Castleford Tigers 12 match unbeaten run came to an abrupt end as St. Helens announced their title bid with a superb 12-26 victory at the Jungle. This is Saints’ fourth consecutive win which certainly puts Justin Holbrook’s side within the conversation regarding a place in the semi-finals.
THE PERFECT START
One of the main aspects behind Saints’ victory was their first half performance. Restricting Cas to nil points in the opening forty minutes is no easy feat. If I recall correctly the only other team to do it was Wakefield about a month ago when they took an unprecedented 16-0 lead at the interval.
On that day, Daryl Powell’s side managed to turn things around and picked up a memorable victory. This was not the case against Saint, who unlike Wakefield, capitalised on their 8-0 first half advantage to earn a win that takes them into the top four.
But while Zeb Taia was the try scorer for the Lancashire outfit, a lot of credit should go to Theo Fages. It was the youngster who created the opening and produced the pass which allowed the try to take place. The Frenchman has been very impressive recently and enjoyed another good showing against the Tigers.
With the World Cup only a few months away, there was no better way for James Roby to challenge for a place in the squad than to perform like he did against Cas. We know all about his vast experience of the game and we know how good he is with the ball. His rugby league masterclass over the past couple of games has surely has to put him in contention for a place in the England world cup squad.
Not only did Roby score two tries but, he was instrumental throughout the whole game. Moreover, he put on a great performance against some of the best opposition in the Super League today.
CASTLEFORD LOSE BUT NOT A DISASTER
This was certainly not a defeat where the Tigers looked toothless. On the contrary, Castleford put on a decent display. Their downfall was more to do with the brilliance of Saints rather than anything else.
You could say that the Tigers attack wasn’t as sharp as we have become accustomed to and perhaps the absence of Greg Eden has tarnished Castleford’s aura of invincibility. Perhaps.
Either way, it was a good display from the home side who will undoubtedly return to winning ways if they can re-create these good performances.
One highlight for Castleford was certainly the try from Joel Monaghan. The 35-year-old scored what is now described as a typical Cas try as an acrobatic finish down the far side gave the capacity crowd something to cheer.
ARE SAINTS TITLE CONTENDERS?
Of course they are.