WE hoped beyond all hope this kind of performance was behind Warrington Wolves.

Having turned a bit of a corner in recent weeks, this was a depressing throwback to the kind of display that saw pressure mount on the players and coaching staff.

Before any of that is picked apart, though, credit must be given to Castleford Tigers.

On a platform set for them by the hard work of their forwards, they moved the ball was speed and incision.

In truth, they looked like scoring whenever they got inside the Warrington 30 as they split them open time and time again.

Daryl Powell concocted a game plan and his players delivered it to perfection. Their victory was fully deserved.

Picture by SWPix.com

Picture by SWPix.com

If that is the kind of fayre Wire fans have to look forward to next year when Powell takes over, then bring it on.

But next year is a long way away.

There has been improvement of late – of that there can be no doubt – but to many it has felt like a crisis was just one bad performance away.

Have Wire hit that point yet? It is hard to say, but this disappointment will take some coming back from.

Picture by PA Wire

Picture by PA Wire

As they did against Huddersfield a few weeks back, they showed fight to haul themselves back into the game after a truly abject first half.

That said, it should not take being dominated in that fashion for 40 minutes to spark them into life.

When Toby King crossed to narrow the gap to nine points, that should have been the catalyst to kick on facing a side that would spend the next 10 minutes with 12 men after Jacques O’Neill’s sin binning.

Picture by PA Wire

Picture by PA Wire

Instead, Castleford scored an extra 10 points while playing with a man less.

When Jake Mamo had to sit out 10 minutes in the first half, the Tigers scored 12 points and conceded none.

In semi-finals, you have to step up in big moments. Castleford did, Warrington didn’t – it is that simple.

So what happens now?

This disappointment will hurt massively but what cannot be allowed to happen is for this to derail them as last year’s loss to Salford at the same stage did.

They already have ground to make up on Super League’s leading trio, so they cannot afford to go hurtling back to square one.

There are critics that will say they already have. It is now up to the group to prove them wrong.


. Wire lose their second successive Challenge Cup semi final

. 35 is the most points Warrington have conceded in a Challenge Cup tie against Castleford


Challenge Cup, semi final

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Castleford Tigers...35 Warrington Wolves...20

Tigers: Niall Evalds; Derrell Olpherts, Peter Mata'utia, Michael Shenton, Jordan Turner; Jake Trueman, Gareth O'Brien; Nathan Massey, Paul McShane, Suaia Matagi, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Oliver Holmes, Adam Milner. Subs: Liam Watts, Alex Foster, Jacques O'Neill, James Clare

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Josh Charnley, Jake Mamo, Toby King, Tom Lineham; Blake Austin, Gareth Widdop; Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Jack Hughes, Ben Currie, Matt Davis. Subs: Robbie Mulhern, Joe Philbin, Sitaleki Akauola, Danny Walker

Scoring: O'Brien try, 16 mins, O'Brien goal, 6-0; O'Brien penalty, 21mins, 8-0; Turner try, 25mins, O'Brien goal, 14-0; Turner try, 29mins, 18-0; Currie try, 44mins, 19-4; Mamo try, 46mins, 19-8; Sene-Lefao try, 50mins, 23-8; King try, 54mins, Widdop goal, 23-14; Turner try, 58mins, O'Brien goal, 29-14; McShane try, 62mins, 33-14; Charnley try, 64mins, Widdop goal, 33-20; O'Brien penalty, 71mins, 35-20

Penalties: Tigers 5 Wolves 7

Sin bin: Mamo (20mins, professional foul), O'Neill (52mins, dangerous tackle)

Referee: Chris Kendall