Warrington 48 (18) Tries: Atkins, O’Brien, Bridge, Evans (2), England, Ratchford, J. Monaghan Goals: Bridge 3, Ratchford 5
Castleford 10 (4) Tries: Clare, Holmes Goals: Finn
Warrington leapfrogged Castleford into 4th place after a convincing 48-10 victory over the Tigers on Friday night.
With one eye on next Saturday’s Challenge Cup final against Leeds, Castleford head coach Daryl Powell rested several players ahead of the final, yet it was the Tigers who looked more dangerous in the opening stages. Scott Wheeldon thought he’d gone over for the opening try 3 minutes only for the video referee to disallow the try after deeming Frankie Mariano to have knocked on during a high ball contest with Stefan Ratchford.
Warrington only had 2 opportunities in the opening 15 minutes, but took them both. An awkward kick over the top from Gareth O’Brien 5 minutes in deceived Ben Reynolds as the ball bounced backwards into the arms of Ryan Atkins who shrugged off Jordan Tansey for Warrington’s first try. 10 minutes later a brilliant move by Michael Monaghan saw the Australian throw a dummy pass which deceived Weller Hauraki on the Castleford 40 metre line. Monaghan broke through to find O’Brien in support on the inside to double the Wolves’ lead.
O’Brien, who was given the nod by Tony Smith ahead of Richie Myler, suffered a high challenge from Wheeldon on 23 minutes which gave Warrington another set of 6 on the Castleford line. Chris Bridge darted over, squeezing between Hauraki and Wheeldon for the Wolves’ 3rd try.
The Tigers ensured they didn’t finish the half scoreless however after a brilliant looping pass from Jamie Ellis made its way to James Clare on the wing who produced a superb airborne effort to get the ball down in the tightest of angles.
Castleford began the second half as they started the first and were rewarded with a try on 47 minutes after Oliver Holmes forced his way over.
With the score at 18-10 the game could have gone either way, but it was Warrington’s night as the Wolves scored 5 more unanswered tries. Rhys Evans scored two of those, the first on 52 minutes after a move which saw Warrington have men in numbers out wide for the Welsh youngster to go over in the corner.
Anthony England charged over just before the hour mark and then quick play between Michael Monaghan and Matty Russell gave Stefan Ratchford the opportunity to go over to make the score 36-10 going into the final 10 minutes.
A grubber kick 30 metres out by O’Brien was knocked on by Brad Day, who was making his Castleford debut, on 73 minutes. Michael Monaghan collected the ball and passed to his brother, Joel, who went over to become the top tryscorer in Super League this season.
Warrington weren’t done yet though, as a kick from Micky Higham deflected off Mariano with 3 minutes left. Higham’s 2nd effort for a kick into the corner was picked up by Evans who went over for his second try. Ratchford converted to secure a 48-10 victory for the Wolves.
Warrington now sit in 4th on score difference and Castleford move down one place into 5th. Interestingly both sides have 32 points with 3 games to go, as do Leeds in 3rd and Huddersfield in 6th. A top 4 finish will be the aim for both sides as the Super League season reaches its climax.
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