The Castleford Tigers Women’s team has grown massively on and off the pitch since the start of the season. With only a handful of players that were with the Tigresses in the previous season, Head Coach Matty Faulkner effectively started the season with a blank canvas.
After getting their first two points on the board last weekend, the hard work is coming to fruition, and the aim to not just have a team, but a pathway to excellence and a chance of progression is a key part of why Matty wanted to be involved with the Tigresses.
“We had a lot of conversations over the last couple of weeks in-house about how far we have come. We could have quite easily just focussed on the women’s team and not run an academy or scholarship programme. Looking at the bigger picture, for Women’s Rugby League you’ve got to have these steps in place.”
The key to any success is having the right roots. Having a continuous stream of players coming through to stop any shortages within squads, whilst also allowing players to progress is vital. With the rise of Women’s sport, in particular Rugby League, it is pivotal that things are done right from the ground up and more Women are getting the chance to play the game.
“There’s no use having the women’s team and staying up this year and not having anything underneath it. You need to have that pathway of girls coming through. With the college, the academy & the youth system that is in place we have a nice pathway, as well as a very young team competing in the Super League 2.”
It was a fantastic weekend for Matty Faulkner’s Tigresses, who won in sweltering conditions against a Leigh Miners Rangers side who had beat them two weeks previously. This keeps them in the hunt for Super League 2 survival and that would be key to the progression of the pathway at Castleford Tigers Women.
Matty expressed his happiness in the win and how much the win at the weekend meant to him and the squad as a whole.
“I’m really pleased, the girls really deserve it. We’ve had our backs against the wall selection-wise recently, but we finally got to focus, and the girls got what they deserved.”
With three games left of the season, all in the space of a seven-day period after a two-week break, Faulkner wants to finish the season on a high.
“The games come thick and fast. The Wakefield game is a big one for us, both at the bottom on two points. Then Warrington back-to-back, one midweek that will be a different test for the girls, and then at home where we can try and finish on a positive. You see how Warrington are going and it will be nice to see how far we’ve come this year.”
“Everyone has played their part this season and we’re starting to find out what our starting 13 is now. We’re three games from the end of the season, so that shows us how quickly things have come at us. In the Leigh game, everything just fell into place for us. The really pleasing part for me was the second half, keeping them at zero and they came at us really fast, but we kept them out.”
It’s been a season of transition for the Tigresses, but with the campaign in its final stages, the developing and young side can look ahead to building towards next season with Matty Faulkner at the helm.
“We’ve had our ups and downs, and we’ve had a couple of setbacks, but we’re getting to where we want to be and that will show in the last few games. We’ve got some quality players in the group and some that should be playing at a high level. We’ve got the facilities, coaches, medical staff in place to compete with any top-level programme.”
The Tigresses will play Wakefield at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle on the 28th of August, followed by an away trip to Victoria Park to play Warrington. They will finish their season against Warrington at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle on the 4th of September. Get down and support the Tigresses as they look to finish on a high this season.