Castleford Tigers impressed once again as they beat a determined Salford Red Devils side 24-20 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
The Tigers fell to their first loss of the Super League season away to Warrington last week and they were made to work hard for a win that took them level with the Wolves in second place behind St. Helens.
It looked a routine, comfortable victory after Greg Eden added to first-half tries from Nathan Massey and Jordan Rankin to give them an 18-4 lead, but Salford didn’t read the script.
Coming into the game off the back of their stunning 46-0 demolition of Catalans Dragons last time out, the Red Devils produced a stunning fightback back as Jansin Turgut and Joey Lussick scored in quick succession.
This came after the visitors sensed an opportunity when Paul McShane was sin-binned after he and teammate Peter Mata’utia reacted fiercely to Devils debutant Adam Walker’s tackle, who making his first appearance after serving a drugs ban.
And although Jesse Sene-Lefao’s try gave the Tigers slight breathing space, the impressive Jake Bibby went over for his second try to set up a nervy finish that, in truth, Castleford survived relatively comfortably.
The Tigers are near enough invincible on home soil and they showed why as they closed out a gritty win as, despite Eden having a try disallowed for obstruction, Castleford were soon celebrating as Sene-Lefao went through a gaping hole in Salford’s defence after taking McShane’s pass to make the crucial final score for the hosts.
Cas are immense at home
Salford played rugby that would have been good enough to beat pretty much anyone at times – anyone, that is, except the Tigers. Their dogged determination, coupled with incredible quality spurred on by a brilliant home atmosphere, makes them possibly the hardest team to beat on home turf.
Salford just aren’t getting lucky
Despite their great start to the Super League campaign, Salford still have their critics. But they definitely deserve to be fairly high up the table and, if they keep us these kind of performances, that’s where they’ll stay.
Eden is crucial for Castleford
The Mend-A-Hose Jungle is a fortress for the Tigers but against Salford, there were a few moments when that came under threat. However, every time the visitors looked like causing an upset, up stepped Greg Eden. When they needed someone to get them over the line, the 28-year-old made sure he did and deservedly took the Player of the Match award.
Cas could have silverware this year
With strength in depth all over the field, Castelford are arguably in their best position for a number of years. Of course, St Helens are the only Super League to have a 100% in tact, but if they slip up, the Tigers will be ready to pounce.
Castleford Tigers 24
Tries: Massey, Rankin, Eden, Sene-Lefao
Goals: Rankin (4)
Drop Goals: n/a
Salford Red Devils 20
Tries: Bibby (2), Turgut, Lussick
Goals: Lussick (2)
Drop Goals: n/a
Castleford Tigers: Mata’utia, Minikin, Foster, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Moors, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, Massey.
Interchanges: Milner, Cook, Egodo, Clarkson.
Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Olpherts, Welham, Bibby, Sio, Lui, Hastings, Murray, Lussick, Dudson, Jones, Turgut, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Griffin, Walker, Nakubuwai, Tomkins.