Orr returns to roots and plots big things for Castleford's young crop

Half-back is 'home' again, at the club where he made his name – and he has high hopes for the new season, he tells Dave Hadfield

Life goes full circle for Danny Orr at the start of the new Super League season this weekend. He was a prodigious youthful talent with his hometown club, Castleford, but broader ambitions took him away for eight years only for him to return as senior player and guiding light this time.

They say you should never go back. Time will tell whether it is a good idea in his case.

"It's something I've been asked about a million times: Why would I want to come back? All I can say is that I've been made very welcome and it feels right."

There was plenty of ill-feeling in the town when Orr moved to Wigan in a typical small-club-to-big transfer in 2003. His former Castleford coach, Stuart Raper, made the same switch and took Orr with him.

There he played plenty of hooker as well as half-back, never more effectively than after Wigan decided to let him go. "I really enjoyed it at Wigan, but I did at Harlequins. I've been lucky to be at three great clubs," he says.

The Orr family enjoyed four years of life in London so much, in fact, that when his eight-year-old son was told that they were moving back to the north, he barricaded himself in his bedroom, his dad recalls. They are settled happily back in Castleford now. "It's very different from London obviously, but to me it will always be home," Orr says.

He has come home to a job he last did in 2003, with his coach, Terry Matterson, making him captain. "I was 22 when I was captain before, so I'm a much more mature player now. I remember the way that players like Mitch Healey and Brad Davis used to look after me, so maybe I can do the same for the younger players now."

Key among those is his half-back partner, Rangi Chase. The Kiwi was sometimes brilliant last season, but he was also occasionally weighed down by the pressure of organisational responsibility on his shoulders.

"He was having to do everything," Orr says. "Hopefully, I can take some of the pressure off him and he'll be even better this year."

Despite the loss of Michael Shenton to St Helens and Joe Westerman to Hull, Orr is enthused by the quality of the young players he will have under his wing at what is now the Probiz Coliseum this year. "Richard Owen coming back will be like having a new player," he believes. "If he hadn't broken his leg, I reckon he would have been in the England side at the end of the season."

Orr indirectly owes his role as captain to Adam Milner, who led the England Academy side to their victories over Australia in the autumn. His rapid progress as a hooker means that last season's captain, Ryan Hudson, will not be on the field for as long this season, whereas Orr will be out there regularly for the full 80 minutes.

Also, with Hudson, Milner and the exciting 17-year-old Darren Clarke, all queuing up for the No 9 shirt, it frees up Orr to do what he does best – direct a team from half-back. The first test of his ability to do that effectively will be at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, when Cas take on their local rivals – and rivals for a Super League licence for the next three years – Wakefield. The balance has swung strongly in Castleford's favour over the past couple of weeks, with Trinity suffering setback after setback with their plans for a new ground and going into administration with heavy debts.

Orr knows enough about local rivalry, however, to predict that it will not make the Tigers' task any easier in Cardiff. Quite the reverse, in fact. "I don't think it will affect them on the pitch at all. They could even use it as a motivating factor, so they are going to be really tough."

Not that he has any doubt that Cas, with a new ground on the way, a steady production line of young players and a modicum of financial stability, will get their new licence.

Orr has only signed on initially for one year, but there could be few more appropriate players to lead them into their new stadium on the outskirts of the town. "I was reading about some other sport and they were saying that you should never go back, but this is home and it just feels right."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London