Castleford Tigers Scholarship side are now halfway through their 2022 campaign and the Fords’ Head of Youth Development, Rob Nickolay, sat down to chat to castlefordtigersfoundation.co.uk about the progression his side have made this year.
Watch the video in full on our YouTube Channel below!
The Tigers’ Scholars are coming off the back of a well-deserved 30-20 away victory over Salford Red Devils with tries from Jay Seal, Harry Maule, Jacob Hall, Alfie Hawkhead, and a brilliant brace from Sam Grice.
During half-term recently the entire squad spent the day down at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle where they completed their mid-season reviews as well as taking part in a training session, and Nickolay began by explaining how important it is for the youngsters to get a feel of the First Team environment.
“When it’s half-term break it’s a great opportunity to get the boys in and make them feel part of the club. It allows them to get that exposure to what it looks like to be a first team player and being around the place day to day.
“The morning was spent reflecting on the mid-point of the Scholarship season for them to look at where they are at and how they have found it so far. Next week they have their Personal Development Plans so they’ll have some goals heading into that which they can work on.
“This afternoon they have had a gym and field split session, so they have had a pretty hectic day, which has been really good.”
Castleford’s Scholarship pack have a record of two victories, one draw, and one defeat so far this campaign, however, the Tigers’ Head of Youth Development outlined that the programme and pathway that the players are on is much more about their development as an individual.
“The main part of our programme is that it is a development programme first and foremost. We aren’t looking at it from a performance standpoint but we need to get their reflections and where they are at so we can look at what their path forward is.
“We can then set some short and long-term goals for them to push on.”
2022 marks Nickolay’s first year working in the club’s youth department, and he stated that working with the Scholarship squad has been a great experience for him personally, as he hopes to see the young guns progress through the Cas system.
“I am really enjoying it. This Scholarship group is an exceptional group to work with and have taken on board the standards that we are setting. These under 16s are the future of the club and we want to start building that legacy which we will take forward.
“Those boys who will take to the field for the first team in the coming years will hopefully come from this group.”
Being in and amongst the First Team stars and using the same facilities as the senior players always gives the young players at the club a boost and something to aspire to in their future careers.
All of the teams at the Tigers have access to the same professional equipment and provisions, which Nickolay indicates presents how the club as a whole are looking to drive that connection between all of the teams.
“It’s huge for them to be down at the ground rubbing shoulders with the first team lads because the mentality that we want to build is that we are #ONECLUB. We use the same facilities for the Scholarship, Academy, Reserves and the Women’s team which brings the place alive a little bit.
“It gives everyone something to aspire to because as the first team boys are leaving the gym our boys are entering which is a really good experience for them.”
The Scholars’ next fixture is a big home clash against St Helens on the 15th of June and in closing, Cas’ Head of Youth Development put forward that all of the players have fully accepted the philosophy he has instilled so far this year as he looks to give some of the younger players a chance to shine in the upcoming contests.
“The group have certainly grown this year and we have a set identity on where we want to take the team and our game model. They have all taken it on board and they have really bought into it. You can already start to see the shoots of what they have been learning and taking it into the games that we have played.
“We have four games left this year so those under 15s, who are the younger boys in that group, will get some game time coming up as those under 16s look ahead to be part of that under 18s programme next year.”
If you are interested in joining the Tigers College and study alongside being part of the Tigers’ Scholarship team, you can find out more information by clicking HERE.
Some of our young Scholarship stars are also available to sponsor, and if you are interested in sponsoring one of our Tigers of the future, please email [email protected].