Head coach Daryl Powell is to leave Castleford Tigers at the end of the 2021 Super League season.
Powell, 55, took over at his boyhood club in 2013, succeeding Ian Millward, and turned the Tigers into a side challenging for honours.
He led the club to the 2014 Challenge Cup final, and won the League Leaders’ Shield and reached a first summer-era Grand Final in 2017.
“For both me and the club, it is the right time,” Powell said.
“It gives the club time to plan for the future, I thought the timing was right and I wanted to make a proactive decision, for both parties it gives us that time.
“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.”
Powell enjoyed a stellar playing career, earning Great Britain and England honours alongside club spells at Leeds, Keighley and Sheffield, plus Balmain Tigers and Gold Coast Seagulls in Australia.
He showed similar aptitude for coaching, helping establish the ‘golden generation’ with Leeds, and then, after a break from league, taking Featherstone to three straight Championship Grand Finals between 2010 and 2012.
And he continued to impress following his arrival at Castleford, turning the Tigers from a side battling at the wrong end of the table to one pushing for titles, qualifying for the end-of-season play-offs four times.
Powell got the best out of homegrown players such as Craig Huby and Man of Steel winner Daryl Clark, replacing both astutely following their departures with signings such as Junior Moors and Paul McShane.
One of the smartest signings, Luke Gale, was nurtured into an England World Cup half-back; Adam Milner also won international honours as an aggressive back-rower and former London Broncos back-row Mike McMeeken also played for the national team.
Their 2017 season was a bittersweet year of highs that finished on a low, as Powell’s Tigers marched to 25 wins from 30 regular season games.
But after full-back Zak Hardaker failed a drugs test and was ruled out of the Grand Final, Cas were overrun by Leeds at a wet Old Trafford.
Since that season, Castleford have been unable to quite hit the same heights, but there is optimism this season, with reigning Man of Steel McShane hoping for another big campaign, and the arrival of full-back Niall Evalds to complement the halves spine of Danny Richardson and England hopeful Jake Trueman.
More to follow.