Since Daryl Powell’s departure to Warrington was confirmed, the rumour mill has been going into overdrive about who could potentially make the trip over the Pennines with him.
It’s always a possibility that a coach could cherry-pick some of his old club’s best players, just as Ian Watson did at Huddersfield with the likes of Luke Yates and Josh Jones – albeit the latter via Hull FC – so it’s unsurprising that some Castleford fans fear a similar exodus.
But, just which players could Daryl Powell take with him?
This is perhaps the number one rumour currently doing the rounds following the news of Powell’s departure. Having brought Jake Trueman to the club when the halfback was just 17, the Bradford-born playmaker has improved drastically in his time under Powell’s tutelage. And, Powell has made no secret of his admiration for the 22-year-old which could see him lend a word in the Warrington board’s ear to bring him to the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Warrington have Daryl Clark and Danny Walker in their ranks, but with the former linked to a move to the NRL with the Gold Coast Titans, the Wolves may be searching for a new hooker at the end of 2021. And, one such player touted as a replacement is Paul McShane who has been at Castleford since the middle of 2015. The Man of Steel in 2020, McShane has been one of the Tigers’ most important players in recent seasons and Powell has always been a big fan of the hooker.
One slightly out of left-field due to the arrival of a new child and plenty of business movements in Castleford, but Liam Watts could just be what Warrington are missing up front. Never one to take a backwards step on the field, the prop forward has settled superbly under Powell, reining in the ill-discipline that cost him his job at Hull FC. And, Warrington would definitely reap the rewards.
Rumoured to have signed a new deal at Castleford, this one could be non-sensical, but Jacques O’Neill has had his admirers following a breakthrough year in 2020. The 21-year-old more than mixed it with the big boys last season, but it’s now time to crack on and put more minutes out there on the field. Powell has blooded him through the Tigers academy and may see enough in O’Neill to coax Warrington to put in a big offer.
With Tom Lineham and Matty Ashton out-of-contract at the end of 2021, Warrington may look elsewhere for three-quarter options and Derrell Olpherts could be the man. Having joined Castleford ahead of the 2020 season, the winger was perhaps one of the most improved players across Super League last year and Powell can take a lot of responsibility for that with his man-management skills up there amongst the best. And, the outgoing boss could well extend that beyond 2021.