Andy Last on wanting Castleford job, Radford exit & Mamo speculation

Drew Darbyshire
Andy Last Gareth Widdop Castleford Tigers SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Andy Last spoke to the media for the first time since taking over as Castleford head coach on an interim basis following the departure of Lee Radford.

On Monday morning, the club announced that Radford had been relieved of his duties as head coach by mutual consent, having lost three from three so far this season.

Last, who was Radford’s assistant, has taken over the head coaching reins on an interim basis.

Last spoke to the media on Thursday morning ahead of their match at Huddersfield on Friday night.

Here’s what Last had to say on Radford’s departure, his aspirations to be the permanent head coach and speculation surrounding Jake Mamo’s future at the Jungle…

Andy Last on Lee Radford departure

I didn’t really see it coming. In our first three games I thought we were up to our neck in all the contests, a bounce of a ball here, better execution on a pass there and we could’ve quite easily have been three from three rather than three and zero.

I spoke to him on Sunday after he had his chat with the powers that be. I was disappointed for him because he is a really good man and I’ve got a lot of time for Lee. He is a close friend and a good coach so it was disappointing that the two parties came to the decision that it was time for him to move on.

How he became interim boss

It was a little bit like the weather, it was a bit like a snowstorm to be honest. He told me on the Sunday and I received a phone call from the club saying they were going to announce it to the players on Monday, with me in interim charge for the next couple of games.

The Monday came and the leaders at the club addressed the players and I stepped in to speak about what we were going to do training-wise and then how we were going to plan the week with a view of how we were going to get a performance against Huddersfield on Friday.

It was a bit of a whirlwind, but I’ve got some experience from 2020 when I stepped in at short notice in Round Four or something like that when Lee moved on from his job at Hull FC. I drew on that experience and talked about hitting a reset button and trying to put in a performance for Lee and the club on Friday.

Would you like the job on a permanent basis?

Yes. Obviously it is early and out of respect for the guy who has just moved away from it I don’t want to speak in depth with regards to taking the position, but it is definitely something I want to consider. Ultimately, it’ll be the players that decide whether I get the job with their performances and how they turn the good performances into results. It’s definitely something that I want to do. I had a taste of it at Hull FC, I felt I did a reasonable job there and it’s something that I want to do here.

Are you ready to be a permanent head coach?

I have been a coach now since the age of 23 and I’m now coming up to the age of 42. I’ve got a lot of experience, I’ve worked with great coaches, the likes of Shaun McRae, John Kear, Peter Sharp, Richard Agar, Jon Sharp and Shaun Wane, Paul Wellens and Paul Anderson in the England set-up. I’ve got vast experience of working with some top coaches so I’ve picked the brains of those coaches in the time I’ve been working with them.

I have been fortunate enough to coach some top players as well in the likes of Sean Long, Craig Fitzgibbon, Shaun Berrigan, Stephen Kearney, Gareth Ellis – guys that have had a really good standing in the game. Those are the type of people that would tell you if you weren’t very good at coaching but the feedback I’ve had from them guys when I was coaching them has always been positive. I’m confident in what I’m able to do and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to do that here.

Have you had any conversations with the club about taking the job permanently?

As a club we had a bit of a chat on Tuesday afternoon. They just informed myself that they are receiving applications and accepting CVs, they will do their due due diligence and will select the right man for the job.

I spoke to them and told them what I want to do regarding this week and creating a bit of energy and positivity and getting confidence back in the lads.

I think they know that I want the job. I’m ready to be a head coach and I want the opportunity to take this club forward but they need to do the right thing and I’m sure the decision makers at the club will come to the right decision. Hopefully that’s me but if not, I’m sure whoever gets to lead the club will do it with distinction.

I feel as though I’m ready to be that person, I want the job. I’m confident in this group that we’ve got and I know what a special group it is. Just being sat in the Legends Bar now, seeing the likes of the John Joyner’s, Tawera Nikau’s and Lee Crooks’ of this world – it is a club steeped in a rich history and we’ve seen great times at Castleford. I feel as though I can get the club back playing that brand of rugby and get some confidence in to this group of players.

Andy Last addresses Jake Mamo speculation

On Thursday morning, Yorkshire Live reported that utility back Jake Mamo had requested a release from his contract with the club.

When asked if he could confirm or deny, Last replied: “He’s not left the club. He’s injured at the moment doing a bit of rehab work.

“We are aware of a piece which has recently come out but we’re across that. He is at the club and is in the medical room just doing a bit of work on a niggle he’s picked up.”

Castleford will look to get their first win of the season on Friday night when they travel to Huddersfield.

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