Castleford Tigers Foundation’s PDRL side had another weekend to remember at the latest Physical Disability Super League festival which was hosted by Wigan Warriors.
The Fords’ PDRL squad were scheduled to face three tough sides through the day with the Tigers coming up against Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, and Warrington Wolves.
Going into the most recent festival, Castleford had plenty of momentum behind them having won four in a row and the pack used that to full effect on Saturday by winning all three of their matches to extend their unbeaten run to a remarkable seven games.
Reflecting on a memorable day of PDRL action, Castleford’s Mike McGann talked through three unforgettable performances.
“It was a very tough day. The squad were absolutely awesome and really pulled it out of the bag on Saturday. Our first match was a tough one against Leeds, at the start we went into a 12-0 lead, but they managed to pull it back to 12 all. Tamsy (Simon Tams) grabbed the winner for us virtually in the last move. There was about 30 seconds left so we had to defend hard after that, but we showed some real hard graft. Rhinos definitely made us earn that win but for all of us to stick in there and to get the win over them was a wonderful start to the day.
“We then had a quick turnaround because I think we only had about 10 minutes recovery time before we played Wigan. It was another competitive match in which we won with the last move of the game. We were behind and in the final seconds before Rickie (Richard Fisher) went over and we knew we’d got the win before Nick (Kennedy) kicked it. Again, we just all dug in and showed that never say die attitude in the squad. We have improved tactically which helps us stay calm in situations like that.
“It was a bit of a fiery game against Warrington, but we all kept our heads because we knew we needed to remain level to do what we needed to do to win the match. We kept our calm and got the win by 22 points to 10. It was satisfying because Warrington were one of the first PDRL teams and have won finals, so it was satisfying to get a comfortable win.”
The Tigers’ winning run is even more remarkable when you take into account the number of players unable to attend the festival and McGann pinpoints the teams’ togetherness as a major factor in how they have been able to keep their streak going.
“We all fight for each other, and we are always proud to pull on the Castleford shirt. The pride that we get in not just playing for Cas but how we go about it. It’s something that I have always said is that I’m most proud of the ethos and how we play the game.
“For me that is what I look proudly on because we go out and play rugby as it should be within the ethos of PDRL. To get on such a roll now of seven wins on the bounce is absolutely brilliant for everyone involved.”
This season has seen a number of new faces join the Fords’ PDRL setup with a few connecting with the squad through the club’s partnership with open talking group, Andy’s Man Club.
McGann explained how pleasing it is to see the PDRL game growing at the Tigers and outlined the positive impact it has had on the new members already.
“It’s brilliant to see new faces come on board and of course that brings a bit more strength in depth. The lovely bit for some of the new players is that they have come off the back of being involved with Andy’s Man Club and had their eyes opened to what is available at the club. They are absolutely brilliant lads, and you see the joy in their faces when they play.
“It shows that talking to someone is the best thing you can do because they are now part of a winning squad and have brought so much to us. They are absolutely loving it and it’s a great story.”
Everyone at Castleford Tigers were saddened to hear the news that PDRL player Connor Lynes suffered a stroke recently but are now over the moon to see Connor fully back on the road to recovery.
In closing, McGann put forward how in awe he is of his teammates’ resilience during such a tough period and stated how all the squad are looking forward to seeing Connor back in action very soon.
“It was a nice touch from Wigan who came up to us before we played them and do a minute’s applause for Connor who is recovering from his stroke. He’s such a lovely lad. It’s horrendous what he’s going through, but his strength and his mentality is brilliant. We miss him and we can’t wait to see him down at training before the next festival. Everyone is behind him.”
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