Posted: Sunday 10th October 2021

Castleford Tigers Women: Exciting times ahead

Following the conclusion of the Castleford Tigers Women’s 2021 season, Community Director of Castleford Tigers Foundation Simon Fox details the vision of the team going forward.

The growth of women’s rugby league has been nothing short of phenomenal, in fact, our Castleford Tigers Women’s team is still only five years old and in that time so much of the sport has already changed

Playing standards continue to rise, as do both supporter and commercial interest, but like every organisation Covid has provided a series of challenges.

Contrary to what some believe, the Tigers Women’s team is funded thanks in part to the hard work of Castleford Tigers Foundation, the tremendous support shown by sponsors, as well as Club funding. Costs all add up and can be vast, but that does not and should not deter or shape us. Moving forward we as a Club believe we know what is needed to progress our Tigers Women team to the next level.

Sport-wide the growth of the women’s game needs to have an achievable development pyramid, developing the talent pool by expanding the involvement and support of community clubs, which will feed into a successful Women’s Super League season upon season. This development pyramid has been discussed with all clubs and with The RFL and will be vital to the long-term sustainable growth of the women’s game. The RFL has worked hard to ensure the Women’s Super League has been played this year and they also have created a game-wide five-year expansion plan with every club to advance the women’s game further into its elite status.
Reflecting on 2021

Reflecting on Castleford Women’s 2021 season, yes, a number of our high-performing players did move on from the club during the season. Did it hurt us? Yes. Will we overreact? No. Whilst that is sport in many respects, we at Castleford Tigers have our growth model that we firmly believe in.

The players and staff who have been involved with the Tigresses in 2021 have shown incredible spirit during a tough season and still made it to two semi-finals this year! Our players understand the need to grow the wider playing base, and our desire to further improve or develop the team to compete at the highest level.

The Tigers remain realistic, there may be some clubs who wish to pay their players, but at this stage, all that does is skew the game-wide economic model which is already highly under pressure. For clarity – should the women’s players be paid for their hard work and commitment? Absolutely, with the right sustainability which we all hope comes sooner rather than later, within the right infrastructure of the game – without that it can be like a game of ‘business jenga’.

So, what next for Castleford Tigers Women?

Following ongoing discussion with Marie Colley and Kirsty Moroney, along with the rest of the women’s playing staff, Castleford Tigers Foundation will be seeking to recruit a top-quality Women’s Head Coach. This person will lead on moving the team forward and will support the overall development pyramid, both internally as Castleford and game-wide.

  • Our Women’s team will get direct support from fellow club coaching staff: Lee Radford, Andy Last, Danny Wilson, and Rob Nickolay.
  • Castleford Tigers Women have access to use the coaching staff’s new, bespoke player characteristic and analysis software – this will be pivotal in the development and growth of our players.
  • Fans will be able to attend home matches when they are played at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle, with 2022 Members getting access with their membership card. We hope to welcome plenty of Cas fans down to the ground when the Tigresses take to the pitch at Whedon Road. 
  • The Tigresses will have use of great facilities at external locations and at The Jungle too.

Exciting times ahead

In the space of just five years, a huge amount of work has been done with Castleford Tigers Women, and even more will be needed as we seek to go forward. We are committed to that cause for our team, and to play our part in improving the development pyramid and see more women playing the sport we all love.

There are so many reasons to be positive, to be excited, and to challenge ourselves as a club and a sport, but we cannot shy away from the graft and from the effort required to get there.

Make no mistake, 2022 is a year we are hugely excited about!