Daryl Powell bombshell - Castleford Tigers veteran Grant Millington says departing coach has 'transformed' the club
He has massively transformed the club - that is veteran forward Grant Millington’s assessment of Daryl Powell’s reign as Castleford Tigers coach.
Powell, who was contracted until the end of 2022, revealed yesterday he will leave Tigers at the end of this season.
In a club statement, Powell said both he and the club believe the time is right for a change, but the announcement sent shockwaves through the game, just nine days before Tigers’ Betfred Super League opener against Warrington Wolves.
The 55-year-old made no comment on his future plans, but has already been linked with
Warrington, who confirmed last month their coach, Steve Price, will leave when his contract expires this autumn.
Tigers had won only three of their 15 games before then and - having been relegated twice in the previous decade - were in danger of finishing bottom of Super League.
Powell led his new club to six wins from their 13 remaining fixtures that year and they climbed from 12th - out of 14 - in 2013 to fourth the following season, when they were also Challenge Cup runners-up.
Until coming eighth last year, Tigers had never been outside Super League’s top-five at the end of a full season under Powell and three years ago they finished 10 points clear at the top and were beaten Grand Finalists.
Millington has been a key member of Tigers’ pack throughout Powell’s time as coach and is full of admiration for what he has achieved.
“I have definitely seen the transformation that has happened underneath him; to be fair, it is pretty massive,” Millington said.
“When I first arrived a lot of the fans were happy if we had a dig and were competitive. Now we are disappointed if we are not at least in the top-four, so that shows you how far the club has come in that time.”
Tigers have qualified for the Super League play-offs in four of Powell’s seven full campaigns in charge and three Castleford players - Daryl Clark in 2014, Luke Gale three years later and Paul McShane last season - have been named Man of Steel.
His ability to get the best out of players on a weekly basis is not in doubt, but Millington insisted Tigers will be losing not only a coach, but also a friend.
Tigers’ players were told the news yesterday morning, shortly before it was made public and Millington said: “Same as anyone who has been at the club for any amount of time, they become a part of your life every day, not only as a coach, but as a friend
“It is disappointing in that way because he has been such a fantastic coach for so many guys who have come through here over the past eight or so seasons and also a good friend.
Millington insisted everyone at the club is highly-motivated to send Powell out with some silverware. He added: “He has done such a fantastic job, he has transformed the club in the time he has been here and brought players through to levels they probably didn’t think they would be able to play at.
“I think we all firmly believe here he deserves to go out on a high. That’s something we will be working hard towards.
“As rugby players we are all here for the same reason, that’s to go as far as we can and ultimately win a competition, but it gives you that bit of extra motivation and maybe an emotional tie to it this year that can help drive us along.”