Andy Last on Castleford Tigers “desperation”, Joe Westerman sinbin, Mark Applegarth, and the “need” to stay in Super League

CASTLEFORD TIGERS head coach Andy Last has admitted his stomach was doing “somersaults” all day before he helped guide his side to a 16-4 win over local rivals Wakefield Trinity.

The Tigers scored two first-half tries and added another in the final stages to take the game away from Trinity, who still remain winless in Super League 2023.

Last believes that the consequences of the result meant that both teams were nervous.

“I think it was a typical game of two teams that were a little bit low on confidence that were desperate for the two points,” Last said.

“Both of us felt their way in a little bit. We certainly played well within ourselves in the second-half. Our completion rate was really good but we didn’t pass the ball more than twice in a tackle.

“There was a real desperation to get to the end of our sets which gave us energy to defend with on the back of that.

“They challenged us and asked us some questions but we made some really big defensive plays.

“I really feel for Wakefield in a strange sort of way. I spent a year there and there are some great staff and great players.

“Mark Applegarth is a good young English coach, it was a desperate performance and both teams wanted those two points. But, I’m pleased I’m sat here with the two points in the bag.

Last also gave his view on the sinbin handed to Joe Westerman just before the hour for a trip on Jay Pitts.

“It was a strange one because we had done really well to defend the set and then he (Pitts) has given a show and go.

“We were wondering what was going on for a while, but the Sky cameras picked up that he stuck his leg out and he deserved to get ten minutes.

“But, the character in that ten minute period was something I’ve stressed to the guys. In this period of adversity we learn about resilience – we showed that in that period and we turned them away when we went down to 12 men.

“The win allows us to look forward rather than behind us and now we will go to Salford on Thursday on the back of a win and the boys deserved the two points tonight.”

The Castleford interim boss hailed Paul McShane and two-try scorer Greg Eden.

“Paul McShane gave a real captain’s knock,” Last continued. “He controlled the ruck really well and came up with some smart decisions.

“I thought Jacob Miller had a calming influence on the team. We probably weren’t as creative as I’d have liked to be but sometimes you’ve got to win differently and I think in a high pressure game we were able to rollup our sleeves.

“He doesn’t slow down Greg, he has been good for us and been good for Castleford for a number of years now.

“He has got that x factor and the ability to come up with something out of nothing. How he managed to get on the end of Paul McShane’s break was instinct to get onto the end of it.

“The finish at the end he didn’t have much room to work with and he grounded the ball left handed. We didn’t have much good field position in the second half. ”

Last went on to explain just how stressful he was throughout the day.

“It was extremely stressful, I was very nervous and woke up early this morning thinking about the game and to make sure we had done everything we could to get the performance.

“My stomach was doing somersaults but that shows that we care and that we are desperate to get a performance and get the two points.

“A hell of a lot of people have invested time money and effort into this club and we need to make sure we stay in Super League.”