A warm welcome back to 23-year-old Leigh Powell whose rugby league career began with the Tigers during their early formation back in 2016. Powell was one of the Club’s first back rowers before making the move to Featherstone Rovers where she impressively trained with England under Head Coach Craig Richards and played for the England Lionesses. With a background in rugby union too, Powell awaits the date for her final trial with Yorkshire where she is also eligible to represent this year, if selected.
Speaking about her appointment as vice-captain of the Fords, Powell said: “It’s an honour to be named the vice-captain. I have played rugby union and league all my life and never once have I been offered either captain or vice-captain.
“It’s something new for me to step up and I feel honoured that Matty is trusting me in that role. Kaitlin is a younger girl, and I will be there to back up her decisions and help guide the team into the right direction.”
The Tigresses are well into their pre-season and are just over two weeks away from their first competitive fixture in the Challenge Cup. It’s been a short space of time for the players to get on board with one another, however, Leigh explained the camaraderie has already built amongst the squad.
“It’s a lovely atmosphere to be around at Castleford. There are loads of girls coming through the youth teams and it’s really nice to be a part of. I can see a team spirit where there are no bubbles or exclusions, and everyone is working together really well.
“Your likes of Chloe Smith, Kaitlin Varley and Tally Bryer, I think they are really going to shine this year.”
With experience previously in the Women’s Betfred Super League, Leigh will be one of the senior players of the squad this season. Talking about her own personal qualities as well as those of her teammates, the backrower said: “I’m relatively experienced at 23-years-old, and I want to help teach the girls the right line to run to have that impact in the game and spur them on. I’m quite loud but fully committed to motivating the girls on through the harder times.
“We’ve had several girls coming down from a rugby union background and they could really change the way that Cas will play this season.”
Head Coach Matty Faulkner has been extremely busy with recruitment and revitalising the squad following its disruptions last year, but Leigh is a player he recalled following her previous involvement with the Club and thinks will be a big addition to the team this year.
“Leigh is a really big personality in the group, she leads the group really well and has brought some really strong girls with her. Leigh will be a big part of our pack moving forward.”
It’s a fascinating time to be part of the Tigresses who look to reinstate their identity within the competition and Leigh is fully on board with the movement.
“People are already pushing us aside as competitors in the Super League, but I really think that with the new players and the younger girls coming in that we are going to surprise some people.
“We’ve already set our goals this season – it’s to reach that top 5 in the Super League. We want to show the other teams that we are here to compete, not to play around.”