So the future is primrose and blue for Daryl Powell.
And in my book, Warrington have played a blinder, not just with his appointment, but also its timing.
We’d seen the announcements that Steve Price will return to Australia and Daryl will leave Castleford at the end of the season.
Now the speculation over Steve’s successor and Daryl’s next move is over, and both of them can concentrate on their current job.
It’s also good for the players at Warrington to know what is happening, and there is every incentive for them to try to make sure Steve leaves on a high, because they are also playing for a place in Daryl’s plans.
This sort of advance notice of coaching appointments is common in the NRL, but not so much over here, although I do recall late in the 2016 season, Hull KR announcing Tim Sheens, who was director of rugby at Salford, as their coach for the following campaign.
Salford ended up relegating Rovers from Super League in the Million Pound Game, although Tim had left by the time it took place to avoid a conflict of interest.
He led Rovers to promotion the following season, and Daryl will head to the Halliwell Jones knowing exactly what his brief is – not only to bring the title to Warrington for the first time since 1955 (unless Steve can come up with the goods this season), but to do it by playing an attractive brand of rugby.
We know he can deliver the latter, but people are pointing to the fact that while he has taken Castleford to both the Challenge Cup Final and Grand Final, they lost both.
That’s a fair point, as is the fact that he also suffered a Wembley defeat with Leeds and two second-tier Grand Final defeats with Featherstone (although they did win the big match at Sheffield’s expense in 2011) as well as a loss in the Northern Rail Cup Final.
Talk about always the bridesmaid! A bit like Warrington, who, while they have had some success in winning the Challenge Cup, have reached four Grand Finals since 2012, and lost each of them.
But I’ve known Daryl a long time, and I can assure you he’s not the kind of bloke who believes in jinxes. He’ll be looking forward, not at the past.
And at Warrington he’ll have a bigger budget and better training facilities than at Castleford, where he has engineered such a transformation since arriving midway through 2013 (think also of the foundations he laid for a really successful period in Leeds’ history and the way he established Featherstone as one of the top clubs outside Super League).
It’s a big challenge, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he has enough ability and experience to deal with the pressure and give it a really good go.
I think the Warrington supporters will love the way he gets his teams playing as well and I’m looking forward to seeing how he finishes as Castleford and then how he fares after crossing the Pennines.
The burning question now is who will replace Daryl at Castleford, and there’s no shortage of names being bandied about.
Lee Radford, who enjoyed Challenge Cup success with Hull, has his backers and plenty of knowhow, but I’m not sure either Shaun Wane or Brian McDermott, both of whom have been linked, would suit Castleford or the fans there.
James Ford, who has done a terrific job at York and is young and ambitious, has knocked back suggestions he might be interested, although that could change, while another former Castleford player, Danny Ward, would appear to be nicely settled at London Broncos.
Could Ryan Sheridan step up from his role as assistant coach? Possibly, but he’s a long-time ally of Daryl’s and might end up at Warrington too.
As I’ve mentioned previously, one person I’d like to see considered is a Warrington legend, Lee Briers, who is currently on the coaching staff there but might fancy a change of surroundings and a shot at being a head coach.
Meanwhile, it’s not just Daryl who is leaving Castleford.
Jon Wells, the director of rugby, is departing at the end of May, and I’d be happy to listen to anyone who can tell me his achievements in the role.
I don’t think it’s right that he has been doubling up as a Sky Sports pundit, because how can he be impartial about a league when he’s on the payroll of one of the member clubs?
He certainly seems to have had a go at some teams more often than others.
Perhaps he’ll now concentrate on his television work and giving a straightforward, honest opinion!
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