Castleford Tigers to link up with Craig Lingard's former club Batley Bulldogs in 2024

Castleford Tigers have entered a dual-registration partnership with Craig Lingard's former club Batley Bulldogs.

Lingard left the Bulldogs at the end of last season to take over as Castleford head coach.

The 45-year-old, who took Batley to the brink of Super League during his four-year spell in charge, will have the option to send his fringe players to Mount Pleasant in 2024 to keep them match fit.

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“I think it’s really important for our players if they aren’t playing first team for us, then they’re playing in competitive games elsewhere and I think the best place they can play is the Championship," said Lingard.

"Batley have proven over the last three or four seasons that they’re a top-end Championship club and have been competing up there for the play-offs and last year a Wembley final as well.

"Hopefully it will help our players and hopefully help Batley out as well along the way."

Mark Moxon has taken the reins at Batley after serving a long apprenticeship as an assistant, latterly under Lingard.

"We’re on the same wavelength," added Lingard.

Craig Lingard took the reins at Wheldon Road after a successful spell in charge of Batley. (Photo: Castleford Tigers)Craig Lingard took the reins at Wheldon Road after a successful spell in charge of Batley. (Photo: Castleford Tigers)
Craig Lingard took the reins at Wheldon Road after a successful spell in charge of Batley. (Photo: Castleford Tigers)
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"I know what he likes and he knows what I like to do as well. I won’t force any players on him and say he has to play two or three of our players.

"If it doesn’t work for him or if it doesn’t work for Batley that week then it’s not going to be right for our players to go there.

"But we’ve got a real good working relationship and can be open and honest about which players are going to benefit Batley."

The Bulldogs have replaced Halifax Panthers as Castleford's dual-registration partners.

Castleford's fringe players will head to Mount Pleasant next year. (Photo: Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)Castleford's fringe players will head to Mount Pleasant next year. (Photo: Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)
Castleford's fringe players will head to Mount Pleasant next year. (Photo: Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)
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Tigers director of rugby operations Danny Wilson has stressed that the club remain serious about the reserves competition.

“What we’d like to see is players fighting tooth and nail to get into the first team at Cas," said Wilson. "Some players won’t get in that team who will need game time and they may go to Batley.

"That doesn’t neglect our reserves programme. There’s a lot of good work that’s gone into our pathway over the last few years which means that our top-end academy boys are really developing physically and they will continue to need challenging. That reserves pathway allows them to be challenged at a high level.”

Lingard's squad for 2024 includes former Bulldogs Luke Hooley, Josh Hodson and Samy Kibula.

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Moxon would welcome those players back with open arms should the opportunity arise.

"A few players at Cas are already a part of our family at the Bulldogs and if they were to play for us the transition would be seamless," he said.

"Any other players that are made available would have to make us stronger for us to take them. In return, we hope to give the Tigers players some needed game time, at a high standard within a good culture up at The Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.“

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