By Anthony Pilling (images by Bob Brough)
Warrington Wolves travelled across the Pennines for their second trip to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle this season for Round 23 of the Betfred Super League, looking to bounce back from the defeat to Salford Red Devils last time out.
Last time the sides met there in May, the Wire came away with the two points when they ran out 14-26 winners.
Steve Price made two changes to the side that fell short against Salford last week. Sitaleki Akauola and Pat Moran were replaced by the familiar pairing of Mike Cooper and Chris Hill, who returned to the front row.
Both sides went over just once in the first half with James Clare giving Castleford Tigers the lead after Dec Patton kicked an early penalty for the Wire. Peter Mata’utia then extended the Tigers’ lead with two penalties of his own. Jake Mamo went in at the corner for thei Wire try of the half but Mata’utia made it a four point gap at the break with his third penalty of the half.
The Wire started the second half brightly when Lineham went over in the corner but tries from Trueman and Egodo and a penalty gave the hosts a solid lead. King hit back late on to give the Wire some hope but the result was beyond doubt with Trueman adding a late drop goal.
Jordan Rankin, James Clare, Greg Minikin, Peter Mata’utia, Tuoyo Egodo, Jake Trueman, Paul McShane, Nathan Massey, Adam Milner, Chris Clarkson, Oliver Holmes, Mike McMeeken, Jesse Sene-Lefao
Subs: Liam Watts, Grant Millington, Cory Aston, Daniel Smith
Tries: Clare, Minikin, Trueman, Egodo
Goals: Mata’utia (5)
Drop Goal: Trueman
Jake Mamo, Tom Lineham, Bryson Goodwin, Toby King, Josh Charnley, Blake Austin Declan Patton, Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Jack Hughes, Jason Clark
Subs: Joe Philbin, Matt Davis, Lama Tasi, Danny Walker
Tries: Mamo, Lineham, King
Goals: Patton (3)
The game started with some big tackles flying in from the hosts. On four minutes the Wire took an early lead. Mike McMeeken was judged to have ripped the ball too late in a tackle on Jason Clark. Patton slotted over an early penalty. 0-2.
After nine minutes the hosts were in front. Trueman broke the line and got the Tigers some good metres down field. The Wire failed to find their shape again when the ball was shipped out to Clare who went over on the right hand side. Mata’utia converted the kick. 6-2.
Mata’utia then added a penalty of his own in front of the posts after a quarter of an hour as the Wire line was called for offside. 8-2.
The Tigers’ centre then added his second penalty of the game just before the half-hour mark. 10-2.
Eight minutes before the break the Wire had their first try of the game. Austin kicked towards the corner, the ball was knocked back and picked up by Mamo who went in. Patton added the extras from the touchline. 10-8.
As the hooter sounded, Mata’utia made it three penalties from in front of the posts to give the hosts a four-point lead going into the break. 12-8
Steve Price’s men took an early lead in the second half as well. The ball was shipped out to Lineham who went in at the corner three minutes after the restart. Patton kicked a difficult conversion from the touchline to edge the Wire out in front. 12-14.
The Wire’s lead was short lived however when Daryl Powell’s side had the ball down the right for Minikin to find a hole and stretch over. Mata’utia missed the kick. 16-14.
The hosts scored again at the start of the final quarter; Trueman picked up a loose pass from the Wire to sprint 60 metres down field to score. Mata’utia kicked the conversion. 22-14.
Four minutes later and Castleford were in again. The hosts went down the left flank and out to Egodo who dived in at the corner. Mata’utia was wide with the following kick. 26-14
King managed to pick up a pass and go over on the right flank giving the Wire a glimmer of hope but Patton was wide of the mark with the conversion attempt. 26-18.
Seconds from the full time whistle, Trueman kicked a drop goal to make it back-to-back defeats for the Wire. 27-18.