Castleford Tigers have appointed former Leeds Rhinos star and London Broncos coach Danny Ward to replace former Hull FC man Andy Last.
Like he did in 2020 at Hull FC, Last replaced Lee Radford at the start of the season and became interim Castleford Tigers coach as they looked for a candidate to replace Radford and Ward was linked with the job then.
However, wins over Leeds and Wakefield Trinity saw Last earn the job as the Tigers seemed to work towards survival.
However the resurgence of Wakefield Trinity in the second half of the season put Last under pressure and their defeat to Huddersfield Giants was the last straw and now he has been replaced by Ward.
In his playing days, Ward began his Super League career with Leeds, featuring in their 2004 Super League Grand Final victory and in the Rhinos’ World Club Challenge success in 2005.
A move to the Tigers followed in 2006, with a highlight of his year at Wheldon Road coming against Leeds where he raced clear from halfway to score a memorable try.
Ward also featured for Hull KR and Harlequins before moving into coaching with the London club, firstly as academy coach in 2014. The 43-year-old was then named assistant the following year and was promoted to head coach of the Broncos ahead of the 2018 season.
London tasted success under Ward that year, going all the way to the Million Pound Game and achieved promotion by edging out Toronto Wolfpack by 4 points to 2.
When talking to castlefordtigers.com for the first time as the Club’s new Head Coach, Ward began by putting forward his delight at taking up the role at The Jungle.
“I am buzzing and made up with the appointment. I am proud to be able to lead such a fantastic club which I have played for and have lots of happy memories at. It’s a proud moment for me to be given that opportunity and I am looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s exciting and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve always wanted to get back coaching at the top level and I back myself to be coaching at that level as well. I’m thankful for Cas to give me that opportunity to coach back in Super League and I’m hoping I can do a good job in a short space of time.”
Having represented the Fords as a player, Ward is more than aware of the club’s proud tradition and support which is something he affirms will ease the transition of moving back to the Tigers, this time as a coach.
“It’s a proud club with a rich history in the way they like to play rugby. There are no more passionate fans than at Cas and they are some of the best supporters in the league. That knowledge of the club will help because I know people there already and I know a few of the players which will make the transition easier so I can hit the ground running.”
In closing, the Tigers’ newly appointed Head Coach wanted to pass on a message to the Cas fans who will be in attendance at his first game in charge next week against Wakefield Trinity.
“I am really proud of the opportunity to lead the team. They are fantastic supporters and have been amazing all year through thick and thin as they have over the years. Stick with the boys and get behind us and we’ll put in some performances that will do you proud.”