Hurst favourite to become Tigers' coach

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The Independent Online

Relegated Castleford are set to lose one of their most prized players today, but are close to appointing a new coach.

Relegated Castleford are set to lose one of their most prized players today, but are close to appointing a new coach.

Wigan are set to announce the signing of the Tigers' hooker, Wayne Godwin, this afternoon while tomorrow will see the favourite for the coaching job at The Jungle, Murray Hurst, fly in for an interview.

"He is not in the country yet and he has certainly not been appointed, but it would be fair to describe him as the front-runner," said a club spokesman. "We need to have a new coach in place soon because we have a number of players deciding whether to join us."

Castleford had hoped to retain Godwin, who will be joining a club with two specialist hookers already on their books in Terry Newton and Mark Smith.

The Wigan and Great Britain captain, Andy Farrell, has been named as the Tetley's Super League Man of Steel for the second time. Farrell first won the leading individual award in the game in 1996. His efforts for his club, which involved him playing in the unfamiliar position of prop for much of the season, also saw him voted Players' Players of the Year, beating Leeds' Danny McGuire and Lesley Vainikolo of Bradford.

Wakefield's startling improvement is reflected in the selection of Shane McNally as Coach of the Year, while Hull's Shaun Briscoe took the Young Player award.

Castleford's Australian-born full-back, Damian Gibson, will captain Wales in their opening match of the European Nations tournament against Ireland at Aberavon on Sunday.

Four other players who have appeared in Super League this season are in the 23-man squad, plus six who have played for Welsh clubs in the RL Conference. They include the Bridgend Blue Bulls' player-coach, Kevin Ellis, who is now 39.

A new club, also based in Bridgend, is preparing an application for membership of National League Two in 2006, but says that the side could be ready for next season if Chorley Lynx are unable to continue. The signs are, however, that the club will relocate to Blackpool for 2005.

Stuart Jones has become a Huddersfield player after a year on loan from St Helens. Jones, who was an ever-present last season, has agreed a two-year contract.

"He is a young back-rower with a big future in the game," said the Giants' coach, Jon Sharp.