January 31, 2023

LEE Radford, having tasted life at the top of the rugby league world, knows one thing: he’d rather play the way he does here than in the NRL.

The Castleford boss has returned to his day job after helping Samoa reach a historic World Cup final, ending England’s hopes.



Lee Radford was part of the Samoa team when they reached the historic World Cup final.Credit: SWPIX.COM

Working with superstars such as Jerome Luai, Joseph Suaali and Brian To’o has taught him a few things and there will be some changes on Weldon Road.

But while those who practice their craft in the Lower Dungeon do things one way, when two referees make the ruck faster, he would rather play rugby.

Radford said: “If there is ever a proposal to invite two judges here, I definitely will not support – there are two ways to skin a cat.

“The NRL are quick and fast, but given the speed of the ruck there, they play less rugby than we do.


“Here you can stick more people into the tackle, so you have to play more. You must move the ball from east to west more.

“I prefer to play rugby league low risk rugby, outside of cancer.


“They don’t have time on the ground in the NRL so the game looks different. That’s what got Samoa into trouble in the first game against England, it was a shock.


“The rate of cancer was so low compared to it. Some of the things you can do here are simply not possible in NRL. You have a second referee behind you, who tells you to move and dismount.

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“The Samoans have done some things differently than we did at Cas – there will be a few different technical things that will change.

“There is nothing revolutionary in this, they just pay more attention to certain areas. But you still preach the same thing.


“They are still important whether you play international, club or amateur rugby. There are some areas where you have to be good in order to be successful.”

Gareth Widdop will be a big addition to Castleford in 2023.


Gareth Widdop will be a big addition to Castleford in 2023.1 credit

Radford is not the only Castleford player to lose to Australia in the World Cup final – new player Gareth Widdop was part of England’s agonizing 6-0 defeat in 2017.

But knowing that you were there and saw it and also did it in the NRL will prove to be vital.

It will be the same with a smile on the face of the midfielder, and he will hold the ball in his hands.

Radford added: “Gareth will be very useful to us and I’m sure he will be a really important player.

“It will not only be mental but also in terms of gameplay and he comes to practice with a smile on his face. That’s one of his reasons for moving, he wanted to start enjoying rugby again.

“And we think we can get the most out of him if he enjoys it. Gareth plays the way he sees and reacts to the defensive line – as a coaching staff, we try to promote guys who risk their hand and he is one of those who do it.

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