PANTHER PRIDE | A big win for the mountain men tonight has them firmly entrenched in the top eight, ...
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Castleford coach Dave Woods might have to wait until the end of the month to discover if he has a future with the newly-promoted Tigers in engage Super League.
The West Yorkshire club have begun preparing for their return to the top flight following their impressive 36-8 victory over Whitehaven in the LHF National League One Grand Final.
Chief executive Richard Wright revealed today that eight members of the Tigers? 17-man Grand Final squad are signed up for 2006, including captain Andy Henderson, and said that filling the club?s three overseas quota spots would be a priority.
?They are absolutely key to our fortunes next year,? he said. ?If we can get quality quota players in key positions, that would be a great start and then we would build on there.
?We?ve done it a little bit differently to previous relegated clubs. We recruited a totally new team with a lot of young players. We wanted to look at it over a two-year period because I don?t think you can go into Super League with a whole new squad.
?We have players with potential and some of them can take that step up, I?m sure. I am sure we can become competitive next year.?
In addition to the Torquay-born Henderson, Castleford have tied up Aaron Smith, Craig Huby, Michael Shenton, Michael Platt, Waine Pryce, Damien Blanch and Paul Handforth in addition to former Halifax prop Bryon Smith, who was not in Sunday?s squad.
?O?Neill is an option for us,? said Wright. ?We will look at all of the options and put it all together in the next couple of weeks.
?It?s been very difficult to plan when you don?t know which division you?re going to be in but now we know we can go forward with confidence.
?There has been a lot of turmoil over the last few weeks with people unsure where they are going to be. We will have to sit down with the rest we want to keep on board, then look quota and build around that.?
Woods, who joined the club 12 months ago from Penrith Panthers, has made it clear he wants to remain on the coaching staff.
Wright added: ?Dave?s obviously done a good job for us and came up with a superb performance to win the big one.
?We?re very pleased with what he?s done but we always said we would wait until we find which division we are in and we will review everything at the end of the season and that?s what we will do.
?We need to make a decision as soon as possible and certainly by the end of October we ought to be a lot further forward than we are now.?
Wright hinted that Australian Brad Davis, who brought down the curtain on his playing career with a man-of-the-match performance at Widnes, would be handed a full-time backroom role with the Tigers.
The 37-year-old Davis has combined his playing duties with coaching the club?s Under 21s this year and has ambitions to further his coaching career.
?Brad would like to stay on in a coaching capacity and he?s shown an ability with the Under 21s,? said Wright.
?After a bad start they ended up one game short of the Grand Final. Brad?s got a lot of qualities. He wore his heart on his sleeve with a fantastic performance. At Cas we do tend to reward people who look after us.?
In addition to Davis, Sunday?s match marked the final appearances of Adrian Vowles, who is returning to Australia this week, and Jonny Hepworth, who is joining Irish rugby union province Munster.
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Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for this story.