Castleford 30 St Helens 10 - Tired Tigers good enough to see off youthful champions

It is the kind of result that will attract curious glances in years to come.

Jason Qareqare scored a try of the season contender in the opening minute. (Picture:
Jason Qareqare scored a try of the season contender in the opening minute. (Picture:

Few will remember that St Helens fielded seven debutants in a second-string team, only that the three-peat Super League champions suffered a heavy defeat at the Jungle.

The context will be of little interest to Lee Radford after seeing Castleford Tigers move into the play-off positions for the first time under his tenure.

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A young Saints outfit deserve credit for the way they recovered from Jason Qareqare's stunning effort after only 35 seconds, an early contender for try of the season.

Jason Qareqare goes flying down the wing. (Picture:

The 30-10 scoreline flattered the Tigers but they will not care after doing it tough over the Easter period with minimal changes.

Castleford can now put their feet up on the back of a fourth straight Super League win, a record victory over Saints in the summer era no less.

In all, Kristian Woolf made 12 changes from the team that beat Huddersfield Giants on Monday as he gave his star names a well-earned breather.

Radford claimed he was terrified at the prospect of coming up against an understrength St Helens with a jaded side but he was quickly put at ease.

St Helens fielded a youthful side. (Picture:

With all the focus on the Saints youngsters, it was a Castleford teenager who lit up the Jungle inside the opening minute.

The Tigers gave the ball some air and it landed in the hands of Qareqare inside his own 20.

He triggered flashbacks of his spellbinding try less than a minute into his debut against Hull FC last year, combining speed, strength and balance to leave several St Helens defenders in his wake.

It was the perfect way for the 18-year-old to celebrate his new contract and would have left the Saints fans in the Railway End fearing the worst.

Derrell Olpherts finishes in the corner. (Picture:

But Woolf's boys settled into the game after denying Derrell Olpherts in the corner and went close themselves through Shay Martyn, son of St Helens great Tommy.

After making a dream start, the Tigers were guilty of overplaying as they tried to put the visitors to the sword.

Saints were visibly growing in confidence, helped by a fierce hit by James Bell that knocked the ball from Gareth O'Brien's grasp.

When Castleford's second try eventually came on 26 minutes it was on the back of a kick-return error by Jumah Sambou.

Joey Lussick was one of St Helens' senior players. (Picture:

A penalty followed before the Tigers moved the ball out to the right where Olpherts finished in the corner.

O'Brien missed his second conversion attempt from the touchline but at 8-0 Castleford were in control.

St Helens had their moments in an even first half but Jake Trueman's try five minutes before the break effectively ended the game as a contest.

Jake Mamo was the architect after making a sparkling break from his own half and Trueman added the finishing touches.

Paul McShane made no mistake from out wide after taking over the kicking duties and Castleford would have been in again but for a fine tackle by Ben Davies on Qareqare.

It felt like a big score was there for the taking as the players emerged for the second half and the Tigers had the same idea.

After Qareqare was denied a second try in the left corner, Olpherts made it a brace on the other flank nine minutes after the interval.

McShane was wide with his conversion attempt and St Helens went on to enjoy their best spell of the game.

Kyle Amor was held up over the line but Saints did not have to wait much longer for their first try, Sambou going over in the corner thanks to a nice offload from Josh Simm.

O'Brien limped off with St Helens on top and Castleford had the look of a side playing their third game in eight days as the match entered the final quarter.

Radford's pre-match fears were becoming a reality when Bell powered his way over and Martyn converted to give Saints a sniff of an unlikely victory.

But St Helens made an error from the restart and the home fans breathed a collective sigh of relief thanks to Joe Westerman's strong finish.

Mahe Fonua brushed off several tired defenders to score Castleford's sixth try and that was the end of the scoring with both sides out on their feet as the final hooter sounded.

Castleford: James Clare, Derrell Olpherts, Jake Mamo, Mahe Fonua, Jason Qareqare, Jake Trueman, Gareth O'Brien, Liam Watts, Paul McShane, George Griffin, Kenny Edwards, George Lawler, Joe Westerman.

Substitutes: Adam Milner, Nathan Massey, Daniel Smith, Brad Martin.

St Helens: Jon Bennison, Jumah Sambou, Josh Simm, Daniel Hill, Shay Martyn, Ben Davies, Daniel Moss, Kyle Amor, Joey Lussick, Daniel Norman, Sam Royle, James Bell, Jake Wingfield.

Substitutes: Lewis Baxter, Taylor Pemberton, George Delaney, McKenzie Buckley.

Referee: Jack Smith.