WATCH: Castleford Tigers 12 St Helens 42: Daryl Powell's view on Castleford's shambles against Saints

DARYL POWELL had a face like thunder as he marched across the Wheldon Road pitch after just 33 minutes of this encounter.

Castleford's Jordan Rankin tackles St Helens' Morgan Knowles. (Nigel French/PA Wire)
Castleford's Jordan Rankin tackles St Helens' Morgan Knowles. (Nigel French/PA Wire)

You can only imagine, then, what his demeanour would have been like inside the dressing rooms at the culmination of this debacle.

With his misfiring side having just conceded yet another soft try against leaders St Helens to trail 18-0, the furious head coach left his gantry position to stride over to the dugout.

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It is not clear whether it was due to technical issues with his headset or just to give a withering look to Greg Eden, the unfortunate winger who had one of those nights where anything that could go wrong did go wrong.

Castleford's Jordan Rankin tackles St Helens' Morgan Knowles. (Nigel French/PA Wire)

Still, with the scoreline staying intact until half-time, Castleford did, at least, have a chance to stage a recovery, even if Saints were looking impressively sharp, powerful and incisive.

However, Powell’s side re-emerged only to deliver yet more woeful defending as Justin Holbrook’s stellar team - too big, too strong and too quick for these opponents - maintained their 100 per cent winning start to the season.

Admittedly, Castleford did avoid the embarrassment of being nilled at home for the first time since 2006, captain Michael Shenton scoring an 80m intercept just before the hour as their classy opponents finally erred.

But, overall, it was such a disappointment especially when so much had been expected from a clash pitching first versus third.

St Helens' James Roby sends Jordan Rankin flying. (Nigel French/PA Wire)

Granted, Castleford’s chances were not aided when Nathan Massey had to go off midway through the first period holding his wrist which could be a recurring injury.

The introduction of Jese Sene-Lefao - in particular - and Matt Cook brought them some much-needed punch in the first half and they did get Saints on the back foot on a couple of occasions.

However, they lacked a clinical touch when it mattered, often in maddening style, and such profligacy against a side of Saints’ standing was always going to eventually cost them.

For instance, Jake Trueman dabbed a grubber in which Lachlan Coote had no option other than to knock dead but an impatient Peter Mata’utia shoved the Saints full-back as the ball bounced, conceding a penalty instead.

Castleford Tigers' Greg Eden is enveloped by St Helens defenders. (SWPix)

Ironically, as the rain started, Sene-Lefao and Paul McShane produced some fine handling to unpick Saints only for the latter to send a pass directly to an opponent just as things started to open up.

Similarly, Eden claimed a high kick on his own line and started a fine set that ended right up the other end. McShane grubbered to force a drop-out but the hooker needed to send out a pass; there was only seconds left on the clock and the hooter went before Saints restarted.

That said, Castleford’s paperthin defence near their own line was a principal cause of their undoing.

They will not be happy with any of the three tries they conceded in the first half (let alone the second), starting with Coote’s fifth-minute opener, the Australian full-back slicing through close to their line with defenders left alarmingly flat-footed.

Their second try came direct from a scrum 20m out, admittedly slick handling to the left but Tigers defenders too easily sucked in before Regan Grace finished in the corner.

That was a turning point; Eden had claimed a kick and looked set race off downfield but inexplicably spilled as he began his run to gift Saints the scrum.

Worse was to come for the winger, whose wayward pass in his own half gave Saints yet more ball. This time it was Dominique Peyroux who scored but, once more, Sene-Lefao was beaten too easily near his own line.

At times, they did get it right, holding up Alex Walmsley as he charged over, but too often the hosts were left on the floor as their rapid opponents dominated physically.

Eden’s woe worsened when he collected a kick at the start of the second period but saw his foot slide into touch, handing Saints possession for the early try they so desired, Zeb Taia doing the damage.

Soon after, Eden then lost the ball in a tackle and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook stormed over Oli Holmes to increase the visitors’ lead; Eden was replaced by Jame Clare with 31 minutes remaining.

It was sensible of Powell - the 28-year-old was clearly struggling - but he could easily have replaced many others.

Alex Foster coughed up the ball for Mark Percival to expose their brittle right-edge again and - after Shenton’s response - Peyroux brushed off some feeble tackles for his second.

England centre Percival was next to do so, breaking clear from his own half this time to send in Jonny Lomax, and Castleford’s night was summed up when - having rightly just been announced as the home side’s man-of-the-match - Mata’utia sailed the restart dead.

Trueman did added a second try, weaving through impressively on the last play, but it was no consolation for Tigers who lost for only the second time so far and head to struggling Leeds Rhinos on Thursday.

Castleford: Mata’utia; Minikin, Foster, Shenton, Eden; Trueman, Rankin; Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, Moors, Massey. Substitutes: Clare, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Cook.

St Helens: Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Fages; Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, Knowles. Substitutes: Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lees, Ashworth.

Referee: James Child (Dewsbury)