IAN Millward (pictured) will aim to build on the progress of his fellow Australian Terry Matterson when he takes over as head coach of Castleford at the end of the season on a three-year contract.
The former St Helens and Wigan boss has been chosen as the man to succeed Matterson, who brought the Tigers back up from the National League in 2007 and helped them consolidate their position in Super League on a shoestring budget.
Castleford will clinch a play-off spot for the second time in three years under Matterson if they win their last two matches of the regular season, starting with the visit of Hull on Saturday.
“I respect the job Terry has done over a long period of time,” said Millward. “He has done fantastically well this season.
“I’m looking forward to continuing the development of the team and progressing it further over the next three years.”
Two other Australians, outgoing Hull KR coach Justin Morgan and former Wigan scrum-half Adrian Lam, are thought to have turned down the Castleford job, paving the way for Millward to return to the top flight.
Millward began his coaching career at Leigh in 1998, and after being recruited by St Helens two years later to take over from Ellery Hanley, he enjoyed five straight years of success at Knowsley Road, guiding Saints to two Grand-Final triumphs and two Challenge Cup victories as well as the World Club Challenge.
Sacked by St Helens in May 2005 for misconduct, he was sensationally appointed as Wigan coach a fortnight later but lasted less than a year in the job after failing to arrest the club’s slump.
Millward returned to Australia, where he held coaching positions at North Queensland and Canberra, before taking up a third stint at Leigh in 2009.
He takes charge of his last league match with the Centurions at Dewsbury tonight but hopes to bow out in style in the Grand Final at Warrington on October 2 by adding the Championship to the Northern Rail Cup they won in July.
Millward will find homely Castleford a far cry from his last Super League post at the DW Stadium but is expected to witness the club’s move to a new stadium, despite another delay.
“I was really impressed with the board’s honesty and long-term vision and I’m really looking forward to the exciting challenge ahead,” he added.
“Castleford is a club that is evolving off the pitch with great plans for the future. On the pitch they have a squad that is underpinned with young talent and I’m looking forward to helping them improve further.”