Castleford Tigers 10 Salford Red Devils 42: Depleted hosts powerless to halt red-hot Old Trafford hopefuls

One look at the teamsheet hinted at a long night for Castleford Tigers and so it proved.

Fresh selection issues robbed Andy Last of a dozen first-team players as the Tigers counted the cost of the stirring comeback win over Leeds Rhinos at Magic Weekend.

Down on troops, a red-hot Salford Red Devils are not the team to run into, as Castleford discovered in August 2022 when Paul Rowley's men last visited Wheldon Road.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Tigers had no spine to speak of by the end of that 50-10 defeat and are facing similar adversity midway through the current campaign.

Castleford made a lively start to the round 15 clash but first-half injuries to Paul McShane and Mahe Fonua ended any hopes of going with the high-flying Red Devils.

The home side were 24-4 down inside 25 minutes and powerless to prevent Salford from making it eight wins in nine games.

The Red Devils, who have a happy knack of keeping the majority of their big names on the field each week, look every inch play-off contenders but the Tigers are playing for little more than pride in the second half of the season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Last week's win against Leeds has given second-bottom Castleford a six-point cushion over winless Wakefield Trinity, which already has the look of an unassailable advantage.

Jason Qareqare races away to score Castleford's first try. (Photo: John Clifton/ Qareqare races away to score Castleford's first try. (Photo: John Clifton/
Jason Qareqare races away to score Castleford's first try. (Photo: John Clifton/

If the manner of the triumph on Tyneside had some Tigers dreaming of an improbable play-off challenge, the Red Devils quickly brought them back to earth.

The last time they met at Wheldon Road a play-off place was up for grabs but a 12-point gap underlined the gulf between the sides heading into Friday’s meeting.

For a little while, it looked as if the Tigers would make a contest of it by taking Salford on at their own game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Castleford laid down an immediate marker by giving the ball some air from the kick-off, a brave approach which quickly got the hosts on the front foot.

Salford celebrate Tim Lafai's try. (Photo: John Clifton/ celebrate Tim Lafai's try. (Photo: John Clifton/
Salford celebrate Tim Lafai's try. (Photo: John Clifton/

Will Tate should have scored after chasing a Jacob Miller kick in behind but he failed to ground the ball and Salford broke the deadlock in the next set.

Fonua lost his footing trying to field a kick from Marc Sneyd and the ball appeared to hit him on the back of the head before bouncing into the grateful arms of Rhys Williams.

Castleford's response was immediate, Jason Qareqare racing clear after pouncing on a loose pass by Salford near the halfway line.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But the game quickly got away from Last's men as the Red Devils put their depleted hosts to the sword.

Tim Lafai puts Rhys Williams over. (Photo: John Clifton/ Lafai puts Rhys Williams over. (Photo: John Clifton/
Tim Lafai puts Rhys Williams over. (Photo: John Clifton/

Chris Atkin scored after Gareth Widdop failed to deal with another high kick to the corner and Deon Cross made it back-to-back tries when he danced past the Tigers full-back.

The sight of McShane making his way to the sideline in clear discomfort only compounded Castleford's woes.

The Tigers were staring down the barrel of another hammering by Rowley's side after seeing Ken Sio finish off another flowing move.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tate helped stem the tide as half-time approached with a scintillating kick return that was ended by Ryan Brierley inside Salford territory.

Castleford got the try they craved on the hooter when Cain Robb's miskick dropped straight into the hands of Kenny Edwards who had a clear run to the line.

Widdop reduced the deficit to 24-10 at the interval but the Tigers were never likely to trouble Salford's lead after seeing McShane and Fonua join the casualty list with arm and head injuries respectively.

Ken Sio celebrates scoring a try. (Photo: John Clifton/ Sio celebrates scoring a try. (Photo: John Clifton/
Ken Sio celebrates scoring a try. (Photo: John Clifton/

Castleford quickly found themselves back in damage limitation mode following three tries in the space of 13 minutes at the start of the second half.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tim Lafai put Williams over for his second try and Sio had a double after picking off Widdop's pass on the Castleford 40.

The free-flowing Red Devils were in their element, Lafai getting in on the act after another quick shift to the edge.

The Tigers kept going until the final hooter but Salford finished with eight tries after Brodie Croft's short ball put Sam Stone over.

Castleford Tigers: Widdop, Qareqare, Fonua, Turner, Tate, Broadbent, Miller, Martin, McShane, Griffin, Edwards, Sutcliffe, Westerman. Substitutes: Massey, Mustapha, Robb, Willis.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Salford Red Devils: Brierley, Sio, Cross, Lafai, Williams, Croft, Sneyd, Dupree, Atkin, Vuniyayawa, Watkins, Stone, Partington. Substitutes: Ormondroyd, Sidlow, Bourouh, Hellewell.

Referee: Jack Smith.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.