It’s been a rough start to the season for Castleford Tigers as they’ve lost three from three, however in shock news this morning Lee Radford has been ‘relieved of his duties’ by the club.
The Tigers have fallen to defeat in all three fixtures losing a narrow game against Hull FC in week one, then at the Jungle to St Helens in round two before Wigan Warriors put on a display against them on Friday night.
It seems that the large margin of victory for Wigan (36-0) on Friday night was the straw that broke the camel’s back as Castleford announced via their social media this morning that Radford and the club had parted ways.
A statement on their website said: “Castleford Tigers can confirm that Lee Radford has been relieved of his First Team duties by mutual agreement.
“Everyone at the Club would like to thank Lee for his time in charge of the First Team.
“The Club’s Board of Directors will now begin the search for its next permanent Head Coach and would ask everyone to get behind Andy Last and the team in the interim period.
“Assistant Coach Andy Last will take charge of the First Team for the Fords’ upcoming fixture at Huddersfield Giants on Friday night.”
Radford himself made the following statement: “With the club and myself heading in different directions, I think making this early call will be the correct one. Hopefully, it can kick start their season starting this Friday away at Huddersfield.
“I’d like to thank on record the fans, management, coaching staff, and players and wish them all the best for 2023 and beyond.”
It comes after the former Hull FC coach guided the Tigers to a seventh place finish in his first season in charge, narrowly missing out on the playoffs after a final round defeat at Leeds Rhinos.
Their 2023 campaign got off to a terrible start in the first half of their opening game at Radford’s former club Hull as the Tigers were blown away in the first half and trailed 32-6 at one stage.
Despite this, Castleford rallied in the second half and were eventually beaten by just two points (32-30) to ease some worries the club’s fans may have had at the interval.
But in round two those worries were brought back when recently crowned World Club Challenge winners St Helens turned Cas over 24-6 at The Jungle, despite the Saints only just returning from Australia after a 53-hour flight.
Then this weekend came the worst display yet as Wigan came to West Yorkshire and blew away the Tigers 36-0, leaving Radford winless after three games and some fans calling for his to be sacked.
That section of supporters got their wish today and Castleford will now hope assistant Andy Last, who had a spell in charge at Hull FC after Radford was sacked by the Black and Whites in 2020, will be able to steady the ship at The Jungle.
Huddersfield are the Tigers next opponents this Friday night at the John Smith’s Stadium, before back-to-back home games against local rivals Leeds Rhinos and Daryl Powell’s Warrington Wolves.
That’s what’s next for the Tigers, but what for Lee Radford?
Rugby League Live has reported that there is interest in him from the NRL after he worked well for Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup last year.
He could very well follow in the footsteps of Richard Agar and Brian McDermott and take on a role as an assistant coach down under which has served them well.
Equally, don’t be surprised to see him take over as Samoa boss should Matt Parish get a big NRL gig as he might do after taking Samoa all the way to the World Cup Final.