THERE was a certain inevitability to what happened on Friday night.

For all the public insistence that they were not thinking about their trip to Wembley next week, the reality appeared to be the opposite.

It is perhaps natural, but it was especially disappointing given how important this game was in the context of their league campaign.

From early on, it was clearly going to be one of those nights.

Steve Price had spoken pre-match about controlling where they gave Castleford possession. The number of needless errors they made showed that warning was not heeded.

It took them almost a full half to complete seven sets. Operating at that level against a rival for the top four is asking for trouble.

For all Castleford’s territory in the first half, however, The Wire hung in there.

It looked as if they would go into half time at 12-0, which would almost have constituted a minor victory, but Greg Eden’s sucker-punch try right on the hooter left them with too big a mountain to climb.

Despite that, they gave it a good go and back-to-back tries early in the second half had the hosts on the rack.

Dec Patton had come on in the halves to replace the injured Tyrone Roberts and was doing a more than reasonable job. It was one of a few reshuffles Price had to carry out over the 80 minutes.

The wheels were in motion, but the errors crept back in and the bus was put back in reverse.

Despite the errors and the low completion rate, The Wire could look to other influences as well. For instance, the performance of referee Gareth Hewer and his team of officials came under fire.

Eden looked to have clearly dropped the ball in the act of scoring his crucial try with the final act of the first half, while Mike McMeeken strolled over for the Tigers’ final try from a pass that was noticeably forward.

Two big calls – both of which went against Wolves – but that cannot be used as an excuse. Castleford were the better side and deserved their victory.

As well as losing ground on those above them, Warrington now have the added problem of a resurgent Huddersfield creeping up behind them.

With 11 wins from their past 12 games, the Giants have The Wire firmly in their sights and are just four points behind.

For now, though, this cannot be worried about. It is time for the team to pick themselves up and head for Wembley.

While there will not be many fans expecting a similar performance to Friday on the big stage, it would have been nice to head down the M6 on the back of a positive result.


. Castleford become the third team – after Wigan and St Helens – to beat The Wire twice in the league this year


Super 8s, Round Two

Friday, August 17, 2018

Castleford Tigers…28 Warrington Wolves…18

Tigers: Peter Mata’utia; James Clare, Jake Webster, Michael Shenton, Greg Eden; Jamie Ellis, Jake Trueman; Liam Watts, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Joe Wardle, Mike McMeeken, Nathan Massey. Subs: Junior Moors, Oliver Holmes, Mitch Clark, Calum Turner.

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Mitch Brown, Toby King, Bryson Goodwin, Tom Lineham; Kevin Brown, Tyrone Roberts; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Jack Hughes, Bodene Thompson, George King. Subs: Joe Philbin, Sitaleki Akauola, Ben Pomeroy, Declan Patton.

Scoring: Clare try, 8mins, 4-0; Ellis penalty, 15mins, 6-0; Moors try, 27mins, Ellis goal, 12-0; Eden try, 40mins, 16-0; Ratchford try, 46mins, Ratchford goal, 16-6; Goodwin try, 48mins, Ratchford goal, 16-12; Eden try, 60mins, Ellis goal, 22-12; McMeeken try, 67mins, Ellis goal, 28-12; Ratchford try, 79mins, Patton goal, 28-18

Penalties: Tigers 6 Wolves 8

Referee: Gareth Hewer

Attendance: 7,142

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