Tigers out power Salford
Posted: Friday 14th July 2017 - 10:48 PM
Castleford Tigers strengthened their position at the top of the Betfred Super League table by defeating Salford Red Devils 38-14 in the final home game of the regular season.
Going into the game, Salford were the only Super League opposition that the Tigers had not beaten thus far in 2017. However, this was remedied by the hosts in fine fashion – with braces from Greg Eden and Joel Monaghan helping to secure the two points.
The Tigers instantly got into the swing of things, scoring within the opening five minutes. A precise kick from Luke Gale set Castleford up in scoring position. His punt to the 20-yard line put Niall Evalds in all kinds of trouble, and the winger couldn’t help but put his foot into touch. From there, it was a trademark Castleford move to the left edge.
Missing out the obvious runner, Gale drilled a perfect pass towards the side line and, as ever, Eden did the rest.
It was the perfect start for the Tigers, but it wasn’t long before they were stung themselves. Just moments after adding one more to his exceptional try-scoring tally for the year, Eden turned villain by failing to deal with a high bomb.
The mistake put the Red Devils in prime position, and Gareth O’Brien took full advantage, executing a show-and-go to get over the whitewash.
Much like in the first encounter between the two sides this season, the Red Devils were keen to rely on their physicality up the middle. However, Castleford matched them brilliantly in the middle stages of the half, with Alex Foster especially impressing in the back row.
A few chances went begging for the hosts, before Ben Roberts fought his way over the line in emphatic fashion on the twenty-minute mark. The Samoan half-back beat off the challenge of five Salford defenders before reaching out over the line, to the delight of the home faithful.
The Tigers then backed up Roberts’ effort by completing a quick-fire double. The video referee was called upon, but Eden’s dive into the corner was sublime, and the try stood. However, in the action of scoring his second of the evening, the winger fell heavily on his shoulder and was immediately replaced by Joel Monaghan.
The Tigers continued to put the points on Salford as the first half drew on, albeit at a reduced pace. A Gale penalty was next, following a high shot from Ben Murdoch-Masila.
Salford were not about to give in so early in the piece, however, and hit back through centre Kris Welham, five minutes before the hooter.
The Red Devils threatened once more just before half time, but were less successful this time. Therefore, the two sides went into the break at 18-10.
When the teams re-emerged, it was Salford who seemed to come out with momentum on their side.
Within a matter of moments, Ian Watson’s side forced a goal-line dropout and had Phil Bentham asking for the video referee’s assistance due to a Jake Bibby effort.
However, the visitors failed to turn their pressure into points, and it was the Tigers who scored the first try of the half.
Although lacking the presence of Eden, the Castleford left edge looked just as potent when play was switched. Michael Shenton fed a supreme ball to Monaghan on this occasion, who proceeded to stroll over the line for the try. Gale added the extras.
With the score line opening up, the next try was likely to be crucial. Luckily for Castleford, Zak Hardaker came up with it – after receiving another assist from Shenton. The try was surrounded by controversy though, as Gale was brutally taken off the ball by Murdoch-Masila in back play. A scuffle broke out between the two sides, but no significant harm was done.
A follow-up score from the Tigers would have killed the game as a contest there and then. But, Salford remained in the fight for a little while longer thanks to a try from Bibby.
It was only a matter of time before Castleford struck once more though, and the dagger was plunged by Monaghan, scoring his brace. This time, the finish was more challenging, but the try assist from Shenton remained sensational.
The final ten minutes were mostly academic for the Tigers, with the two points firmly in the bag. There was no letting up in the point-scoring though, with Gale aiming for the posts when Salford conceded a penalty in their own half.
The Tigers’ victory means that their unbeaten home run will now stretch past the year mark, with Warrington the last team to record a victory over Castleford at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, back in 2016.
Focus now turns to the south of France, and the final fixture of the regular season against Catalans Dragons next Saturday.
Final Score: Castleford Tigers 38-14 Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers: Hardaker, Hitchcox, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Roberts, Gale, Millington, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Foster, McMeeken, Massey
Interchange: Lynch, Springer, Monaghan, Larroyer
Tries: Eden (2), Roberts, Monaghan (2), Hardaker
Conversions: Gale (5/6)
Penalties: Gale (2/2)
Salford Red Devils: O’Brien, Bibby, Welham, Jones, Evalds, Carney, Dobson, Griffin, Tomkins, Murray, Murdoch-Masila, Lannon, Hauraki
Interchange: Lui, Walne, Tasi, Krasniqi
Tries: O’Brien, Welham, Bibby
Conversions: Dobson (1/3)
Sponsor’s (GMB Union) Man of the Match: Ben Roberts
Golden Gamble Winning Number: 04303
*Match Report by Ross Williams
*Photograph courtesy of Melanie Allatt