For the 2012 season following Terry Matterson’s exit from Castleford, a new coach was welcomed to my hometown rugby league club. Ian Milward, he was very successful at St Helens but failed to find that sort of success elsewhere in Rugby League, once the appointment was announced I wasn’t massively confident and thought better names were out there to replace Terry.
I gave him a few weeks, and then a few months, and eventually over a season to get into a winning way with Castleford but this didn’t happen. My reservations were further compounded by our best player (Rangi “The magician” Chase) saying the boss has asked him to play a more ‘team role’ this season (2012). A read this as a bit of an odd tactic it’s like telling Messi you want him to pass the ball more rather doing them fancy ricks and scoring stunning goals. Some other odd things started to happen…
Now Richard was (and is) a perfectly good full back but as soon as Ian arrived it was made clear his services would not be required by the club and he was quickly shopped out to our rivals Wakefield Wildcats. This was despite not having a good replacement for him waiting to take the Full Back role from him at the time.
The players didn’t seem to be very happy, nothing you could but a finger on but you felt the moral around Castleford was somewhat down and confidence; especially, was very low.To illistrate this fact take a look at the Cas tigers TV youtube channel.
When players are not happy they tend to shy away from the camera, during Ian’s rein towards the bottom of this page you see he is the only one talking (pre game). After he leaves you can see a release of energy with everyone up for a chat. Either that or Ian controlled the output too much, either it seems a bad call.
So Jack (Fulton) and the board had a meeting with Ian 11 games into the season, they asked him where he thought the team would be come the end of the season, he couldn’t reply with any certainty and for that he was asked to step aside.
His replacement a man who never has to buy a pint in Castleford; Danny Orr, club captain and a man who bleeds Black and Amber, Danny Orr (pictured top) had no previous management experience and had been assistant manager at the club barely long enough to get a free meal at the game. With Ian out of the way and a sense of passion with ‘one of their own’ leading them Cas saw 2 wins in 4 matches (an impressive record for someone steadying the ship).
The permanent replacement was a man of the town, Daryl Powell a man who drinks in some of the same pubs as my dad, and has shown his management prowess at our noisey flatcap neighbours Fev (beating us in a challenge cup match no less). This has gone very well so far and he seems to be using the players available to the best of their ability (simple really!!!), but more than this, there is a confidence and a buzz around the team again and it’s not out of the question to be finishing inside the top 8 (although that is a big ask).
We recently beat the team at the top of the table, who had a few players out and had played 4 days previous however they should have been able to beat us.
The future looks bright but wouldn’t have been nice not to waste one and half seasons.