EXCITING signing from Australia Justin Carney has touched down in the UK and has met his new Castleford Tigers team-mates for the first time this week.
The Tigers squad are back in training ahead of the 2013 season and looking for big things from winger Carney as well as their five other new signings, Michael Shenton, Jake Webster, Jordan Tansey, Weller Hauraki and Lee Gilmour.
Castleford have also welcomed new strength and conditioning coach Ben Cooper, who will play a crucial early role in assessing the capabilities of the players and working with the coaching staff to set individual targets.
Head coach Ian Millward said: “Having previously worked in the same role at Hull FC, Ben brings a wealth of experience with him that will no doubt have a positive impact on our pre-season preparations.”
Following a disappointing end to the 2012 campaign when the Tigers only just avoided the wooden spoon, Millward is keen to ensure the team has a strong build-up before the pre-season friendlies in January. The sentiment has been echoed by chief executive Steve Ferres who has stressed the importance of a change in culture and strong performances in the opening two months of the season.
Millward said: “Together with the coaching staff, we have conducted a thorough review of 2012 and will be looking to change our structures in both attack and defence.
“Whilst we do have some players still in rehab from off season, we are confident that all will be fit for our pre-season friendlies. We didn’t have that luxury in 2012 and it will be a massive boost for us as we prepare for 2013.”
Millward is particularly excited by the arrival of new signing Carney, who will be part of a new look back division and is expected to add more potency to the Tigers’ attack.
He added: “Justin is a fantastic talent and will be an important asset to our 2013 squad.
“He badly broke his leg in 2010 when he was on the verge of international selection, but he has now regained his confidence and I believe there will be no better winger in Super League next year.
“Like all our new signings, Justin is also a great personality who will really buy in to the community spirit we have at the club so there is no doubt he will be a favourite with our fans.”
Castleford Tigers have confirmed a second pre-season friendly when they will travel to play Hull FC at the KC Stadium on Sunday, January 13 (kick-off 2pm). They will also host Featherstone Rovers on Sunday, January 20 (kick-off 3.30pm).