Castleford Tigers turned on the style on their long-awaited return to the Jungle with a nine-try show to sink struggling Leigh Centurions and extend their 100 per cent start to the new Betfred Super League season.
Playing in their home stadium for the first time since October, Daryl Powell’s men were merciless with Derrell Olpherts crossing twice and Paul McShane kicking six conversions in an emphatic 52-16 success.
Three late consolation tries, including from former Tigers duo Jordan Thompson and Ben Reynolds, will come as little solace to Leigh head coach John Duffy, whose evolving side showed few signs of reversing their still-winless start to the new campaign.
Any lingering notion that Cas’s Golden Point Challenge Cup win over Hull KR last week might have sapped their strength was swiftly dispatched by prop Liam Watts who barged through the middle in the fourth minute, shrugging off Leigh full-back Ryan Brierley to open the scoring.
The hosts’ energy levels would prove unrelenting, Daniel Smith forcing his way over at the foot of the post prior to the last of Gareth O’Brien’s two conversions, and Olpherts diving over on the right, with McShane making it 18-0 before the half-hour mark.
McShane sent Greg Eden over on the short side as Cas extended their lead to 24-0, Niall Evalds crossed after Grant Millington’s unselfish off-load, and Cas rounded off the first half with the best of the lot, Michael Shenton finishing off a flashy move on the left before McShane’s third conversion made it 34-0 at the break.
Still feeling their way in the top flight, Duffy had handed former St Helens centre Josh Simm his debut after signing a short-term deal, and would also introduce James Bell and Nathan Peats for their respective debuts.
They were given scant chance to make an impression though, as Cas continued where they left off after the break with Jordan Turner crossing for try number seven, again converted by McShane.
Leigh at least avoided the whitewash when Thompson bundled over on the right, and might have hoped for more when Cas were reduced to 12 men when Jesse Sene-Lefao was sin-binned for a late tackle.
Far from taking advantage, Leigh were instead caught out and Eden’s clever quick tap sent the impressive Olpherts galloping over under the posts to make it 44-4.
McShane kicked the simplest of conversions, and repeated the feat after Jake Trueman brought up the 50-point mark as Powell’s men showed no sign of dipping their impressive energy levels.
Reynolds and Brierley scored further consolation tries for Leigh late on, both converted by Reynolds, but they could not disguise the evident issues confronting Duffy’s men over the months ahead.
Castleford: Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Eden, O’Brien, Trueman, Watts, McShane, Smith, Holmes, Sene-Lefao, Massey. Subs: Millington, Milner, Turner, Bienek.
Tries: Watts, Smith, Olpherts 2, Eden, Evalds, Shenton, Turner, Trueman Goals: O’Brien 2, McShane 6
Leigh: Brierley, Russell, Simm, Mullen, Tierney, Mellor, Reynolds, Hellewell, Hood, Thompson, Sidlow, Peteru, McCarthy. Subs: Flower, Bell, Gerrard, Peats.
Tries: Thompson, Reynolds, Brierley Goal: Reynolds 2