Castleford Tigers: New coach Lee Radford keen to sort Jake Trueman’s fitness issues in time for 2022 Super League season

Head coach Lee Radford believes it is imperative Castleford Tigers get Jake Trueman fit and firing in 2022.

Jake Trueman only made seven appearances for Castleford Tigers in 2021, one of which was the Challenge Cup final loss to St Helens. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

The gifted stand-off missed much of the last campaign due to a troublesome back injury which eventually led to an operation.

He made just seven Super League appearances, the last in May, and did not feature after July’s Challenge Cup final loss.

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Trueman, 22, was Super League Young Player of the Year in 2018 and toured with Great Britain the following year.

Castleford hope surgery has cured the issue and Radford said: “He’s had some issues with his back for a couple of years now.

“He had an op’ when we knew we couldn’t progress to the (top) six; it was all about getting him under the knife as soon as possible to give him an opportunity for this pre-season.

“Truey is a fantastic player, instrumental to this team – I think – and we need him on the field. Whatever his back issue is, we need to try and get it fixed as soon as we can and get him injury-free, leading the team around the park.”

Trueman will hope to be ready to go again for the start of the new season and also push on into the England reckoning for the World Cup next autumn.

PLANNING AHEAD: Castleford Tigers' head coach, Lee Radford Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Another player in national coach Shaun Wane’s thoughts is Castleford full-back Niall Evalds, who made his Test debut in the win against France last month.

He faces tough competition from the likes of Sam Tomkins but Radford – who has taken over at Wheldon Road from Daryl Powell – said: “I think they will take two (full-backs) in a squad.

“That (World Cup) has got to be his (Evalds) aspiration. I really like Niall and speaking to Andy Last (Castleford assistant coach) as well, who’s on the (England) staff, I think Shaun (Wane) likes him as well. He’s a head down, ar*e up type of player; you don’t get any fuss out of him, he trains hard and plays well.”