Daryl Powell says he will be “massively motivated” to lead Castleford to an elusive Grand Final triumph in his farewell season with the club.
The 55-year-old Powell, who is Super League’s longest serving coach, says the time is right after announcing he will end his eight-year tenure with the Tigers at the end of the 2021 season.
The shock news comes in the wake of Warrington’s announcement that their head coach Steve Price will leave the club at the end of the season and Powell will inevitably be linked with that vacancy.
However, the Wolves say they have yet to begin interviews and Powell insists he is solely focused on ending his time with his home-town club on a high.
Castleford were struggling near the foot of the table when Powell left his job at neighbouring Featherstone to succeed Ian Millward in May 2013 and quickly turned around their fortunes.
He guided them to Wembley in his first full season and masterminded a League Leaders’ Shield triumph in 2017, although they went on to lose to Leeds in the Grand Final.
The Tigers failed to make the play-offs in 2020 and that will add to Powell’s desire to finish the job he started.
“This is my eighth full season in charge which for a coach is a long time and towards the end of last season, I sat down with (chairman) Ian Fulton and explained what I wanted to do,” he said.
“For both me and the club, it is the right time. I want to finish what has been an unbelievably great time for me at Castleford personally in a positive way this year.
“I wanted to make a proactive decision and it gives the club time to plan for the future.
“I am massively motivated this year. I have loved being a part of the club’s history and helping players to grow and develop and I would really love to finish off in a positive way with a Grand Final win and close a chapter that has been such a special time in my life.
“It is going to be tough no doubt about that, but we have had an awesome pre-season and there is a good opportunity for us all to pull together and make sure anyone finishing at the club this year has a special final season.
“Castleford has been my club. I supported the team as a young fella and for me to be able to coach the team has been a dream come true.”
Castleford chairman Ian Fulton says the search for a replacement is already under way.
“After some lengthy conversations that started at the end of 2020, both Daryl and the club felt that with a number of coaches and players out of contract at the end of the year, 2022 would be the right time for a new face to come in and take charge,” Fulton said.
“The process of appointing that person will be incredibly thorough and has already begun internally.
“I personally and on behalf of all Tigers’ fans would like to thank Daryl for all his hard work over the years.
“He has been an integral part of this team and indeed the local community in the time he has spent here.
“I know his achievements here will have given him and his family memories to last a lifetime and he is committed to making even more in 2021 and we would love to see him end his time at Castleford with silverware.”