Castleford Tigers have announced that Andy Last has joined the club as assistant coach.
A highly regarded and vastly experienced coach, Last spent 23 years at his hometown club Hull FC as both a player and a coach.
While he was assistant to Lee Radford, the Black & Whites secured back-to-back Challenge Cup Final victories at Wembley Stadium in 2016 and 2017.
Following Radford’s exit at Hull FC, Last stepped up as interim head coach during the 2020 season, guiding them to the Betfred Super League semi-finals. In that same season, he was named as one of the assistants to England head coach, Shaun Wane, ahead of the now postponed Rugby League World Cup 2021.
In 2021, Last has been an assistant coach at Wakefield Trinity, but he now makes the move to join the Tigers in 2022.
Speaking to castlefordtigers.com about the news, Andy Last said: “I’m really excited to join Castleford. I spoke with Lee during the course of the season; he reached out and asked if I would be up for the challenge of being his assistant once again. It was a tough decision; I was enjoying my time at Wakefield but the opportunity to work at a great club like Castleford, with its history was a challenge I was really looking forward to and one I wanted to take up.”
Last is excited to continue his working relationship with Lee Radford, which stems back to when they were both teenagers.
“I’d have been 16-years-old, signed for Hull FC and Lee was part of the Academy team which I played in. We always got on really well, on and off the field. He ended up going to Bradford and then came back in 2006, when I’d moved on to the coaching staff at Hull FC.
“We ended up hitting it off from both a player and a coaching point of view, and then he got the job as Head Coach when I was Head of Youth at the time. He asked if I would come and assist him with the first team. We had some successful years together as and I’m hoping for the same sort of success here at Castleford.”
The 40-year-old has been involved in coaching for 17 years and with new players, Jake Mamo, Alex Sutcliffe, Kenny Edwards, and Bureta Faraimo coming into the team, plus the return of Joe Westerman, and star players already within the club such as Niall Evalds, Jake Trueman and Paul McShane, Last is excited to get to work with the Tigers.
“My personality and my character traits are well suited to this role,” he said.
“I build up good relationships with players, I’m an anorak of the game – I love the game, watch the NRL and like the history of the former great players. I’m a little bit of a student of the game and hopefully, we’ll be able to tap into that depth of experience and knowledge here at Castleford.
“In the squad that Lee has put together there are some really exciting players coming in and hopefully we can tweak a few things here and there and be successful together again.”
Radford is delighted to welcome Last into his coaching setup and said: “I came through the Academy with Andy, played against him at an amateur level as well as professional, but then I also got to work with him on the coaching staff. We have had some fantastic success together.
“I love the way he works, his honesty, how diligent and articulate he is as a coach. I think that has been recognised recently with his admission onto the England staff.
“The fact that he’s worked at international level with the Academy too shows how highly respected he is as a coach.
“I’m really pleased to get him on board and hopefully having more success with him at Castleford.”