Salford Red Devils were made to pay for a first half full of mistakes. A very poor completion rate also scuppered Ian Watson’s men on what was a heavy pitch at Wheldon Road.
Last season’s Grand finalists Castleford shot into an early lead with tries from centre Michael Shenton and winger James Clare.
With Salford’s errors mounting The Tigers we’re constantly on the front foot. Oliver Holmes was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous looking spear tackle but Salford couldn’t make the most of their numerical advantage. Instead Castleford extended there lead when Luke Gale went over for the hosts third try. Salford’s best chance came from Junior Sau, he gave everything charging to the try line only to be stopped by a wonderful tackle as he just agonisingly failed to ground the ball.
20-0 down at half time Salford needed to respond. Hard working Sau grabbed The Red Devils first try in over one and a half matches with a powerhouse run to the line. With no Gareth O’Brien in the side Robert Lui attempted the conversion but pulled it wide.
Logan Tomkins and Grant Millington went toe to toe in a scuffle that involved nearly every player on the pitch. Both were dispatched to the sin bin before Gale calmed the tension kicking the easy penalty. 22-4.
A much improved second half where the completion rate must of been in the 90% bracket will give the Red Devils some heart. Jake Bibby squeezed in the corner with virtually the last play of the match. Jack Littlejohn failed to convert.
Ian Watson was disappointed with the error strewn first half from his side but could take positives from the second half. Forwards Lee Mossop and Craig Kopczak missed today through injury but both will return on Friday when Hull visit the AJ Bell Stadium. As rumours begin to circulate regarding Gareth O’Brien’s future Watson said the club will be making a statement shortly.
Final score Castleford Tigers 22 Salford Red Devils 8
Listen to my post match interview with Head Coach Ian Watson here.