SUPER LEAGUE has seen bigger fightbacks, but Castleford Tigers’ 34-14 Magic Weekend conquering of Warrington Wolves featured one of the competition’s most remarkable form swings.
Castleford were fortunate to trail only 14-0 after being outplayed for the opening 35 minutes, but once they clicked into gear they tore Warrington, who began the weekend as league leaders, apart.
Five tries in 17 minutes either side of the interval turned the game on its head and Castleford added two more without reply to complete what Daryl Powell felt was one of his best wins as coach.
“It’s certainly up there,” said Powell. “To be able to flip a game like we did there, it gives you confidence and it gives you a knowledge that whatever is happening to you, you can turn a game around, which is obviously crucial for any team.”
After a mid-season blip, Castleford have now won their last three matches in all competitions and Powell added: “We’ve hit a decent bit of form on the back of getting some players back.
“There’s a confidence about us now and it’s just about being consistent. It’s round 15 and we’ve got a bit of a way to go, but we’ll give ourselves a chance if we keep turning up with performances like that, particularly the second half.”
The victory at at Newcastle’s St James’ Park was particularly sweet in the wake of Castleford’s 56-12 drubbing at Warrington in March.
Powell added: “We were a little slow out of the blocks. They were winning contact consistently and it sort of reminded me of when we played them at their place. They were just too good for us. We got some confidence after that 10 minutes just before half-time and then our second half was superb.”
Castleford’s fightback began five minutes before half-time when Luke Dorn crossed after a dazzling passage of play on the final tackle in front of Warrington’s posts.
Grant Millington’s try cut the gap to two points at the interval and Castleford were in front just eight minutes afterwards when winger Denny Solomona demonstrated his remarkable finishing ability from Luke Gale’s kick. Gale set up a deserved try for Mike McMeeken before Solomona scored his second from a scrum on half-way.
Gale landed a penalty goal soon afterwards, then Dorn scored his second try, from Junior Moors’s pass and Gale added his fourth conversion to complete the scoring 13 minutes from time.
Earlier, Stefan Ratchford, Kurt Gidley and Ben Currie had scored for Warrington, with Gidley landing one goal.
Stand-off Ben Roberts made his long-awaited return for Tigers, but suffered a recurrence of his foot injury in the first half.
Castleford Tigers: Dorn, Flynn, Crooks, Monaghan, Solomona, Roberts, Gale, Tickle, Milner, Millington, Moors, McMeeken, Massey. Substitutes: McShane, Springer, Webster, Cook.
Warrington Wolves: Russell, Ormsby, T King, Julien, Lineham, Gidley, Ratchford, Hill, Clark, Sims, Currie, Westwood, Westerman. Substitutes: Cox, Bailey, G King, Smith.
Referee: G Hewer (Whitehaven).