One year on since winning their maiden League Leaders shield, the Tigers were celebrating again as they moved into the third spot in the table. Here’s our verdict…
Castleford ran in five tries, including a double for Greg Eden, to leapfrog their opponents and move just one point behind Wigan in second place.
The Castleford attack was in fine tune on the night as they raced out to a 16-0 lead as the hooter went for half-time.
A neat sweeping move from the Tigers opened up space for James Clare to cross on the 100th appearance of his career, Ellis swept the conversion wide but a penalty gave Ellis another shot that he didn’t pass up.
Warrington showed a slight ray of attack as Stefan Ratchford sliced through only to be brought down by Peter Mata’utia, however, the pressure told as Paul McShane’s grubber kick was pounced on by Junior Moors to make it 12-0 with another Ellis conversion.
Eden would pick up his first try before the half-time siren, picking off a loose pass before acrobatically diving into the corner despite a free shot at the line. Yet it was all smiles for Daryl Powell his side 16-0 at the interval.
Steve Price’s half-time talk fired up the Wolves as they came roaring out in the second half, Kevin Brown leading the way, first, a reverse kick fell into the hands of Ratchford before a beautiful cut-out pass found Bryson Goodwin.
Enjoying their best spell of the game Warrington looked to push and score level with the Tigers, however, after a great offload from Liam Watts, McShane once again put boot to ball and found Eden to cross.
Mike McMeeken and Ratchford would cross in the final exchanges of the match, but the Tigers showed their prowess heading into the playoffs.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Wolves need to start quickly at Wembley
A slow start ultimately cost the Wolves in this match, something which they cannot afford on the big stage.
St. Helens started slowly in their semi-final, and despite putting up a fist of a comeback, they fell way short thanks to the Dragons lightning start.
Steve Price has rested key players over the last few weeks, presumably in a bid to keep them fresh for the final, meaning the Wire could be on course for some silverware.
Tigers show their strength
The Tigers seem to have gone relatively under the radar this season, more so to do with their exploits last year and St. Helens this year, yet sitting one point behind Wigan the Tigers can be looking back on a solid season.
After failing to replace Zak Hardaker, then losing Luke Gale to injury, Cas fans feared the worst yet Jake Trueman has continued to deliver on his promise performing admirably in his young career.
With a strong forward pack, an athletic backline and one of the form hookers in the league come play-off time the Tigers could be the team to avoid.
Man of the Match – Paul McShane (Castleford)
Highlighted as a key battle between himself and Daryl Clark, McShane come out on top and the shouts for an England cap grow ever louder.
McShane showed the playmaking side of his game brilliantly throughout this match setting up to two tries with excellently weighted kicks whilst proving a constant threat from dummy half all game.
However on a night when he was pulling the strings, he didn’t shirk his defensive duties leading the Castleford side with 36 tackles. If a certain Mr Bennett isn’t thinking about McShane what more does he have to do?
Castleford Tigers 28
Tries: Eden (2), Moors, McMeeken, Clare
Goals: Ellis (4)
Drop Goals: n/a
Warrington Wolves 18
Tries: Ratchford (2), Goodwin
Goals: Ratchford (2), Patton
Drop Goals: n/a
Castleford Tigers: Mata’utia, Clare, Webster, Shenton, Eden, Ellis, Trueman, Watts, McShane, Millington, Wardle, McMeeken, Massey.
Interchanges: Moors, Holmes, Clark, Turner.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Lineham, T. King, Goodwin, M. Brown, K. Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Thompson, Hughes, G.King
Interchanges: Patton, Akauola, Philbin, Pomeroy
Referee: Gareth Hewer