Andy Last outlines his plans after being confirmed as Castleford Tigers new head coach

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Andy Last has highlighted his aims after achieving his head coach ambitions in being appointed as Castleford Tigers’ new leader.

Last is looking forward to making his own mark after being confirmed as permanent head coach on a two-and-a-half-year contract after over a year as assistant coach and a six-game spell as interim head.

The 42-year-old will be looking to utilise his experience, having represented his hometown club Hull FC as a player and a coach for over 23 years before moving on to Wakefield Trinity then the Tigers.

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“I am absolutely over the moon!" he said. “I have been waiting for an opportunity as a head coach for a number of years now and I feel as though I have served my apprenticeship working alongside some outstanding coaches whom I have learned a great deal from.

Andy Last is over the moon at being appointed Castleford Tigers head coach. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comAndy Last is over the moon at being appointed Castleford Tigers head coach. Picture: Allan McKenzie/
Andy Last is over the moon at being appointed Castleford Tigers head coach. Picture: Allan McKenzie/

“I’m looking forward to putting my mark on Castleford over the next two-and-a-half years.

"It’s a very honest and hardworking club which is steeped in a rich history and you look at the players who have represented Castleford Tigers over the years, there have been some fantastic players who have worn the shirt.

"I’m looking forward to influencing the current group of players that we have and putting my stamp on things moving forward.”

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Last aims to get the “classy Cas” tag back for the club after a tricky start to 2023.

He explained: “I want us to be more creative and I want us to be playing with more shape. We want to really encourage the players to support the ball carrier and I want us to be moving the ball quickly east to west with strike plays on the edges.

“We have got some creative players at the moment, but we just need to implement a couple of tweaks and adjustments to get us playing the way we want to play.

"We want to make sure we entertain and be brave enough to find that pass or offload. I think defensively over the last three or four weeks we have been showing a better desire to stop the opposition from scoring.

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“What we need to do is try and find that energy and enthusiasm when we’ve got the ball and to make a little more of it when we are attacking.”

With the signings of promising youngsters Luis Johnson and Will Tate this month, Last’s recruitment and squad building is already under way and he identified what he will be looking for in terms of retention and recruitment for 2024 and beyond, which will involve dealing with a large number of Cas players out of contract at the end of this season.

He outlined: “The main factor when we make recruitment or retention decisions is whether they will improve Castleford Tigers, will they help us to be competitive and win more games.

"I’ve made no secret that there are big decisions to be made going forward, but I think a big thing for us is looking at the profile of the squad and making sure we recruit the best fit in terms of outside backs who are going to be creative from an attacking point of view and a forward pack that is dynamic with leg speed.

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“It’s about that blend of having experienced heads alongside players who have their best years ahead of them and it’s important that supporters know that the decisions made will be in the best interests of the club not only in the short term but in the long term too.”

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Last sent out a message to Cas fans when he added: “The fans are very passionate and expect a certain style of play and we know there have been frustrations at times, but they keep supporting the team.

"The players are working hard on a day-to-day basis and I’m sure if we all continue working hard and being united then we will start to win more games than we lose.

"We will then start to get that atmosphere that is second to none at The Jungle and what we love playing in front of.

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“There’s nothing better than that and we look forward to playing in front of it again on Friday night against Hull KR.”

During his time as assistant at Hull, Last helped the club achieve back-to-back Challenge Cup final successes in 2016 and 2017 before taking interim control during the 2020 season, where he guided them to the Betfred Super League semi-finals.

Last is also one of England head coach Shaun Wane’s assistants, a role he will be keeping.