut
Posted: Tuesday 20th October 2020 - 8:00 AM
Castleford’s match against Hull FC on Sunday may have been one to forget, but not for Brad Graham - the latest Tigers youth product to make his senior debut!
Brad Graham became Castleford’s 1,001st player to take to the field for the club, a terrific occasion for a youngster who has been with the Tigers for over four years and worked his way through the youth system to achieve a long-time goal.
“Since I’ve been a young lad, I’ve watched rugby league all my life, and watched Cas matches with derbies against Wakey or Leeds and sat in the stand watching players like Michael Shenton and others, for me then to go out there and get a chance to play with them and make my Super League debut is something I’m really proud of,” said Graham when speaking to castlefordtigers.com.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do since a young age and not a lot of people get to do that but it’s a result of hard work over the last four, nearly five years with the club.
“I did grow up as a Wakefield fan like my family but when I was 14 the opportunity came up to either sign for my hometown club or Castleford. As soon as I looked around the club and spoke to the coaches like Darren Higgins and Pete Riding at the time, I knew Cas was the right option. Four years later it’s got me to making my Super League debut.”
19-year-old Brad joined Castleford at the age of 14 by becoming noticed at one of the club-run youth training sessions held at a local high school, he was offered a chance to join the Scholarship which he did and climbed the ladder into the Tigers Academy, of which he is now a graduate of.
“I started on what was called the ‘Embed the Pathway’ sessions up at Cas High, from about 13 I used to get up on a Saturday morning and I didn’t think too much would come from them but it led to getting the opportunity to sign at Scholarship level before moving up into the Academy and then the Reserves and First Team. I’m a homegrown club player, that’s something I’m proud of and working with different coaches along the way has got me to where I am today which I will always be grateful for.”
During the 2020 pre-season, Daryl Powell gave chances to the youngsters and because of his hard work and impressive performances shown, Brad was given the #28 shirt for the 2020 campaign and is going to work hard to keep a First Team shirt number for next season.
“100%, to get given a shirt number this year was a great reward for my efforts in the pre-season and so now I want to kick on and get more minutes within the First Team to show what I can do, and find my feet really in Super League to show what I’m about.”
Despite the Tigers still being in search of a second win since the restart of the season, the players are committed to keep working hard as Brad discusses.
“Everybody who puts a Cas badge on, whether it be a playing shirt or the staff or supporters, we’re all one big family and it’s hurting everybody at the minute that we’re not getting the wins but by no means are we not putting the effort in or working hard. That goes for coaches, players, staff, everybody is working really hard to get our next win. We all want it and when it comes it will be a really good feeling.”
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