Danny Ward aims to hit the ground running in new head coach role with Castleford Tigers
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The Tigers have confirmed the appointment of Ward along with new assistant coach Dane Dorahy on deals until the end of the 2023 season.
The 43-year-old knows all about Cas, having played at Wheldon Road after beginning his Super League career with Leeds Rhinos, featuring in their 2004 Super League Grand Final victory and the World Club Challenge success in 2005.
Ward moved into coaching with London, firstly as academy coach in 2014. He was named assistant the following year and was promoted to head coach of the Broncos ahead of the 2018 season.
London tasted success under Ward that year, going all the way to the Million Pound Game and achieved promotion by edging out Toronto Wolfpack by 4 points to 2.
“I am buzzing and made up with the appointment,” he said.
"I am proud to be able to lead such a fantastic club, which I have played for, and have lots of happy memories at. It’s a proud moment for me to be given that opportunity and I am looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s exciting and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve always wanted to get back coaching at the top level and I back myself to be coaching at that level as well. I’m thankful for Cas to give me that opportunity to coach back in Super League and I’m hoping I can do a good job in a short space of time.
“It’s a proud club with a rich history in the way they like to play rugby. There are no more passionate fans than at Cas and they are some of the best supporters in the league.
"That knowledge of the club will help because I know people there already and I know a few of the players which will make the transition easier so I can hit the ground running.”In a message to Cas fans, Ward added: “They are fantastic supporters and have been amazing all year through thick and thin as they have over the years. Stick with the boys and get behind us and we’ll put in some performances that will do you proud.”
New assistant Dorahy, 45, is the son of former Aussie international John Dorahy and joins the Tigers having featured for Rochdale Hornets, Wakefield Trinity, Hull KR, and Halifax during his playing days in the UK.
Like his father, Dane moved into coaching and has extensive experience within a few clubs in the NRL. Dorahy’s first coaching role saw him take up the position of assistant coach of Wests Tigers’ second grade side, then moved on to South Sydney Rabbitohs, before switching to St George Illawarra Dragons most recently.
Dorahy will join fellow assistant coaches Craig Lingard and Scott Murrell in the coaching set-up at Wheldon Road.
He said: “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to come to a club like Castleford that is steeped in rich history.
"The challenge of assisting Danny at Cas in Super League excites me and I can’t wait to arrive. I’ve lived and breathed these challenges as a player in the UK, so I know what it takes. Let’s get to work!”
Castleford’s director of rugby operations Danny Wilson explained the process of appointing the coaches and how encouraged he is to see them link up with the club.
He said: “We started the process of having to appoint a new coach and we consulted the playing group and asked them what they felt they needed. Immediately we thought that Danny Ward was someone who fit the bill and we made contact.
“There was also a need to bring some fresh ideas in as well. We’ve been wanting to bring in talented young players into the system and it’s the same with coaches as well.
"Danny is still young with experience at Super League level and we wanted to bring in another new coach with new ideas.
“We looked overseas to see who the young talented coaches are within the NRL system and Dane’s name came up. We started a process to look at that and his coaching background which was very exciting to us.
“I think it shows our intent to stay in Super League to bring not just a coach of the calibre of Danny Ward in but to also bring in an assistant who is up and coming to compliment the great work that Craig Lingard and Scott Murrell are already doing. We’ve boxed it off now and we can really move forward and kick on for the last six games of the season.”