Ward, Last, Guardiola? Castleford Tigers must end wait for new coach

Josh McAllister
Andy Last, Danny Ward, Castleford Tigers

Almost a month following Lee Radford’s departure from the club, Castleford Tigers are yet to confirm their new permanent coach for the remainder of the 2023 campaign.

Saturday’s Round Seven fixture with Catalans will mark Andy Last’s fourth game in charge as interim boss, having recorded one win so far.

That victory was the club’s first of the season with a 14-8 scoreline over Leeds at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle earlier in March.

But with Radford having left his position as head coach on March 6, it’s coming to almost a month without a permanent boss.

Supporters have since thrown a mixture of candidates into the hat for the permanent role.

Last, 42, is in a familiar situation to the one he found himself in at Hull. The current England assistant took the reigns at the now-MKM Stadium back in 2020 upon Radford’s departure.

He won eight out of 14 games in charge, including a play-off victory over Warrington.

However, Hull decided to go down a different route in 2021 with the appointment of Australian Brett Hodgson – who has since left the club.

And Last finds himself in the same scenario, and has made no secret of his desire to land the job on a permanent basis.

“I really want it,” Last has previously stated.

“I’m experienced. I’ve done the assistant coaching job for a while now. I’m desperate to obviously take over at Castleford because I really care about the club and I really care about the group of players.”

Other coaches in the mix

Justin Morgan was initially named as the favourite by the bookmakers to take over at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, having previously led Toulouse, Hull KR and Kiwi Ferns. He is currently the assistant to NRL’s New Zealand Warriors under Andrew Webster.

Current Wakefield assistant James Ford has been thrown into the mix by fans on social media.

The former York boss is no doubt waiting patiently for his shot as a head coach of a Super League side, with plenty of years left in his career at the current age of just 40.

Ford was initially priced at 25/1 by the bookmakers, with that one looking unlikely.

Former London boss Danny Ward is another favourite, and has been backed by supporters. The 42-year-old has not had a head coach role since departing London Broncos in 2020, but has previously told Love Rugby League that he is open to a return to the sport, having currently found himself working in rugby union. 

As a player, Ward enjoyed one season at the club.

Parramatta Eels assistant Ryan Carr and Widnes’ John Kear were other names mentioned by fans.

Paul Anderson has also been mentioned – but the 51-year-old is currently leading England Knights towards their European Championship tournament.

With Castleford finding themselves just one place above the foot of the table, and with a potential crucial fixture coming soon against Wakefield, it’s no doubt a decision those above will need to make soon.

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