Batley coach Craig Lingard to combine role as new Castleford assistant 

Josh McAllister
Craig Lingard

Photo: Dean Williams/Alamy Live News

Batley head coach Craig Lingard has been appointed as Castleford’s new assistant coach on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

Lingard will also continue his role at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium until the end of the 2023 campaign, after which he will solely be at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

The 45-year-old guided Batley to the Championship Grand Final against the odds last year, defeating favourite Featherstone in a thrilling semi-final.

As a player, Lingard played 205 times for Batley, becoming their all-time leading try scorer with 142. 

“I am really pleased,” said Lingard. 

“It’s been good to get down and get my first day out of the way. It has been a really good day because everyone has been really welcoming and it’s been good to get out on that field for that first session.

“It has been good to get straight out there on the field and get some drills done and watch the boys in action.

“It’s an exciting time for me and an exciting time for the club over the next few years.”

Craig Lingard: I think it’s the right time for me

Lingard claims that balancing his new role alongside his Batley duties won’t cause any difficulties, with the Bulldogs currently sitting sixth in the Championship table with six wins from 10.

He continued: “It will be pretty simple because Batley train on the night because with part-time rugby you train in the evening. With full-time rugby, you train during the day so I will be able to balance the two pretty easily. 

“I made a commitment to the players at Batley that we were going to see the season out together and I’m really thankful that Castleford have given me the chance to do that.

“I’ll have very fond memories there because it’s a club that’s played a massive part in my life. 

“I signed there in 1998 and spent ten years as a player then came back as assistant coach and then as head coach. Over the last couple of seasons, we’ve been successful with a semi-final and a grand final appearance.

“I think it’s the right time for me personally and I think it’s the right time for Batley and someone else to have an opportunity.

“My ambition has always been to try and coach in Super League and move from that part-time environment so thankfully I’ve been able to do that at Castleford.”

“My ambition has always been to try and coach in Super League.”

Lingard will work alongside Last, who was appointed as Castleford’s head coach in April following a spell as interim boss, and is looking forward to learning from the currently England assistant.

“If you think that you’ve learned everything then you stagnate, and you will stay where you are,” Lingard added.

“It’s important for me that I look to learn from other people and hopefully I can benefit Andy with the experience I have had over the last five or six years as a head coach.

“Andy has worked with some first-class coaches throughout his career and although it is his first full-time gig as a head coach, he has worked under some world-class coaches so his knowledge will be up there.”

Lingard’s first match with his new club will be a big clash under the lights against Catalans this Friday.

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