Since making his debut with the Castleford Tigers Foundation PDRL side, Richard Fisher has loved being part of the squad, is hoping for an England call-up and targeting a strong finish for the Fords on Finals Day!
The final club PDRL festival ahead of the Finals Day in September was held on Saturday, 13th August at Bradford Bulls’ Odsal Stadium and Castleford had three matches to play against Wigan, Bradford, and Leeds.
Cas went into the festival on a real hot streak winning seven matches in a row, extending it to nine before Leeds halted the run with a narrow win 8-4. It was good to get two more wins on the board, but not for Fisher who wanted that third one to make it ten in a row!
“Everybody else seems to see it that way, but not me! I hate losing and to lose to the Rhinos of all teams was horrible! Two out of three isn’t bad and we’re into the playoffs now!”
Ricky sadly snapped his LCL last year and then also suffered a car crash which resulted in a fractured kneecap that will never be fully repaired, which led to him being told he would never play rugby again.
Fast forward to now, he has been a big part of the Tigers’ terrific PD team, their impressive winning run, AND featured in the England PDRL vs PDRL Selection representation game ahead of Rugby League World Cup.
“It’s been a great performance (nine wins in a row) and I’ve felt so privileged to play with all our team, the attitude we’ve all brought towards it and the way they have made me feel welcome and brought me in has been special.
Fisher alongside a few new faces to the team during 2022 has lifted the spirits even further of a very close-knit squad, with their contribution to the squad has been well recognised the coaches too.
“Over the past three or four festivals now, even the coaches Mat & Jamie have come up to me saying ‘Having you, George and Ryan have boosted everyone’s confidence up’, so the feeling around us is good. It was just what I needed for my state of mind trying to get back into the game, and it seems as well that it has been good for Cas to get them extra players and a bit of a lift again.”
Every Monday evening at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle, the Tigers host free open group talking sessions with men’s mental health charity Andy’s Man Club, and through attending AMC Ricky found out more about the PDRL side and got involved.
“It’s been great doing something just for me, I usually don’t do stuff for myself, I do stuff for my kids, but I can’t actually put it into words how much it has made me a much happier person to be around.”
Following the final club festival of the year, Castleford finished fourth in the PDRL league table and will be part of a knockout qualifier for the semi-final against Wigan Warriors on Finals Day on Saturday, 10th September at the Belle Vue Sports Village in Manchester.
If Cas win their game against Wigan they likely will go into a semi-final against table-topping Wakefield Trinity. Fisher has insisted that the focus of the squad is to not take Wigan lightly though and secure that semi-final spot, but there is no denying the Tigers have a larger view of going for the Grand Final too.
“It’s going to be massive; we’ve already been speaking about it when we’ve seen each other and talking about what we must do. First things first, we need to beat Wigan, concentrate on that before thinking how hard it could be against Wakefield.
“The first game is what we need to focus on first and hopefully, by the end of it, we will get to be at least in that final. We are the only team that has beaten Wakefield this year, so the pressure will be on them more than ourselves if we do get past Wigan.”
2022 has been another fantastic year of growth for PDRL, with even more clubs coming on board for 2023! In the Autumn, the first-ever PDRL Rugby League World Cup will take place between England, Wales, Australia, and New Zealand.
During August, some of the very best players from across the PDRL squads at clubs were part of a representational match between England PDRL and the PDRL Select. This gave Shaun Briscoe, England PDRL Head Coach the chance to look at plenty of players and who could be in his line-up for this October’s international competition.
Seven Tigers were involved on the day, with Fisher running the show for the Select side! He bagged himself a few assists and a meat pie!
“What a privilege that was, it was fantastic and nice to play with some lads whom you would normally play against and to be a part of something so big. It was the first time England PDRL have ever played a game and to say I was in the first team to go against them was another massive achievement in such a short period of time.
“The assists mean more to me than the score itself, I am one of those who would rather win and get an assist than go in to score on my own. It was fantastic and I think it shocked them how quickly we came out of the blocks and how much pressure we put on them. I think the England team thought it was going to be a lot easier.”
The question now is, has Ricky done enough to earn an England call-up? Only time will tell, but he’s not too sure how he would react if he did!
“It would be another step forward, it’s such a short time I’ve been involved in PDRL and to be just in the Select team was brilliant. To even be in consideration for my country is overwhelming, I think I would cry if I got a call or email saying I was selected!”
If you would like to get involved with Castleford Tigers PDRL team, then please contact [email protected].
Would you like to support and sponsor one of our PDRL players? Not only will you be actively supporting them, but you would also be supporting Castleford Tigers Foundation in its delivery of a whole host of programmes to help make peoples’ lives better.
Contact us for more information [email protected]