Castleford Tigers 44 Hull FC 12: Jake Trueman steals the show as Castleford roar back into play-off spots

Castleford Tigfers' Jake Trueman celebrates his hat-trick try. (PIC: JOHNATHAN GAWTHORPE)Castleford Tigfers' Jake Trueman celebrates his hat-trick try. (PIC: JOHNATHAN GAWTHORPE)
Castleford Tigfers' Jake Trueman celebrates his hat-trick try. (PIC: JOHNATHAN GAWTHORPE)
AFTER Castleford Tigers’ Jake Trueman cruised in for the second of his hat-trick of tries last night, ‘Edge of Glory’ blazed out over the Wheldon Road tannoy system.
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The Lady Gaga tune was apt in so many ways: the gifted young half-back certainly put his side on the edge of glory as he helped them to the vital win that crucially lifts them back into the play-off spots with just one round remaining.

But it was another one of those evenings where you sensed Super League’s reigning Young Player of the Year - selected for the Great Britain training squad on Monday - really could push on and achieve a glorious career.

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Hull FC's Jake Connor can't escape his potential Great Britain team-mate Jake Trueman (PIC: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE)Hull FC's Jake Connor can't escape his potential Great Britain team-mate Jake Trueman (PIC: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE)
Hull FC's Jake Connor can't escape his potential Great Britain team-mate Jake Trueman (PIC: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE)

He was imperious; running in wonderful individual tries, setting up others with crisp passing, kicking smartly and even coming up with a vital try-saving tackle on Tevita Satae when the game was still in the balance.

It is no surprise that Castleford are contemplating letting their England scrum-half Luke Gale move to Leeds Rhinos; their future is in safe hands here.

But what of woeful Hull? Their furious coach Lee Radford must have felt like he was on the edge of a precipice as he witnessed his mistake-ridden side haplessly fall behind 20-0 inside in barely as many minutes.

The East Yorkshire club -sat in fifth - knew if they won last night their place in the play-offs would be secured.

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Yet they started like they were already on the beach, their season already over, let alone potentially eyeing Grand Final success.

Now - despite sitting in the top-five since March - they swap positions with Castleford in sixth and are on the outside looking in.

Hull, who have lost five of their last six games, must beat leaders St Helens at home next Friday and hope Tigers lose their final fixture at Wigan scheduled for the same night. They are no longer in control of their own destiny.

Yet when Masi Matongo scored with their first real attack of note on the half-hour, Marc Sneyd’s conversion meant the visitors were still in with a chance.

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Radford - who made a number of bold choices such as leaving out regulars such as Bureta Faraimo and Joe Westerman - will have impressed on his side to then make sure they start the second period positively.

But, instead, Jack Logan - the young winger preferred to Faraimo - made a stupid pass on his own 20m line which Ratu Naulago fumbled and, moments later, Trueman was slicing over for his treble and a 26-6 lead.

Sneyd then sailed the restart dead. Radford was spotted on the big screen with his head in his hands. Coach-killer stuff.

They were lucky, at least, that Daniel Smith did not get his hand to Paul McShane’s grubber in the next set but they then did lose Jamie Shaul to the sin-bin in the 55th minute after the full-back laid on too long having chased down Jordan Rankin.

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Still, Castleford - who lost Grant Millington to an early injury - like to make life difficult for themselves at times; with Hull down to 12 men, they were unable to extend their advantage and instead saw Logan narrow it with an 80m breakaway try, Sneyd adding his second conversion.

Their coach Daryl Powell need not have worried; it was a false dawn and clinical Castleford got themselves home, James Clare’s score making sure before ex-Hull player Jordan Rankin latched onto Trueman’s latest pinpoint grubber.

Matt Cook, back having been unable to play of late due to losing his voice, also crossed on his 250th Super League appearance.

They were superb in that opening spell and you felt it might be their night when Chesye Blair scored in the eighth minute.

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Despite clearly showing his class, the Australian centre had failed to cross in his first 14 games in Tigers colours since joining from Melbourne Storm.

But he managed to do so at the 15th attempt, stretching over after Trueman’s cut-out pass gave him a hint of space.

Jamie Ellis hit the first of his eight goals and when Blair romped clear in the next set, the hosts were soon in again.

Logan could not claim a high kick and, from there, Trueman dummied over after getting on the outside of Sika Manu and showing that rapid acceleration for the first time.

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Trueman was too swift again as he spotted space between a retreating Manu - possibly now just one game from retirement - and Mickey Paea behind a ruck from 30m out. Even Shaul could not get to the 20-year-old.

Ellis added a penalty after Danny Houghton had thrown a forward pass and Manu held down Jesse Sene-Lefao too long in the tackle.

Sene-Lefao was excellent especially when it came to winding up Hull’s Jake Connor who, after a poor night, was sin-binned in the closing moments having spoken out of turn to referee Ben Thaler.

As he trudged off, the England centre also exchanged words with team-mate Mark Minichiello; you can imagine what the veteran Australian had to say about his actions. And Radford later.

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Castleford Tigers: Rankin; Clare, Mata’utia, Blair, Minikin; Trueman, Ellis; Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey. Substitutes: Holmes, Milner, Cook, Smith.

Hull FC: Shaul; Naulogo, Tuimavave, Connor, Logan; Kelly, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Paea, Griffin, Manu, Ellis. Substitutes: Bowden, Matongo, Minichiello, Satae.

Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield)