'We all back him': Castleford Tigers' George Lawler says new head-coach Andy Last has players' support

Forward George Lawler says new head-coach Andy Last is a popular appointment among Castleford Tigers’ players.
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Last was confirmed in the role this week, after serving as boss Lee Radford’s assistant and then a spell in interim charge.

“We all back Lasty,” Lawler insisted. “He has got a really good passion for us as a team and the club and he will send us in the right direction. He wants to bring a real togetherness. He has been big on that since day one.”

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Tigers, who won two of Last’s six games as interim-boss, are third from bottom in Betfred Super League, but Lawler insisted the spirit in the camp remains “really positive”.

George Lawler is tackled by Oliver Partington during Tigers' defeat at Salford last week. Picture by Olly Hassell/SWpix.com.George Lawler is tackled by Oliver Partington during Tigers' defeat at Salford last week. Picture by Olly Hassell/SWpix.com.
George Lawler is tackled by Oliver Partington during Tigers' defeat at Salford last week. Picture by Olly Hassell/SWpix.com.

He said: “We know what we have to do and that’s building each week. I think step by step we will get there.

“There’s been some [bad] results, but also a couple of good ones. It’s about us getting more good results and climbing that ladder.”

Last’s first game as head-coach is at home to Lawler’s former club Hull KR on Friday. The third-placed Robins are one of the competition’s form teams and the forward noted: “They have done really well.

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“They have got some punch right throughout the team. We know what we have got to do and we need to put it into practice.”

Gareth Widdop has been ruled out of Tigers' home clash with Hull KR. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.Gareth Widdop has been ruled out of Tigers' home clash with Hull KR. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.
Gareth Widdop has been ruled out of Tigers' home clash with Hull KR. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.
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Lawler swapped Hull KR for Castleford ahead of last season and stressed he has no regrets, despite the sides’ differing fortunes so far this term. He said: “I am loving my time here, it is a fantastic club.”

Tigers will face the Robins without stand-off Gareth Widdop who has yet to fully recover from a recent illness, despite playing in last week’s defeat at Salford Red Devils.

Nathan Massey and Daniel Smith also drop out, but Liam Watts could return from injury, Joe Westerman is available after suspension and Will Tate, a recent signing from Hull KR, is in contention to make his debut against his previous club. Mahe Fonua, Muizz Mustapha, Brad Martin and Suaia Matagi are also vying for a call up.

Joe Westerman is available after suspension. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.Joe Westerman is available after suspension. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.
Joe Westerman is available after suspension. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.
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Castleford Tigers: from Evalds, Eden, Turner, Fonua, Faraimo, Miller, Lawler, McShane, Griffin, Edwards, Mellor, Westerman, Milner, Broadbent, Mustapha, Matagi, Martin, Hall, Watts, Johnson, Tate.

Hull KR: from Coote, Ryan, Opacic, Kenny-Dowall, Hall, Abdull, Parcell, King, Linnett, Minchella, Litten, Kennedy, Batchelor, Storton, Keinhorst, Lewis, Hadley, Wood, Luckley, Aydin, Hall.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths (Widnes).

Kick-off: Friday, 8pm.