THERE has been a sense for some time now that Castleford Tigers just want to get on with their Super League semi-final.
Guaranteed a top-four spot a fair few weeks ago, Daryl Powell’s side know everything is now geared towards trying to return to Old Trafford and atoning for last year’s near-miss.
You can understand, therefore, why some matches might end up like this one last night.
Castleford showed flashes of brilliance, with Greg Eden scoring four tries and full-back Peter Mata’utia again proving his worth, but it was a stop-start evening at Wheldon Road which, despite the scoreline, may still have left their coach frustrated.
A fifth successive win did confirm them in third spot and, so, they will head to second-placed Wigan Warriors in the semi-final on Friday October 5.
The night before leaders St Helens will host Warrington Wolves in the other last four meeting.
Castleford round off their Super 8s at Saints on Friday. It will be interesting to see what Powell does with his selection; let his side continue rolling, striving for more precision, or rest up ahead of what will be a titanic battle the following week at DW Stadium.
Wakefield, for their part, were always going to struggle with in-form captain Jacob Miller withdrawing beforehand ill and losing full-back Scott Grix to a suspected fractured cheekbone as early as the eighth minute.
Castleford were 18-0 up inside just 14 minutes and well on the way to an 11th straight win over their derby rivals after tries from Eden (2) and Greg Minikin, all converted by Luke Gale.
Things started badly for the visitors and never really improved too much. That was particularly true of Grix who certainly packed plenty into those aforementioned eight minutes.
First, he claimed Castleford’s kick-off only to immediately chip forward on the first tackle.
Clearly, it was a pre-planned move but it failed miserably. Instead, as Tigers took possession, Luke Gale lofted a chip of his own early in the tackle count.
That kick did work as intended with Eden gathering and touching down just 56 seconds later.
Many players would take a more conservative approach after such a glaring error but not Grix who promptly tried a short re-start and was rewarded as Castleford fumbled.
Still, just when Wakefield should kick, on the last tackle after their resulting attacking set, Ryan Hampshire was caught in possession. It was all so erratic.
Soon after, Grix was back in action at the other end as he produced a fine try-saving tackle on Michael Shenton.
However, in doing so, there was a clash of heads, too, and the 34-year-old departed having suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone.
Fortunately, for Wakefield, they had a replacement full-back sitting and waiting on the bench in Max Jowitt but he was powerless to prevent Castleford taking command.
It was all too easy as they shifted the ball to the left for Eden to walk in for his second try.
When Trinity hooker Tyler Randell was sin-binned for a needless tip-tackle on Nathan Massey, the loose forward making his 200th appearance for Castleford, things got worse.
This time it was Minikin – recalled for James Clare – on the other side who benefitted although, as so often is becoming the case, it was the classy cut-out pass of full-back Peter Mata’utia that proved the key ingredient.
At that point, especially with bigger challenges in mind in the next few weeks, Powell would have liked to have seen his side ram home their authority.
It was disappointing they failed to do that, a couple of loose Gale passes sandwiching Paul McShane’s narrowly off-cue 40/20 attempt to see them lose that clear momentum.
Things became scrappy, summed up when McShane tried one chip to the corner only to hit team-mate Mike McMeeken full in the face. It was enough to give Wakefield a little hope, at least, and they responded with a try at the start of the second period when Matty Ashurst’s long pass saw Bill Tupou in at the left corner following Minikin’s mis-read.
But, maddeningly, they failed to find touch with a penalty soon after and it was not long before Grant Millington barged over again.
Although Reece Lyne did add Trinity’s second try, Castleford hit back again as Eden completed his treble with a wonderful diagonal run from 40m out.
He added a simple fourth to leave him with 15 tries in his last seven games alone, a sequence that includes three hat-tricks.
Junior Moors rounded things off, the only concern the sight of captain Shenton walking off injured late on with a knee injury but he does not expect him to sideline him next week.
He said: “I just tweaked it at the end trying to tackle Pauli Pauli.
“He’s a big bloke. We didn’t want to risk it but it doesn’t feel too bad.
“Now we push on to Saints and then that big one at Wigan.
“It’s a pleasure to captain this club and hopefully we’ll get the job done.”
Castleford Tigers: Mata’utia; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Trueman, Gale; Watts, McShane, Millington, Moors, McMeeken, Massey. Substitutes: Roberts, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Clark.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix; Tupou, Lyne, Arundel, Jones-Bishop; Wood, Hampshire; Huby, Randell, Arona, Ashurst, Batchelor, Crowther. Substitutes: Jowitt, Pauli, Annakin, Horo.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).