The Betfred Super League Rivals Round weekend started with a victory for Castleford Tigers as they defeated Wakefield Trinity 16-4 at the Jungle on Thursday evening.
It was the perfect start for Andy Last’s side as 2020 Man of Steel recipient Paul McShane did brilliantly to fool the Wakefield defence to get over the try line. He subsequently converted to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead inside the opening five minutes.
The hosts looked the most threatening between the two rivals throughout the first half as they constantly asked questions of the team rock bottom of the league table. However, despite a significant lack of confidence, the kind you would expect after losing seven matches in a row, Trinity did have some promising breaks to pull themselves back into the match but they were unable to convert thanks to some resilient Castleford defending.
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But just like how badly their season has gone so far, Wakefield shot themselves in the foot just before the break as some catastrophic defending allowed Castleford to pick them off with a swift counter attack which was finished off by Greg Eden for his first try of the campaign. McShane then stepped up to make it two kicks from two.
There was a spirited response from the visitors after the break and they were able to pull a try back minutes after the restart through Samisoni Langi as he charged his way through Castleford defenders to get the ball over the line. Mason Lino stepped up for the conversion but he couldn't reduce the deficit further.
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The game started to open up as a result and an interesting tactical battle started to develop with both sets of players called in to put their bodies on the line defensively. Trinity were then given a boost when Joe Westerman was sent to the sin bin for tripping up Jay Pitts, to which Castleford were put under a lot of pressure a few metres away from the try line.
After weathering the storm, the Tigers flipped the switch and put their bitter rivals under pressure. They kept pushing for a route through and they were able to find it as Eden held wide to receive the ball and dive his way over the line for his second try of the game, and you got the sense that was going to be enough to wrap up the match and record Castleford their second victory of the season.
The hosts fought hard for a much-needed victory as they look to kickstart their season. It can never be understated how much a win over your local rivals can help turn your campaign around and Castleford will be hoping this triumph will do just that.
As for Wakefield, eight games, eight losses. There is no beating around the bush in saying that they are in huge trouble. They have looked sub-par in all of their matches so far this year and they are currently sleepwalking towards the Championship as there have been no signs of any significant improvement. Considering both teams were the bottom two sides of the division heading into this one, Castleford showed that they are at least a level above their rivals which made this evening’s match a tough watch for Wakefield supporters who are fearing the worst this season as they are now four points adrift.
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