Castleford Tigers boss Lee Radford gives verdict on facing Daryl Powell in SECOND game of new season

Lee Radford’s first Betfred Super League game in charge of Castleford Tigers will be against Salford Red Devils - before swiftly going into battle against his predecessor.

Castleford Tigers boss Lee Radford

The opening two rounds of the 2022 campaign were confirmed tonight - the full schedule is revealed tomorrow morning - with former Hull FC chief Radford and his new-look Castleford side hosting Salford at Wheldon Road on Friday February 11 (8pm).

Hull KR are also at home when they begin their campaign against Wigan Warriors on the same night in Sky Sports’ televised broadcast, while Leeds Rhinos welcome Warrington Wolves on Saturday February 12 (12.30) as part of Channel 4’s first coverage of the competition.

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Huddersfield Giants are in action on Saturday, too, when they make history as newly-promoted Toulouse Olympique’s first Super League opponents at Stade Ernest Wallon (8pm) before Wakefield Trinity host Hull on Sunday February 13 (3pm).

The competition opens with a 2021 Grand Final rematch as champions St Helens begin their title defence against Catalans Dragons on Thursday February 10 (8pm).

After taking on Salford, Castleford visit Warrington in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Thursday February 17.

That, of course, sees them up against their former coach Daryl Powell, whose successful eight-year reign at Wheldon Road came to a close at the end of the season with Radford taking over.

Castleford stars Oli Holmes and Pete Mata’utia followed Powell to Warrington while Australian centre Jake Mamo went the other way, meaning he will quickly return to his old ground Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Super League and Channel 4 have linked for 2022 and 2023 (SIMON WILKINSON/SWPIX)

That contest will clearly generate plenty of interest but Radford insisted to The Yorkshire Post: “It will be for a lot of people but not for me.

“For me, it’s just Warrington v Castleford. But for plenty of people at the club, and even the Cas supporters themselves who have been fans for years, I imagine it will be pretty huge for them going over there for that one.”

Ironically, Tigers also face Salford - also under new command with Paul Rowley having replaced Richard Marshall - in their final pre-season warm-up.

Radford, who has made eight new signings for 2022, said “Obviously, it’s not ideal.

Warrington Wolves and Leeds Rhinos will do battle in round one of Super League. (ALLAN MCKENZIE/SWPIX)

“We’ve got them in a friendly and then again the following week as we start Super League.

“Salford have recruited well and I saw the other day their predicted 17 on a newsfeed somewhere. They are a strong outfit.

“In Paul Rowley, they’ve a new coach, too, who previously, at Leigh and with Toronto, has had sides who could throw the ball around as, more often than not, they were dominant in their division.

“They played a lot of footy and it’ll be an interesting first game.

“But mainly, it’s great to be at home and we’ll be looking to get off to a great start.”

In other round two fixtures, Leeds visit Wigan in Sky’s televised broadcast on Friday February 18 (8pm).

The following day sees Hull host St Helens (12.30) in Channel 4’s next offering, Huddersfield entertain Hull KR (3pm) and Wakefield make the trip to Catalans (6pm) who today confirmed they have strengthened their squad with the signing of Canterbury Bulldogs’ Queensland State of Origin prop Dylan Napa on a two-year deal.

But the big news today was, of course, that two-year deal to show 10 games per season live on Channel 4 who recently moved their headquarters to Leeds.

They have been increasing their live sport portfolio, showing Heineken Cup rugby union games since 2018 (when they also took over coverage of the Ireland’s autumn internationals) and broadcasting the 2019 cricket World Cup final.

Earlier this year, they followed up with the first live coverage of a Test match on terrestrial television for more than 15 years when it showed England’s series in India, the first Test victory reaching nearly six million viewers.

Radford is excited by the prospect of Super League now being live on terrestrial television for the first time in its history.

“Getting broadcast on Channel 4 can only be a good thing for the sport in terms of getting national exposure,” he said.

“Their influence will be really important and the commentary team they put together will have a real impact on generating interest. It’s going to be interesting to see where they go with it.”

Round One

Thursday February 10: St Helens v Catalans Dragons (8pm) Sky Sports

Friday February 11: Castleford Tigers v Salford Red Devils (8pm)

Hull KR v Wigan Warriors (8pm) Sky Sports

Saturday February 12: Leeds Rhinos v Warrington Wolves (12.30pm) Channel 4

Toulouse Olympique v. Huddersfield Giants (8pm) Sky Sports

Sunday February 13: Wakefield Trinity v Hull FC (3pm)

Round Two

Thursday February 17: Warrington Wolves v Castleford Tigers(8pm) Sky Sports

Friday February 18: Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos (8pm) Sky Sports

Saturday February 19: Hull FC v St Helens (12.30pm) Channel 4

Huddersfield Giants v Hull KR (3pm)

Catalans Dragons v Wakefield Trinity (6pm)

Sunday February 20: Salford Red Devils v Toulouse Olympique (3pm)