Just over an hour and a half after losing to Huddersfield Giants it was confirmed that Castleford Tigers have sacked Andy Last from his position as head coach, just nineteen games into his spell in charge of the side.
Last initially took over on a temporary basis as a caretaker with the club looking for a permanent replacement for Lee Radford, who was dismissed following their round three loss to Wigan Warriors, and after six games in a temporary role Last’s appointment was confirmed.
The club won as many games during that six game temporary spell with two wins from six, as they did under Last during his time as the official head coach with that record standing at two wins from thirteen games in all competitions.
That included ten Super League losses as well as an immediate exit from the Challenge Cup and with an overall record of just four wins from nineteen games, sitting bottom of the table and looking down the barrel of relegation it meant the club finally pulled the trigger.
Castleford released a statement, albeit a brief one, with the promise of further information after the weekend.
The statement read:
“Castleford Tigers can confirm that Andy Last has departed the club with immediate effect.
“The club will make a further statement after the weekend.”
That win rate of four games in nineteen puts Last as the second worst statistically to coach the Tigers since 1980, a rate of just 21.1% and only ahead of Ian Millward’s 20% win rate of eight wins in forty.
One curious element of the Andy Last era at Castleford was that both his first and last game in charge came against Huddersfield with a 36-6 loss at the John Smith’s back in round four, before this final loss by a score line of 28-0.
The clubs also met a third time which was another Huddersfield win by a score of 20-4 meaning that of the Giants 18 points in Super League this season, they have picked up a third of those against Castleford with an aggregate score of 74-10.
Of course Andy Last is still involved in the England set-up and International Rugby League, the global governing body for the sport, confirmed early Thursday morning that there will be an international calendar in place all the way up until 2030 with England already confirmed to host a series against Tonga at the end of this current season.
Last will presumably head away from the game and return to fulfil his England duties, whereas as for Castleford they’re left searching for a replacement on short notice with just six games to save their season.
It’s arguably even tougher given that fellow Super League out of form side Warrington Wolves are also in the market for a head coach, making the competition between the two on recruitment intriguing.