Ambitious Adam Milner determined to deliver silverware for beloved Castleford Tigers in testimonial year

Unfinished business will be the order of the day for Castleford Tigers’ Adam Milner as he starts his testimonial year in 2021.

LONG-SERVING: Castleford's Adam Milner celebrates his try against Toronto Wolfpack. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

The sentiment works on a number of levels, not least in terms of a disappointing 2020.

It promised so much but petered out poorly for the West Yorkshire club which has been the England international’s home for more than the last decade.

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However, 2017 is not far from Milner’s thoughts either, the year when the industrious loose forward helped Castleford finish top for the first time in its long history only to fire blanks in the Grand Final against Leeds Rhinos.

DELIGHT: Castleford's Adam Milner celebrates at the final hooter after beating Huddersfield Giants in the 2011 Challenge Cup quarter-final. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The key components are there again for next term; recently anointed Steve Prescott Man of Steel Paul McShane, tyro half-back Jake Trueman, Milner himself and – perhaps in their final season – captain Michael Shenton and Australian prop Grant Millington.

Clearly, there would be no better way to celebrate his milestone campaign with Castleford (Milner debuted in 2010) than to deliver on so much promise and finally win their first-ever league title.

“It’s been talked about at the start of every year – we want to go win some silverware – but we’ve fallen short, especially in 2017,” he said.

“We always go back to that year and how close we got.

Castleford Tigers' coach Daryl Powell. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

“This last year was disappointing, too, and we have a lot to fix up to even to put ourselves in the reckoning for major trophies.

“No one wants to go out and win a trophy more than us but every team is in the same position and it is now down to us to go out and achieve it; it’s only ourselves who can do it.”

Castleford were second and had just slayed champions St Helens when coronavirus shut down the season in March.

There was no reason to think they could not pick up where they left off when it eventually resumed in August but, instead, and for myriad reasons, Daryl Powell’s side barely managed to even get going again and limped in at eighth.

Milner, who debuted for England in 2018 and won three caps, knows there might not be many more chances, particularly for this current squad.

“I look back now and 10 years has flown by,” he conceded.

“I’m sitting here now with only a League Leaders’ medal. I know it’s a lot for Cas to have got that feat but as a player you want to look back at some major silverware and I’m yet to do that at Cas and in my career.

“It’s certainly my priority.”

Given his improving displays, the Wakefield-born former hooker – who emerged from Castleford’s academy – did reportedly court interest from the NRL before signing a new three-year deal at Wheldon Road in 2018.

He has no regrets staying.

“My agent was pushing me to go out there,” recalled Milner, who marked 250 games for the Tigers against Warrington Wolves earlier this year.

“Nothing materialised but it was a tricky situation really; Cas was going so well at the time and – as a local lad – I didn’t ever want to miss out on Cas going on to win silverware. And my testimonial had me tied down at the club.

“We did miss out in 2017 but I said then I wanted to win something with the club.

“I’m into the last year of my contract now and hopefully it’s a year we go on and do that.”

Milner has become an integral cog in Powell’s squad, even if he does not always start at No13, and he sees no reason why he should not extend that career-long association with the club.

“I’m still enjoying my time at Cas; it’s all I’ve ever known,” he added. “It’s just important I start the season well and who knows what will happen, whether Cas comes in and wants to keep me or it’s elsewhere. I’ve got to let my performances do the talking really. I don’t want to look too far down the line but I have always been happy here.”

It is easy to forget he only celebrated his 29th birthday as recently as Saturday; benefit years tend to be associated with gnarled veterans. But Milner is arguably entering his prime and he will be keen to reclaim an England place with the 2021 World Cup looming.

“My baby face might deceive a few people but, yes, it has been 11 years now playing for Cas,” he said, the squad returning to work this week for a brief three-day camp to prepare themselves for what is to come next month and the real business of pre-season.

“It’s been some journey.

“I could have applied for the testimonial last year but Shenny was running with his.

“It was good to see it be granted by the RFL and, on a personal note, it is a proud moment.

“I’d like to think we can crack on it. I was late to announce it as I wasn’t too sure what would happen with Covid but, with the vaccine coming out, it looks like brighter days for next year.

“But it’d just be good to get the interaction between fans and players as that is what we miss; the game is not the same – sport isn’t worldwide – without the fans, so hopefully it will be a good and successful year for us at Cas.”

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