Luke Dorn scored a hat-trick as Castleford Tigers moved to within two points of the First Utility Super League summit with a thumping 54-12 victory over 12-man Hull KR.
Daryl Powell’s men have been the surprise package this season and they are showing no signs of letting up in their bid for a first Grand Final appearance.
The Tigers had the two points wrapped up before the break as they ran riot on a warm afternoon in West Yorkshire.
Michael Channing and Dorn crossed twice and Grant Millington and Kirk Dixon grabbed one apiece to give the hosts a 28-0 half-time lead, a margin which would have been greater had it not been for four missed conversions by Marc Sneyd.
Travis Burns went over for the Robins early in the second half but Jamie Ellis and Dorn scored to ensure the comeback was short-lived.
The visitors were reduced to 12 men when Australian prop Michael Weyman was sent off for dissent before Jake Webster, Craig Huby and James Clare helped themselves to tries as Castleford romped to their biggest Super League win against Rovers, who scored a late consolation through Wayne Ulugia.
It took Castleford just four minutes to open the scoring through Channing after enthusiastic defence forced Rovers to drop out.
He took a pass from Dorn and ran through a gaping hole before rounding Ben Cockayne to score.
Graeme Horne had a try ruled out for obstruction and things got worse for the Robins when Dorn went over for his 150th try in the British game after taking a Weller Hauraki offload.
Millington denied Kevin Larroyer with a try-saving tackle at one end and then extended the home side’s lead at the other after Dixon palmed back Sneyd’s cross-field kick.
Rovers lost Larroyer to injury and found themselves further behind when Dixon received a pass from Hauraki on the bounce and showed good strength to touch down in the corner.
Castleford were enjoying the dry conditions and another flowing move resulted in their fifth try. Clark made a break that Channing finished after the ball moved through the hands of Ellis and Hauraki.
There was still time for the Tigers to grab a sixth before half-time, Dorn racing 70 metres after a quick tap by Dixon on the 20.
The Rovers had the first word in the second half as Burns ducked under the challenge of Andy Lynch to score between the posts.
Normal service was resumed when Ellis went over at the end of a scintillating move featuring Clark and Dixon after Hauraki had pounced on a loose pass from the Robins.
Dorn completed his hat-trick on the back of another break by Clark before Weyman was given his marching orders.
Webster touched down after the Robins made a mess of Ellis’s kick and a converted Huby try brought up 50 points for the Tigers following a surging run downfield by Clark. Clare evaded a diving tackle by Ade Gardner to cross in the corner before Ulugia intercepted a pass from Sneyd to round off the scoring.
The Tigers are showing no signs of letting up in the race to Old Trafford, and their coach is enjoying watching his team play.
“I thought we played really well in the first 40 (minutes),” Powell said. “We’ve had some really good halves of rugby league this season, but obviously to nil a team like Hull KR is a great effort defensively.
“With the ball we just look so vibrant at times.
“When we open our game up, we come up with some special things, so obviously delighted to get the win.
“Overall I thought it was a fantastic effort by a group of blokes who were really committed, enthusiastic and determined in everything that they were doing.”
Castleford Tigers: Dorn, Dixon, Channing, Shenton, Clare, Sneyd, Ellis, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Millington. Substitutes: Webster, Clark, Mariano, Wheeldon.
Hull KR: Cockayne, Gardner, Horne, Welham, Ulugia, Burns, Keating, A. Walker, J. Hodgson, Weyman, Larroyer, Cox, Costigan. Substitutes: J. Walker, Langley, Green, Lovegrove.
Referee: T Roby (RFL).