Tigers Down Salford At The Jungle
Posted: Sunday 17th March 2019 - 5:30 PM
Castleford Tigers made it five wins from six on Sunday, as they defeated a determined Salford Red Devils side 24-20 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
A first try of the season for Nathan Massey - plus scores from Jordan Rankin, Greg Eden and Jesse Sene-Lefao secured the two Super League points, in what was a fiery encounter between the two in-form sides.
In the winter sunshine, it was the Tigers who started with the spring in their step and it took just seven minutes for the deadlock to be broken. With Salford on the back foot thanks to a repeat set, Jake Trueman split the visitors apart with a beautifully-weighted kick and – in a surprise to even him – Massey, fresh off signing a new two-year deal, latched onto the loose ball for a walk-in try.
Rankin converted with ease, but the points didn’t flow quite so easily after the opener.
Salford responded well, and much of the next fifteen minutes was played in the middle of the park, with neither side making much headway in their opposition’s red zone.
It took an error to spawn the next points of the game, and Kris Welham came up with it. The veteran centre spilled the ball close to his own line, handing Rankin an absolute gift. The half-back gratefully took the four points, and added two more with his boot a few moments later.
Twelve points to the good, the Tigers appeared comfortable as we entered the second quarter of the match. However, Salford soon burst into action. In a rare foray into Tigers territory, the Red Devils spread the ball right over to their left edge, allowing Jake Bibby to slide over and prolong his good form for the visitors.
Things then got even better for Salford as, just seconds after entering the fray, prop Adam Walker did (or said) something to get under Paul McShane’s skin. The Tigers’ hooker took exception, and was swiftly sent to cool off for ten minutes by referee Robert Hicks.
With an advantage in the numbers game for the final ten minutes of the half, Salford banged on the door but, with the Wheldon Road End at their backs, the black and amber held firm, quelling the Red Devils’ threat.
With McShane back in action at the start of the second period, the hooker began to pull the strings in his trademark style. Now attacking the home end of the ground, the Tigers found their mojo and, before long, the lead was extended as they shifted the ball to the left and Eden did what he does best in the corner.
However, the tide began to turn following this Castleford score.
After finding some momentum from somewhere, the Red Devils hit a purple patch, scoring back-to-back tries via Jansin Turgut and Joey Lussick. The latter converted both, putting Salford just two points adrift of the hosts.
As we approached the hour-mark, Eden looked to have pushed the Tigers further ahead, but Hicks pulled the try back for an obstruction in the build-up.
Castleford had seemingly regained the initiative though, and a moment of brilliance from McShane set Sene-Lefao up for what turned out to be a winning Castleford try.
A Rankin penalty nudged the Tigers further ahead as the clock ticked down, making Salford’s task just too difficult.
Bibby managed to get over for his brace with five minutes remaining, but there was no time for a comeback and the Tigers held on, maintaining their unbeaten home record before the visit of St Helens next week.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 24-20 Salford Red Devils
Mata’utia, Minikin, Foster, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Moors, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, Massey
Milner, Cook, Egodo, Clarkson
Tries: Massey, Rankin, Eden, Sene-Lefao
Conversions: Rankin (3/4)
Penalty: Rankin (1/1)
Salford Red Devils
Evalds, Olpherts, Welham, Bibby, Sio, Lui, Hastings, Murray, Lussick, Dudson, Jones, Turgut, Flanagan
Walker, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Griffin
Tries: Bibby (2), Turgut, Lussick
Conversions: Sio (0/1), Lussick (2/3)
Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel Man of the Match: Pete Mata’utia
Golden Gamble: 01701
*Match report by Ross Williams
**Photography by Melanie Allatt
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