Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell on links with Warrington Wolves job
Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell insists his focus is on winning Super League with the club after announcing his shock decision to leave at the end of the 2021 season.
The former Great Britain international, 55, is the longest-serving coach in the competition having been appointed in May 2013.
Powell – who has transformed Castleford’s fortunes in that time – was under contract until the end of 2022 but, in a club statement, said both he and the West Yorkshire club felt it was time for a change. The revelation comes barely a week before Tigers are due to start their campaign against Warrington Wolves.
Ironically, Warrington announced just a few weeks ago their coach Steve Price would be leaving at the end of this season and Powell was yesterday immediately linked with that role.
But he told The Yorkshire Post: “People have put two and two together there. I don’t have anything set up.
“I’d already made my decision – I sat down with (Castleford chairman) Ian Fulton towards the end of last season – and was just looking for the best time to announce it. I always felt that would be the week before the start of the new season. I told the players this morning.
“There is a motivation factor there and hopefully – with players leaving as well – this gives us a strong position moving forward for what we want to try and achieve this season.”
Castleford were in dire straits, fearing relegation and in a financial mess, when Powell switched from neighbours Featherstone Rovers, replacing Ian Millward at Wheldon Road eight years ago.
But within barely 12 months he was leading them out at Wembley in the Challenge Cup final against Leeds Rhinos.
His finest hour, though, was inspiring Castleford to the 2017 League Leaders’ Shield, the first time the club had ever finished top in all its history, and taking them to a maiden Grand Final.
Ultimately, they again missed out to his former club Leeds in the Old Trafford showpiece but Tigers fans will long remember the brilliant football they played that year.
Powell, who supported Castleford as a child, added: “I have loved being a part of the club’s history and helping players to grow and develop.
“I’d really love to finish off in a positive way with a Grand Final win and close a chapter that has been such a special time in my life. For both me and the club, it is the right time. It gives the club time to plan for the future.”
Asked if he would be interested in working in the NRL, Powell replied: “After 2017, I got a couple of little bits of interest, internationally down there as well with New Zealand. But it was only enquiries. You never know what might happen. With coaching nowadays, just look at Wayne Bennett; you get better as you get a bit older. It is a young man’s game but coaching ends up being a wisdom game and you get a bit more of that as you do get older.
“Nothing’s off the table. When I left Featherstone, that was the right time, and Castleford has been awesome. But I do think this is the right decision, too.”
Fulton said: “I personally and on behalf of all Tigers’ fans would like to thank Daryl for all his hard work over the years.
“He has been an integral part of this team and indeed the local community in the time he has spent here. I know his achievements here will have given him and his family memories to last a lifetime and he is committed to making even more in 2021.
“We’d love to see him end his time at Castleford with silverware. After some lengthy conversations that started at the end of 2020, both Daryl and the club felt that with a number of coaches and players out of contract at the end of the year, 2022 would be the right time for a new face to come in and take charge.
“The process of appointing that person will be incredibly thorough and has begun internally.”
Possible candidates could be York City Knights’ James Ford, London Broncos’ Danny Ward or former Hull FC coach Lee Radford with ex-Leeds Rhinos chief Brian McDermott also available.
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