Castleford Tigers pulled the trigger on head coach Andy Last on Friday evening following a 28-0 home defeat to Huddersfield Giants, the club’s fifth consecutive defeat and one that left them slumped at the bottom of Super League.
The weekend could yet still worsen for the Tigers given that Wakefield Trinity travel to Hull FC on Sunday and a win for Trinity would put clear distance between them and Castleford.
That’s certainly not out of the equation given the form the Trin find themselves in and also the fact Hull FC fell to defeat last week against Huddersfield Giants, which was massively damaging to the team’s playoff chances.
The main questions now being asked at Wheldon Road are ‘who can keep this club in Super League’, and luckily enough for them there might be just the right man available.
That is John Kear. The massively experienced coach was dismissed from Widnes Vikings earlier in the season but there are few better than Kear at getting immediate reactions from clubs lacking in confidence.
Kear also has experience in this sort of dog fight. Cast your minds back to the 2006 Super League season with Wakefield and Castleford both in a relegation scrap, just like this year, and with six games to go the veteran joined Trinity.
Tony Smith had led the side for the first 22 games but Kear was drafted in and with immediate success, a round 23 win over their relegation rivals which breathed life into the fight for survival.
Not only was it a win, but an emphatic one as Trinity won 18-0 away at the Jungle. If Castleford are to survive this season then they’ll have to head to Belle Vue and get a similar result.
Kear led the team to four wins from six, two over Cas, which saved Trinity and doomed their rivals and that’s exactly the type of form that the Tigers need right now.
An underdog coach, who is from Castleford as well and most importantly will get grit and effort from his players, something that has been questioned of the current Castleford squad by fans.
Moreover the other question is who else would take a shot to nothing job to save what looks to be a doomed Super League side?
Some have suggested Daryl Powell but given the draining 18 months he has had with Warrington then surely he won’t be ready to invigorate a new squad.
Kear was relieved of his duties five weeks ago meaning that he’ll be recuperated and ready to lead a down on their confidence team to Super League survival.