The Garry Schofield Column: Can Danny Ward deliver Castleford Tigers’ survival?

BETTER late than never.

Castleford have made a sensible coaching appointment in Danny Ward, and perhaps if they’d gone for him after Lee Radford departed three matches into the season, they wouldn’t be in their current predicament.

Danny did a great job as coach of London Broncos, getting them back into Super League and having a really good go at keeping them there.

The fact they came straight back down didn’t really tell the story of how positively he and his team approached playing in the top flight.  

By promoting Andy Last from assistant to succeed Radders, Castleford’s directors maybe thought they were ensuring some continuity, but the results show it didn’t work out, and now they have the fresh face, voice and methods they might well have benefited from back in March.

Danny had a spell as a Castleford player, so has a feel for the place, and he has always promoted the brand of rugby the supporters there like and demand.

Of course the key question is, has he got enough games to turn things around. In that respect, you can see whey John Kear, the king of the quick repair job, was linked with the role.

But Danny it is, and his arrival has certainly put a new complexion on the big local derby at Wakefield on Friday.

It’s not exactly winner takes all, but with the neighbours level on points at the bottom of the table and well adrift of the rest, victory will be a massive boost ahead of the five make-or-break rounds which follow. I think it will be Wakey by ten.

Looking further ahead, Castleford have a final-round showdown at Leeds on Friday, September 22, and given Danny and his dad David’s association with Headingley, what a story it would be if Super League survival came down to that game.

As for this weekend’s other fixtures, I’m predicting Huddersfield by 14 against Salford and Wigan by 24 against Hull on Friday, and Leeds by a point against Warrington on Sunday.