Andy Last on another Castleford Tigers loss, “criminal” errors, Elliot Wallis’ ruled-out try and injury blow

CASTLEFORD TIGERS continue to fail to impress in Super League 2023 as they went down 20-4 to the Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium tonight.

It was the Tigers’ 11th loss in 13 games and head coach Andy Last’s eighth in ten fixtures with Castleford yet again scoring just one try through Alex Mellor.

For Last, he was bitterly disappointed with the result.

“Effort, commitment and desire to defend was very good, but the fundamentals of the game we didn’t do well enough,” Last said.

“There were eight yardage errors unforced, we gifted them so much field position and you can’t afford to do that.

“It was a strange half-time team talk, I spoke about the positives, a few weeks ago we could have been staring down 30 points at half-time.

“We were still within touching distance considering how much little possession and territory we had, we felt if we had that we could post some points.

“At the start of that second-half we had some opportunities but we didn’t quite nail them and then they had 60% possession and starved us of the. ball. There are lessons to be learnt.”

Despite the result, Last did see improvement.

“I saw some improvement, in good ball attack – the little amount of what we had – we got Elliot Wallis in space a number of times and if Jacob Miller had picked the right pass on our shapes we could have posted more points.

“We speak from a technical and tactical point of view. We have game plans and speak to players about opportunities but the basics of the game they have to nail those. The amount of errors at the play the ball and not taking that extra step to find space, that proved criminal.”

On one occasion at the start of the second-half, Castleford felt they had scored when Elliot Wallis went flying down the wing, only for referee Aaron Moore to judge he had stepped in touch.

Last, however, spoke to Wallis after the game with the winger adamant he stayed in the field of play.

“He is adamant that he isn’t in touch for Elliot and Jordan Turner, who was behind him, felt that he wasn’t in touch but when you are down there you don’t get those decisions.

“He is a strong athletic player, he is moving in the right direction and working hard in his game. He is one for the future, a couple of times he made the odd wrong decision but he is a kid that will listen and take it onboard going forward.”

In terms of injuries, Castleford did suffer a blow to Nathan Massey, but Last is keen to run with Gareth Widdop at fullback and Jack Broadbent and Jacob Miller in the halves.

“Injuries can scupper any plans that we would but I thought Gaz Widdop got around the field well, Jack Broadbent was the run threat on the right and I thought there was some promise there. We will try to build on that going forward.

“Nathan’s is a shoulder injury, he is struggling with mobility and he is struggling to raise his arm at the moment. It is difficult for him to get a good clean in the shower with it.”

Where does Last go from here? He admitted that he has had tried the angry approach with players, but now positivity is the way to go.

“We’ve gone down the route of hitting their heads with a big stick but they need to be told and in the right way.

“We are trying to focus on positives and trying to learn on things we didn’t do well. It’s a long season and we get an opportunity at the Magic Weekend to fix the things that we did poorly tonight. I’m hoping we get the same commitment from the 17 guys that take to the field.”