Hull KR 14-42 Castleford Tigers
After a poor performance at home to St Helens last time out led to a 40-18 defeat, Castleford’s head coach Daryl Powell was highly critical of both the performance and attitude of his charges. Friday night, however, was the total opposite and the reigning Super League coach of the year was delighted with his team as their journey to Hull KR saw them leave with the two points.
After a victory which saw the Tigers return to Super League’s top four, Powell expressed that “we started the game on fire. The first 20 minutes was outstanding, as good as we’ve been in all sorts of ways – defensively, control of the game, our kicking game was good and we scored some good tries.” So impressive was their opening period of the game that Hull KR barely stood a chance thereafter with four tries in the first nineteen minutes. Kieran Gill, fresh from extending his Tigers deal, and the returning Greg Eden crossed in the opening ten minutes before Alex Foster and Matt Cook scored shortly after to put the visitors in total control of proceedings at KCOM Craven Park. Three conversions from Jamie Ellis left the score at 22-0 but Rovers’ Cumbrian winger Ryan Shaw crossed shortly before the half hour mark only for Michael Shenton, back in his familiar centre role having featured at full back recently, to restore the Tigers 22 point lead.
The former England centre’s try showcased Castleford’s ability to score from deep, something which was highly prevalent in their League Leaders’ Shield winning campaign last season, with Foster, Ellis, Jesse Sene-Lefao and the highly impressive Paul McShane being involved in the impressive score. 28-4 up at half time, the defensive effort from the Tigers was something which, again, impressed coach Powell. “We want to be a better defensive team and I thought our attitude was fantastic. We looked after their threats and applied a plan very well,” he said.
Their exhilarating first half wasn’t however, matched in the second and, despite Jy Hitchcox crossing twice as well as Gill adding his second, Cas also allowed Chris Clarkson to score after a Maurice Blair kick rebounded off the post. Shaw crossed for his second late on but, after their humbling home defeat to Saints nine days ago, Powell was delighted with the response. “I was a pretty frustrated coach last week but we’ve turned things on its head a little bit,” he explained. “Obviously we’ve been up and down across the whole season so for us to still be in the mix is great for us and there is so much improvement in us.