WATCH: Castleford Tigers v London Broncos – Daryl Powell impressed with Danny Ward’s Super League impact
HE HAS played alongside him and had a spell as his boss, but Castleford Tigers’ Daryl Powell admits he never saw Danny Ward as a potential top coach.
The two will be in opposite camps tomorrow when Ward’s in-form London Broncos side visit the Jungle looking for a fourth successive win in Betfred Super League.
Ward was last season’s coach of the year when he steered London to promotion at the end of his first campaign in charge.
Broncos were expected to go straight back down, but with 10 rounds remaining they are still in the fight and Ward was this week named as an assistant to Great Britain boss Wayne Bennett for this autumn’s Lions tour to New Zealand.
Powell was a player at Leeds when Ward made his debut there 20 years ago and coached him from 2001-2003 at the same club.
“He wasn’t one of those types you thought would definitely be a coach in the future,” Powell admitted of Ward, who is also a former Tigers player.
“He has done a great job and his character and personality helps.
“He is really relaxed, he is a funny guy - he’s always laughing - and I think he has maintained that through the year.
“I had a real good chat with him and [Ward’s assistant] Jamie Langley when we were down there earlier in the year and I think their character has really helped them to blossom as a team and as a club.”
London’s recent results have boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation, but - following successive defeats - Tigers’ season could yet go either way.
They slipped to seventh at the start of round 20 - outside the top-five on for and against and six points above bottom spot - and Powell admitted they need to get back to winning ways soon
“The table is pretty tight at the minute,” Powell said.
“We’ve been in the top-five pretty much all year, have dropped out of it now and we have to get ourselves back in there.
“The challenges sport presents are tough to deal with, but if you get out of them you get the most from the tough challenges.
“We need to be able to do that - to front up and not feel sorry for ourselves.”
He added: “We probably have a 50/50 split of players who are going okay and who are not playing well.
“The guys who are not playing well have just got to step up.
“They are all aware of that and once that happens I think you’ll see the best of us.”
Forward Junior Moors suffered a suspected fractured hip in last week’s defeat at Salford Red Devils which is expected to end his season.
Will Maher, Chris Clarkson and Cory Aston are all in contention to take his place in tomorrow’s 17.
Ben Hellewell, Greg Richards and Will Lovell are in contention for London with Nathan Mason dropping out from the side which beat Hull KR last week.
Castleford Tigers: from Aston, Blair, Clare, Clarkson, Cook, Egodo, Maher, Massey, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Rankin, Sene-Lefao, D Smith, Trueman, Watts.
London Broncos: from Abdull, Battye, Butler, Cunningham, Dixon, Fozard, Gee, Hellewell, Ioane, Kear, Krasniqi, Lovell, Morgan, Pitts, Richards, M Smith, Walker, Williams, Yates
Referee: Marcus Griffiths (Widnes).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3.30pm.