It’s payback time for Niall Evalds as he attempts to help Castleford give Daryl Powell a fitting send off.
The Tigers coach is to leave the club at the end of the season, by which time he will have been in charge for more than eight years.
The 55-year-old former Keighley, Leeds and Featherstone chief wants to sign off with a second Grand Final appearance after that of 2017.
Powell, who also led Castleford to the 2014 Challenge Cup final, said: “It gives the club time to plan for the future.
“I thought the timing was right and I wanted to make a proactive decision, for both parties it gives us that time.”
Warrington, the Tigers’ opening opponents on Sunday, previously announced their coach Steve Price will leave at the end of this season.
But Powell was quick to play down suggestions of a forthcoming switch to the Wolves and insisted his focus remains firmly on Castleford.
“I am massively motivated this year, I have loved being a part of the club’s history and helping players to grow and develop,” he said.
“I would really love to finish off in a positive way with a Grand Final win and close a chapter that has been such a special time in my life.”
Fullback Evalds featured in both a Grand Final and Challenge Cup Final for Salford, where he spent eight seasons.
The Yorkshire-born 27-year-old, the joint-second top-scorer in Super League with 22 tries last season, also won England Knights honours.
And he believes his switch to the Tigers, which was influenced by the presence of Powell, can help him further progress his career and push for a World Cup call-up from Shaun Wane.
“I was very fortunate to play under Ian Watson at Salford, and now I’m working with another great coach in Daryl Powell,” he said.
“He challenges me every time we have a training session, he takes me out of my comfort zone, and that’s a big part of why I came here.
“I want to make myself a better player, and I think working with the coaching staff here will help me do that.”
Castleford struggled post-lockdown last season, and Evalds added: “We need to get back to being a top-end team.
“There is so much potential here and I am excited about the opportunity to help us do something special.
“Pre-season has been tough but enjoyable, and there’s a good vibe around the camp. Now we have to transfer that positive energy onto the pitch.”
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