Castleford finished the last game of the regular season with a 52-24 victory over Widnes, landing them a third place finish before the Super 8s begin in two weeks’ time. This defeat for Widnes means they have lost their last 16 Super League matches and face tough competition in their Qualifiers campaign.
Widnes got off to the worst possible start after they were a man down after three minutes, with Krisnan Inu being shown a yellow card for a lifting tackle, and Castleford took advantage with Greg Eden crossing for the first try of the afternoon only a minute after.
Widnes hit back through Patrick Ah Van in the tenth minute and his score was swiftly followed just seven minutes later when Rhys Hanbury added another in the 17th minute.
Eden then added his second of the afternoon with a 50-metre interception, with Jamie Ellis adding his 1000th career point with the conversion. This started a spell of four tries in just seven minutes for the Tigers with Jake Trueman’s score and then a brace from Quentin Laulu-Togagae, which included starting and finishing a superb length of the field effort.
With just two minutes until half-time, the Vikings hit back with Harrison Hansen barging over to give them something to celebrate. This meant the Tigers went into the sheds with a 28-18 lead.
Castleford then finished where they left off at the start of the second half with Oliver Holmes and Mitch Clark crossing before Eden completed yet another hat-trick for the Tigers.
Widnes winger Ah Van added a consolation try in the 74th minute before Adam Milner went over two minutes before the hooter to give Castleford a comfortable victory and a job well done for the day.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Castleford a force to be reckoned with
After dominating last season but not quite making the final hurdle with a Grand Final win, the Tigers will be hoping to go one better in 2018. They have not been as clinical this year after injuries to key personnel but finally they look like they are starting to scare quite a few sides. A third-place finish after the regular season is no easy task.
Widnes show promise
With the Deadline Day transfers of Liam Finn and Harrison Hansen, these two players come with a wealth of experience and skills that the Vikings have been missing. Finn can finally organise the side and Hansen adds leadership and power into the pack. Today’s performance was more competitive than previous weeks which should give them some confidence going into the Qualifiers in a fortnight.
Widnes Vikings 24
Tries: Ah Van (2), Hanbury, Hansen
Goals: Ah Van, Inu (3)
Castleford Tigers 52
Tries: Eden (3), Trueman, Laulu-Togaga’e (2), Holmes, Clark, Milner
Goals: Ellis (8)
Widnes: Hanbury; Ah Van, Whitley, Inu, Ince; Mellor, Finn; J. Chapelhow, D. Walker, Olbison; Dean, Hansen, Hauraki.
Interchanges: Craven, Leuluai, T. Chapelhow, Farnworth.
Castleford: Laulu-Togagae; Clare, Mata’utia, Shenton, Eden; Ellis, Trueman; Watts, McShane, Massey; Holmes, McMeeken, Milner.
Interchanges: Moors, Sene-Lefao, Clark, Turner.
Referee: Liam Moore