Winning Start For The Tigers
Posted: Friday 1st February 2019 - 10:09 PM
Castleford Tigers got their 2019 Super League campaign off to the best possible start on Friday evening, defeating Catalans Dragons 20-4 at a freezing Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Paul McShane and Greg Eden scored the all-important points for the black and amber in a hard-fought tussle with the French visitors.
In the Baltic conditions of Wheldon Road, the two sides largely spent the first ten minutes of the game feeling one another out. As expected, much of the ball went through the forwards but the first real flashpoint came when Lewis Tierney looked for all the world like he was going to score in the corner off a Brayden Williame pass.
He would have too, if not for an incredible effort from Greg Minikin, dumping the winger into touch.
The defensive play not only saved four points, but also spurred the Tigers into life. Castleford marched down the field in the next set, allowing for Paul McShane to go in for our first try of the 2019 campaign, as he took the ball from dummy half and sliced his way through a hole in the Catalans defence.
The Tigers weren’t able to instantly double their advantage however, as the Dragons reacted with a very solid stint. But, as the snow began to fall on the hallowed turf, Castleford’s defence held firm, negating Catalans’ attacks at every attempt.
Steve McNamara’s side were then made to pay for their lack of clinical edge up the field, as the Tigers added to their lead.
First, McShane added to his individual points tally by slotting an easy penalty close to the Dragons’ line. Then a couple of sets later, Castleford opened up in trademark style as Pete Mata’utia and Michael Shenton combined brilliantly to set Greg Eden free. As ever, there was no stopping the prolific winger when he got into full stride.
Eden’s try proved to be the final meaningful action of the half, seeing the Tigers enter the sheds twelve points to the good.
Upon their return to the paddock, it’s no exaggeration to say the game was all Castleford.
Attacking the Railway End of the ground, the Tigers smothered their opposition for ten minutes solid. Catalans defended valiantly, allowing only a further McShane penalty at first, but it seemed only a matter of time before the black and amber struck what would likely be a decisive blow.
However, to the Dragons’ credit, the hosts weren’t allowed to kill the game off so early on. The French side battled away, and even forged a couple of half-chances of their own.
Heading into the final quarter, it was still very much a contest despite Catalans being scoreless on the board. The Tigers found themselves being penalised to within an inch of their lives, leaving a maiden Dragons try an inevitability.
It came with roughly 15 minutes remaining on the clock, as Tierney utilised the overlap and dived over in the corner. Sam Tomkins was less fortunate with the boot, as he skewed the conversion wide.
This created nerves within the Mend-A-Hose Jungle for the final portion of the game, with the two points still not sealed.
However, these became short-lived, as Eden killed the game off well and truly in the dying moments, diving in superbly for his brace.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 20-4 Catalans Dragons
Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey
Milner, Moors, Foster, Cook
Tries: McShane, Eden (2)
Conversions: McShane (2/3)
Penalty: McShane (2/2)
Tomkins, Mead, Langi, Williame, Tierney, Gigot, Smith, Simon, Da Costa, Moa, Edwards, Garcia, Casty
Bousquet, Whitley, Goudemand, Baitieri
Conversions: Tomkins (0/1)
Keltbray Aspire Man of the Match: Paul McShane
Golden Gamble: 12008
*Match report by Ross Williams
*Photography courtesy of SwPix
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