Posted: Wednesday 10th March 2021

Hall has high hopes for 2021

The 18-year old returns to the First Team squad after making his debut in 2020. Here he talks about his progression since then and his aims for this next season.

This time last year, Sam Hall was already a Castleford Tigers First Team player, with the youngster making his debut off the bench in a thrilling 16-12 win vs. Wigan in Round 2. Now with his first proper preseason almost under hist belt, the young forward still remembers that Thursday night…

“I remember the date well – it came up on my memories on my phone! It made me realise how quickly last year has gone since playing that debut game, it’s just gone by so quick!”

A year on from his experience, Hall has progressed, and yet despite having a squad number again for the coming season, the novelty of being in and around the experienced heads of the Fords’ First Team has yet to wear off.

“It is still a bit surreal, obviously I made that debut game, and then two or three weeks later, we all went into lockdown and it’s coming up a year since then! This preseason I’ve come on loads and loads – last year I wasn’t really in with the First Team through preseason but this preseason it’s just another step up! So between playing that debut game and then having this preseason I’ve just been really enjoying it.”

“Just in terms of being with all the First Team players at every training session, doing extras, it’s probably one of the toughest things I’ve done physically, it’s very demanding, but I’m just learning loads!”

Playing in the pack puts Sam alongside some of the most experienced Tigers’ in the whole squad! And being around the veterans has certainly helped him learn and look to add to his own skillset.

“I’ve spoken to [Nathan] Massey a lot, but everyone really! Obviously Sui [Matagi] has just come in too and I try to learn a lot off of him: His footwork in training is just amazing and I don’t think I’ve tackled him square on all year yet! So that’s definitely something I’m trying to work on. With every player, they’ve all got something different that I can learn and try to add to my game, so that’s all I’m trying to do really.”

While after their first preseason with the First Team, many a young player sets themselves a target to make their debut, this is a milestone that Sam has already crossed, and so he’s looking to become a more regular part of Head Coach Daryl Powell’s plans heading in 2021.

“As a young lad, it’s all about trying to get into that team! Obviously, I’ve played in that one Super League game, but I don’t just want to play one! – I’ll be trying to get in that team as much as I can this year, obviously it’s a hard, hard challenge to break through with the talent of the older players, but if I get a chance I’ve just got to take it and play as well as I can. I’m really enjoying it, it’s my first full preseason in with everyone and just skill-wise it’s helping me come on as a player so much more.”

Finally, being given your first team squad number for a second time is a significant achievement, but it’s also an achievement for the 18-year old’s family and made sure to secure a special present for those who have helped him to get where he’s at right now.

“Yeah, after my debut my family were pretty proud and at Christmas, my present for my Grandad was my debut shirt, so he loved that and obviously he’s a big inspiration for me, so when I got my squad number and such, he loves to get all the pictures on his phone now!”