Chairman on 2021 Tigers squad

Posted: Saturday 23rd January 2021 - 5:00 PM

This article was written by The Yorkshire Post's Dave Craven, you can read it directly HERE.

With Salford Red Devils full-back Niall Evalds, Huddersfield Giants duo Suaia Matagi and Jordan Turner plus Hull FC prop Lewis Bienek added to the mix, hopes are high Castleford can go all the way once the delayed campaign kicks-off on March 25.

They reached their one Grand Final in 2017 only to fall badly against Leeds Rhinos but – in the second and final part of an exclusive interview with The Yorkshire Post – Fulton said: “All our new players are filling places that give us a lot more depth and cover.

“The players are back in for pre-season, which looks as though it will be a long one with the campaign having now been put back (from March 11 due to the pandemic).

“Last season we got off to a great start. Then lockdown started and when the season resumed there was a lot of disruption; we just could not hit the form we previously had. If we can get off to a good start again, I see no reason why this team can’t win silverware. The desire to do this is as strong as ever and we start again with the same goals as every year: to win.”

Fulton is right; Tigers were in second spot and had just defeated champions St Helens when Covid-19 halted the season last March.

Yet, when they started up again in August, Daryl Powell’s side would win just two of their remaining 10 games.

Fans hark back to 2017 when Castleford finished top for the first time in their history and did so playing with a breathtaking brilliance. They have shown glimpses of that brio since but Fulton believes Powell’s squad has also matured and plenty of important experience and muscle memory has been developed, too.

“Yes, 2017 was a massive year; everything fell into place but not by accident,” he explained.

“Lots of work had gone into it led by Daryl and his coaching team. Behind the scenes, lots of work had been done to get us to that point, too. When you look back on previous years, you can see the changes that had taken place and going forward from 2017 those things still brought improvements.

“Cas’ is consistently a team at the top end of the league, challenging for the bigger prizes, and that is success in itself.”

As much as their traditional and ageing ground at Wheldon Road is still loved by fans, what undoubtedly will help the club kick-on further is moving to a purpose-built new stadium.

That has been talked about for decades so it is no stain on Fulton he has not managed to see it come to fruition since succeeding his late father Jack in 2015.

Plans for a new 10,000 all-seater stadium, as part of a £135m retail and leisure development and to be built by GMI Construction, appear to be still on hold.

“Stadium development has been a major issue for us for many years and still is,” he conceded.

“We work closely with GMI and the council to achieve a solution that will benefit us. As with all development that is funded by a third party, the decision-making is not in our hands. But it is our aim to see Cas’ playing in a stadium that fits our purpose.”

Castleford’s neighbours Featherstone Rovers applied to take Toronto Wolfpack’s place in Super League this year but – like Bradford Bulls, Toulouse Olympique, London Broncos and York City Knights – missed out to Leigh Centurions.

It would have been fascinating to see that derby – their grounds are barely five miles apart – in Super League for the first time.

Fulton offered: “Leigh are back and, while it would have been good to see another Yorkshire team in the competition, I like the decision to make it a British team.

“I don’t think having teams from distant countries does anything for the sport. We have seen these experiments before and with the exception of Catalans they have all failed.

“Building a strong competition in the host country, which in turn builds a stronger international game and raises its profile internationally, is important.”

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