Adam Milner played a starring role to guide Castleford to a crucial 34-30 win over Warrington.
Warrington Wolves coach Steve Price named an unchanged side to the one that knocked Wigan Warriors out of the Challenge Cup last week.
Daryl Powell made four changes to his Castleford team that beat Hull Kingston Rovers last time out. Calum Turner, Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e, Mitch Clark and Will Maher came in for Greg Eden, Jamie Ellis, Liam Watts and Paul McShane. Matt Cook made his 250thcareer appearance.
Castleford started with a bang. From dummy half, Mike McMeeken chased his own grubber down to claim the opener. Turner converted to put his side 6-0 up.
The Tigers were playing their trademark fast flowing rugby and were in again the following set. Jake Trueman’s grubber hit the crossbar and fell into the arms of Turner who scored. He converted his own try.
Warrington soon pulled one back. Josh Charnley patted a kick backwards and the supporting Tyrone Roberts scored in the corner. Harvey Livett failed to convert, Warrington 4-12 Castleford after 12 minutes.
The Wolves were in for another a couple of minutes later thanks to a superb break from Stefan Ratchford.
Daryl Clark fired Warrington into the lead with a cheeky scoot from close range. Livett made no mistakes with the conversion this time and they were 14-12 to the good.
Warrington extended their lead on the half hour mark as Sitaleki Akauola showed some great support play for a break from Clark. Livett’s boot made the score 20-12.
Both teams were playing expansive rugby and it was brilliant to watch. Castleford threw the ball through quick hands to Jy Hitchcox who darted over out wide. Turner added the extras.
Charnley was penalised for a high tackle on the brink of the half time hooter sounding. As a result, Castleford opted to take a shot at goal and Turner added the penalty goal to level the score at 20-20 at the break.
Castleford were dealt a blow at the start of the second half as Adam Milner was sin-binned for a late shot on Roberts.
Warrington went back in front in the 53rdminute. Charnley wrestled his way past three Castleford players to finish excellently in the corner. Livett failed to convert, but the Wolves led 24-20.
The Tigers scored a great try when Laulu-Togaga’e scored on his debut thanks to a sublime offload from Jesse Sene-Lefao. Turner’s conversion edged Castleford into a 26-24 lead after 63 minutes.
Shortly after, Laulu-Togaga’e made a fine break and assisted the supporting Oliver Holmes who stretched Castleford’s lead. Turner’s conversion was good and Castleford were 32-24 ahead.
The Wolves made it a dramatic finish though. The Tigers failed to deal with a towering kick and Warrington spread the ball along the line to Charnley who finished acrobatically in the corner. Livett converted, Warrington 30-32 Castleford.
Castleford sealed the win five minutes from time. Chris Hill gave away a penalty for having a second effort in the tackle and Castleford opted to take a shot at goal. Milner added a penalty goal to secure a brilliant 34-30 win for the Tigers.
Warrington: Ratchford; Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, Charnley; Brown, Roberts; Hill, Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, Westwood. Subs: Philbin, Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Akauola.
Castleford: Turner; Minikin, Foster, Shenton, Hitchcox; Laulu-Togaga’e, Trueman; Cook, Milner, Millington, Wardle, McMeeken, Sene-Lefao. Subs: Holmes, Massey, Clark, Maher.
Starman: Adam Milner was absolutely outstanding for Castleford. He covered nearly every blade of grass.