Danny Ward keen to repay Castleford Tigers’ faith with Super League survival

DANNY WARD is keen to repay the faith shown by Castleford Tigers in bringing him back to Super League – by keeping them in the division.

Former London Broncos chief Ward has been appointed head coach on a short-term deal for the final six matches of the season, succeeding Andy Last, who departed after their most recent defeat against Huddersfield Giants.

His first game is perhaps one of the biggest in Castleford’s modern history, as they take on relegation rivals Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue this Friday.

As a player, Ward was part of the last Castleford squad to experience relegation from Super League in 2006, and the final game of his one-season spell was the famous decider against Wakefield which put the Tigers down.

Since then, the former Leeds Rhinos star prop has carved out a fine coaching reputation, taking over at London Broncos in 2018 and leading the capital club to promotion in his first season.

Their instant return to the Championship came despite winning ten matches, the most of any relegated Super League team, but he left the Broncos midway through the 2021 campaign by mutual consent.

Despite declaring his interest in the Castleford job earlier this year, when Last was appointed to succeed Lee Radford, only now is Ward finally back in the game.

“I am proud to be able to lead such a fantastic club which I have played for and have lots of happy memories of,” said Ward of his return.

“It’s a proud moment for me to be given that opportunity and I am looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s exciting and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve always wanted to get back coaching at the top level and I back myself to be coaching at that level as well.

“I’m thankful for Castleford to give me that opportunity to coach back in Super League and I’m hoping I can do a good job in a short space of time.”

Also arriving at the club last week was Australian coach Dane Dorahy, who will work alongside Ward and fellow assistants Craig Lingard and Scott Murrell.

Dorahy played for Rochdale, Wakefield, Hull KR and Halifax and has worked on the staff at Wests Tigers, South Sydney Rabbitohs and St George Illawarra Dragons.

Castleford’s director of rugby operations, Danny Wilson, explained: “We started the process of having to appoint a new coach and we consulted the playing group and asked them what they felt they needed. 

“Immediately we thought that Danny Ward was someone who fit the bill and we made contact.

“Danny is still young with experience at Super League level, and we wanted to bring in another new coach with new ideas.

“We looked overseas to see who the young talented coaches are within the NRL system and Dane’s name came up. We started a process to look at that and his coaching background which was very exciting to us.

“I think it shows our intent to stay in Super League to bring not just a coach of the calibre of Danny Ward in but to also bring in an assistant who is up and coming to compliment the great work that Craig Lingard and Scott Murrell are already doing.

“We’ve boxed it off now and we can really move forward and kick on for the last six games of the season.”