Posted: Thursday 7th January 2021
Cas confirm 3 young Tigers for First Team 2021
Castleford Tigers can confirm three young players to be involved within the First Team environment in 2021!
Cain Robb has put pen to paper on a two-year contract running through to 2022, Brad Martin has extended his contract for a year and Brad Graham remains with the club in 2021. All three of the Tigers players have also featured for England at youth level.
Both Graham and Martin made their Super League debuts with the Tigers during the 2020 season and will be aiming to continue their professional progression as they look to compete for First Team spots in the new campaign. Cain Robb was called up into the 21-man squad for Castleford’s final game of 2020 against Leeds but did not feature in the matchday 17, he will be working hard to make his top-flight debut in 2021.
A Tigers Academy product, 18-year-old hooker Cain Robb was delighted to sign the two-year contract.
“It’s been good to get it all sorted and it’s a good opportunity to be training full time alongside all the players such as Macca (Paul McShane) and I have everyone helping me out when I ask questions to make me a better player."
“I’ve come through the Scholarship system under Danny Evans and all the Academy staff who have been phenomenal really with our development. I was a bit of an all-rounder and Danny turned me into a hooker and we went from there. Everyone here I can’t fault, they’ve been really good with me all the coaches.”
Last season was a memorable one for Tigers Academy graduate Brad Graham, who impressed during Castleford’s pre-season matches and was given squad number 28 in January. The 19-year-old made his Super League debut in October against Hull FC, and in 2021 he is aiming to compete for more top-flight match minutes.
“I’m really happy with how things went, I didn’t expect the opportunity to make my debut but with how the season went, it was a chance that came about, and I grabbed it with both hands,” said Graham.
“I’m looking to get more game time, more experience under my belt, a full pre-season and see what the future holds.
“We’ve got good options with Shenny (Michael Shenton), Pete (Mata’utia) and we’ve signed Jordan Turner and he will add some real quality in the centres. So, it’s just a challenge for someone like me who is new coming into it, getting to train with these boys is phenomenal. It pushes me to train harder and to want to be the best I can be and where I can also push them, I want to do that.”
Brad Martin joined Castleford Tigers ahead of the 2020 pre-season after coming through the Leeds Rhinos Academy and was called up into the First Team squad ahead of the first home game of the season against Wigan Warriors, receiving squad number 31. The 19-year-old trained with the First Team squad all season before making his Super League debut in October against Hull KR.
Commenting on the news of his extension Brad Martin said: “I’m really proud to have signed for another year, it was a bit of an awkward year as we all know, but I was glad to make my debut and show what I can do and earn another year. I’m really looking forward to this season; it should be good.”
Martin rejoins his fellow forwards in the Tigers' pack in 2021 and will continue his development alongside some highly experienced players.
“I’d like to learn from all of them really, we’ve got a lot of good senior players here so if I can take a bit from each of them then hopefully it will make me more of a rounded player. With seniors such as Millo (Grant Millington), it’s been good to get that experience off him.”
Head Coach Daryl Powell was pleased for the three young Tigers and commented on each of the players.
“We’ve been super impressed with Cain, his commitment to being a professional rugby league player I think is outstanding. He puts everything in there, he’s prepared to talk, he’s got some real instinct as a nine and is sharp out of dummy half. He just makes some little things happen and we think he’s got a decent future in the game and he is learning from a class nine in Paul McShane, but he’ll learn from anybody and I think it’s one of his biggest attributes.
“Brad Graham has a good physical frame, a good kid and I think the same with all these young players’ parents, they have done an awesome job in helping them to mature as young men. The jury is out a little bit on whether Brad is a centre or a back-rower because he is probably going to grow to be capable of playing in the back row too, another player with a really great attitude. It was a tough outing against Hull last year, but I think he learned a lot about himself and what was required to play in Super League, there is no doubt he will work exceptionally hard to achieve his goals.
“Brad Martin is one of those players who players don’t like to train against, he’s a handful and pretty explosive and fearless to boot. When he played last year, he showed up pretty well, really strong, he got knocked out, but he just needs to work on where to put his head when defending! But he has got potential and his explosiveness lends him to back or front row. We’ve got some good young players at the club at the moment and he is one of them.”
Director of Rugby at Castleford Tigers Jon Wells spoke about the young players within the First Team environment and said: “We’ve got a great group of young men here at the Tigers who are all better off after working with the First Team over the past year, the quality of the young kids that are coming through is a cut above what we’ve had in the past. That is going to provide extra pressure for places and that can only be a good thing.”