Castleford Tigers have confirmed their new coaching team, with assistant Craig Lingard stepping up to the head coach role, and Danny McGuire moving across Yorkshire to become his right-hand man at the Jungle. Both pen two-year deals.
Former Batley Bulldogs boss Lingard joined the club as number two to then-boss Andy Last back in May, agreeing to combine his part-time role as the Championship outfit’s head coach with his new full-time role until the end of the campaign.
Leading the Bulldogs to Wembley for the 1895 Cup final – which they lost out in to Halifax Panthers – he did just that, departing the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium after missing out on the play-offs having last term gone all the way to the promotion play-off final.
Leeds Rhinos legend McGuire meanwhile – who is believed to have been offered the main gig at the Jungle but turned it down – departed Hull KR after six years at Craven Park with overseas chief Willie Peters seeking to bring in his own backroom staff ahead of his second year in the hotseat.
Castleford Tigers announce new coaching team; Craig Lingard steps up to head coach
Despite only being at the Jungle a few short months, Lingard has already seen two head coaches come and go. Last – who will link up with Grand Finalists Catalans Dragons in 2024 – was sacked at the beginning of August and replaced by Danny Ward.
Dewsbury-born Ward led the Fords to Super League survival, but like McGuire is believed to have turned down an offer to become the new chief on a more permanent basis.
And having now taken the reigns himself, Lingard is ready to put his own stamp on the pack. He said: “I am massively honoured!
“Something I’ve always aspired to be is a Head Coach in Super League, and I’ve got that opportunity now. It has come a little bit sooner than I was expecting, but it’s something I’m going to grab with both hands and hopefully be a success.
“I’m coming in with my eyes fully wide open, it’s not a new venue for me and I’ve got a good idea about the workings of the club and with a lot of change in personnel with people leaving and people coming in the bulk of the squad that are staying I’ve got experience of working with those guys.
“I can work a bit more closely with them next year and put my stamp on how I want us to play and the values we want to bring back to Castleford Tigers to make us more successful than we have been this season.”
Super League legend Danny McGuire joins Tigers as assistant coach
Since his retirement from the game, still Super League’s all-time top try scorer, McGuire has been part of the backroom team at Craven Park with the Robins twice making the play-offs and this year also getting to Wembley, beaten by Leigh Leopards in August’s Challenge Cup final.
The ex-half-back was KR’s interim head coach at the back end of 2022 following Tony Smith’s departure, and says he’s relishing a new opportunity at the Jungle.
He added: “I’m really excited about the challenge after a fair bit of speculation, but for me it’s about looking forward to working with a really talented bunch of players, a club with history and everything that surrounds Castleford Tigers. I can’t wait to get stuck into it.
“It’s really nice to meet Craig. He seems a really good fella and I’m really excited to work alongside him. I’m still fairly early on into my coaching journey with loads to learn and experience, so I’m excited to be working alongside somebody who’s achieved so much in the game.
“I’ll be picking his brains, and hopefully we can gel really well and work well as a combination.”