Although on opposing teams, Last and Tigers head coach Lee Radford attended the tournament together. The team that defeated the host nation, England, in the semis was Samoa, and Radford was in charge of their defense.
Last is grateful for the lessons he has learned working under Shaun Wane, the head coach of the Samoan national team.
According to Last, “I’ve learned a lot from Shaun and other members of the coaching staff I’ve worked with, like Paul Wellens and Paul Anderson, as well as the medical team and the S&C staff, who are the best at what they do,” as well as the medical team and the S&C staff.
I’ll always remember how helpful it was for my education to talk to them about different aspects of the game.
In addition to the technical and tactical lessons he learned working under Wane, Last was particularly impressed by his approach to building team spirit and attempting to instill a winning mindset in the team.
The former hooker for Hull FC was impressed by the work ethic of veteran international Chris Hill and NRL star Victor Radley, and as the 2023 season gets underway, he wants Castleford’s team to meet those standards.
Because he was revered in Samoa alongside the rest of the Pacific Islanders’ training staff for leading them to the World Cup final, Radford was unable to play in the Tigers’ first preseason game against Featherstone Meanderers on New Year’s Eve. However, he had a comparable impact on his work as guard mentor with the finalists.
Radford and Last have already had the chance to talk about the tournament and are particularly impressed by how Stephen and Jarome Luai approach the situation. On the other hand, Joseph Sua’ali’I, a young fullback, stood out on and off the field.
In a winner-take-all matchup with the Leeds Rhinos on the final day of the regular season in 2022, Castleford narrowly missed out on a playoff spot.
As a result of Daryl Powell’s eight years as manager of Warrington Wolves, they already had a team with strong attacking fundamentals. Last was particularly pleased by the Tigers’ forwards’ ability to move the ball.
The Tigers’ roster has grown with the additions of halfbacks Jacob Miller and Gareth Widdop, who come from Wakefield Trinity and Warrington, respectively. However, the Tigers’ primary focus has been on improving their defense.