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Lee Radford prefers English way of playing after being part of Samoa’s World Cup run

LEE Radford knows one thing after sampling life at the top of the rugby league world – he would rather play the game like it is here than in the NRL.

The Castleford boss is back to the day job after helping Samoa to a historic World Cup final, ending England’s hopes in the process.

Lee Radford was part of Samoa’s staff as they reached a historic World Cup final

Working with superstars like Jarome Luai, Joseph Suaalii and Brian To’o taught him a few things – and there will be some alterations at Wheldon Road.

But while those who ply their trade Down Under do things one way with two referees making rucks faster, he would rather play rugby.

Radford said: “If ever there’s a move to bring in two referees here, I definitely wouldn’t be in favour – there are two ways of skinning a cat.

“The NRL is quick and fast but considering the speed of the ruck down there, they play less rugby than us.

“Here you can stick more people in a tackle, for that reason you have to play more. You have to move the ball east to west more.

“I prefer playing rugby to the low-risk, off the ruck type of rugby league.

“They don’t get any time on the ground in the NRL, that’s why the game looks different. That’s what caused Samoa problems in the first game against England, it was a shock.

“The ruck speed was so slow in comparison. Some of the stuff you can do here, you simply can’t in the NRL. You’ve a second ref on your back telling you to move and get off.

“Samoa did some things differently than we would at Cas – there will be a couple of different technical things that will change.

“It’s nothing revolutionary, they just put more focus in certain areas of the field. But you’re still preaching the same things.

“They’re still important whether you’re playing international, club or amateur rugby. There are some areas you’ve got to be good at to be successful.”

Gareth Widdop is Castleford’s big addition for 2023

Radford is not the only Castleford man to have lost to Australia in a World Cup final – new signing Gareth Widdop was part of England’s agonising 6-0 defeat in 2017.

But the knowledge of having been there and seen it, as well as having done it in the NRL, will prove vital.

So will keeping a smile on the half back’s face and getting his hands on the ball.

Radford added: “Gareth will be really good for us and I’m sure he’ll develop into a really important player.

“That’ll be mentally as much as in terms of gameplay and he’s turning up to training with a smile on his face. That’s one of the motives for his move, he wanted to start enjoying rugby again.

“And we think we can get the best out of him with him enjoying it. Gareth plays what he sees and reacts to a defensive line – as a coaching staff, we try to promote blokes chancing their arm and he’s one who does that.”

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