Castleford Tigers 10 Salford Red Devils 50: Lee Radford's jaded side need miracle after horror show

After throwing everything into the 2022 Super League season, Castleford Tigers have simply run out of steam.

Four days on from their dramatic win at Warrington Wolves, the depleted Tigers were unable to lift again for the visit of in-form Salford Red Devils.

Lee Radford's side had nothing left in the tank and were ruthlessly punished by the free-scoring Red Devils to underline the gulf in quality and energy between the two play-off rivals at the business end of the season.

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While Salford can look forward to a play-off campaign with hope and no little optimism, Castleford must dig deep into their physical and mental reserves to keep their season alive.

Salford Red Devils celebrate Jack Ormondroyd's try. (Picture: Red Devils celebrate Jack Ormondroyd's try. (Picture:
Salford Red Devils celebrate Jack Ormondroyd's try. (Picture:

The Tigers have a lifeline after seeing Leeds Rhinos lose to Catalans Dragons in Perpignan, a result which sets up a straight shootout for the final play-off place at Headingley on Saturday.

But on the evidence of Monday's blowout at Wheldon Road, it would take something miraculous for Radford's men to nick sixth spot.

Busted and broken, Castleford lost their last remaining half-back when Danny Richardson - so instrumental in the win over Warrington - was helped from the field with a knee injury.

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With Jake Trueman, Niall Evalds, Gareth O'Brien and Ryan Hampshire already sidelined, the Tigers did not have the tools to match Salford's creativity.

Danny Richardson is helped from the field after suffering a knee injury. (Picture: Richardson is helped from the field after suffering a knee injury. (Picture:
Danny Richardson is helped from the field after suffering a knee injury. (Picture:

Whereas Castleford have had to mix and match in the spine ever since round one, Salford have managed to keep their creative players on the field.

Only Wigan Warriors outscored the Red Devils in the opening 25 rounds and it was easy to see why Paul Rowley's side have found points so easy to come by.

The Tigers dominated field position in the first half but Salford are the masters at scoring from deep.

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Former Castleford half-back Marc Sneyd got the scoreboard ticking with a 40-metre penalty and before the hosts knew it they were 20-0 down and virtually out of the game.

Sneyd backed up a break by half-back partner Brodie Croft to score the opening try and tagged on the extras to make it a dream start for the visitors.

It got worse before it got better for the Tigers, much worse.

A superb inside ball from Croft set Kallum Watkins free and Ken Sio was in support to finish another scintillating move.

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Salford scored again in the set after the restart, Jack Ormondroyd bouncing out of a tackle before dummying Jake Mamo to coast over under the posts.

When Sneyd knocked over a fourth goal to make it 20-0 inside 13 minutes, the Tigers were hurtling towards a huge defeat in their biggest game of the year.

A fumble by Tim Lafai near halfway ended a faultless start by the Red Devils and gave Castleford the field position to hit back.

Mamo benefited from typical bank holiday Monday defending from Salford to go over untouched on the right edge and raise the volume inside the Jungle.

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After going close through Suaia Matagi, Castleford had the sniff of an unlikely comeback when Derrell Olpherts touched down in the corner from a scrum play.

But any hopes the Tigers had of reeling in the Red Devils were over when they lost their only fit half-back Richardson just before the interval.

A 20-10 half-time scoreline quickly got away from Castleford as Salford ran riot to bring back memories of last July when they took advantage of a severely weakened team to win 70-18.

Sneyd nudged the Red Devils further ahead from a penalty before the floodgates opened.

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Olpherts threatened to go the length of the field after intercepting a pass from Croft but the winger was chased down and the Tigers' last chance was gone.

Salford moved out of sight thanks to Shane Wright's try on the back of a superb angled run from Watkins, a player who is putting forward a compelling case for World Cup selection.

Olpherts was pulled back for a forward pass after touching down out wide to sum up a largely forgettable final outing for the winger at Wheldon Road as a Castleford player.

The Tigers deserved credit for chasing down Sio following an interception but with tanks running on fumes, they were unable to prevent Deon Cross from scoring on the next play.

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The hugely impressive Croft got in on the act direct from a scrum play and Watkins added his name to the scoresheet after backing up a break by Chris Atkin.

Sneyd had the last word with Castleford out on their feet, finding enough energy to add the finishing touches to another fine move before knocking over a ninth goal to complete a 26-point haul.

Castleford Tigers: Mamo, Faraimo, Sutcliffe, Fonua, Olpherts, Eden, Richardson, Griffin, McShane, Massey, Lawler, Mellor, Westerman.

Substitutes: Watts, Milner, Matagi, Martin.

Salford Red Devils: Brierley, Sio, Cross, Lafai, Sarginson, Croft, Sneyd, Ormondroyd, Ackers, Vuniyayawa, Taylor, Watkins, Wright.

Substitutes: Atkin, Luckley, Gerrard, Dupree.

Referee: Liam Moore.

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