Gareth Widdop absence explained as Castleford coach left ‘devastated’ by late defeat

Josh McAllister
Andy Last Gareth Widdop Castleford Tigers SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Andy Last says his side are devastated by the late 22-18 defeat to Catalans as the Castleford interim head coach reveals his camp had been hit with sickness ahead of the clash in Perpignan. 

The Tigers were pipped to the post in the final minutes against Steve McNamara’s Dragons, having found themselves 18-16 ahead thanks to a long-range effort from Jack Broadbent with seven minutes to go.

However, a late try from Mike McMeeken saw Catalans snatch a 22-18 win to keep up the pressure on Super League leaders Warrington.

Paul Seguier crossed first for Catalans but the visitors hit straight back through Broadbent, who played in the halves alongside Jacob Miller.

Further scores from Tom Johnstone and Arthur Mourgue then gave the Dragons the advantage before tries from Jordan Turner and a second for Broadbent edged the visitors in front for the first time.

But England international McMeeken struck five minutes from time to move Catalans two points from table toppers Warrington.

Andy Last: We’re absolutely devastated

“We’re absolutely devastated,” Last said in his post-match press conference.

“To come here to a quality side like Catalans, they are a difficult team to play against anywhere but here in Perpignan and we take them to the last couple of sets of the game…I am very proud of our players.

“After all of our effort we haven’t come away with the points and that’s what it’s all about.

“Our travelling support has been superb and they know the lads are trying hard.

“I did think we’d won the game when Jack Broadbent went 80 metres to score but we couldn’t quite see it out and that’s where we’re at against the best teams in the competition.

“Every single play is important and we just didn’t quite nail one or two of those plays and it came back to bite us.”

Andy Last explains Gareth Widdop absence

Last, who took charge of his fourth game since the departure of Lee Radford in March, said that his side had been hit with sickness ahead of the Round Seven fixture, having travelled to France on Thursday.

It saw former England international Gareth Widdop sidelined, replaced by outside-back Broadbent.

“We had a little bit of diarrhoea in camp while we were over here,” Last said.

“It could be the baguettes or French cheese, I don’t know, but some of the guys have had it really tough.

“We had to isolate one or two of them, so to come away with that type of performance is a real credit to them.”

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