A lot has been made of Castleford boss Daryl Powell’s departure from the club, but he still maintains that it was the right choice.
“Well eight years is a long time, I’m the longest serving head coach in Super League and everything comes to an end and everyone needs fresh challenges,” said Powell.
“It was the end of last season, I thought it was the right time. I sat down with Ian (Fulton – the Castleford owner) and said what I would like to do.
“I feel like I’ve put my heart and soul into the club and I felt it would let them get ready to get a new coach and that I would have time to have a really good crack at doing something special this season.
“I still think it is the right decision – you know when the time is right and eight years is a big a part of your life.
“Where ever I’ve been, I’ve tended to stay for a while and nobody has wanted to boot me out yet touch wood.
“I wanted to make it on my own terms and I’ve worked my backside off to ensure that – doing it in this way gives a really good opportunity to finish this awesome journey on a real high.”
Of course, much has been made of the vacancy that will appear at Warrington at the end of the season and Powell has been heavily linked with a move to the Halliwell Jones Stadium. The former Leeds and Featherstone boss did, however, refuse to get drawn into that debate.
“I’m open minded, Steve’s (Price) has done a great job at Warrington, he’s got them winning Challenge Cup finals.
“The challenge we’ve got now against a really good Warrington team, we’ve waited a long time for it.
“I said to the players that my main focus is to enjoy the players’ company, games and training sessions – you might even see me smile again this year!”
Powell is certainly excited to see his spine on the field, with competition for places hotting up at the Tigers.
“Niall Evalds looks great at the back, we’ve got an awesome hooker and our halves have got a lot of depth now.
“(Jake) Trueman is another year older, Danny (Richardson) is firmly embedded and Gaz (O’Brien) will push them for a spot.
“I think we’ve got a really good squad with really good depth and speed about it. As usual we’ve got criticised for our recruitment, but we’ll just get on with it and I’m really excited about it.”
The Castleford head coach did, however, refuse to name his first team sheet of the 2021 season.
“I won’t name the team, the squad will come out on Friday.
“We’re strong, we’ve got Suaia Matagi and Sosaia Feki out, but we will have a strong 17.
“Danny (Richardson) will be in the squad, whether he plays or not we will make that decision later in the week.”