Castleford Tigers secured their place in the Betfred Super League play-offs with a commanding 28-8 victory over Lee Radford’s beleaguered Hull FC.
Despite losing Oliver Holmes to a worrying-looking leg injury in the opening 15 minutes, the Tigers opened the scoring through Mike McMeeken, who dived over after Jake Trueman’s grubber kick deflected fortuitously into his path.
The visitors added a second score thanks to Junior Moors’ rampaging effort close to the line before Greg Eden produced a length of the field interception to make it 18-0 at the interval.
Eden sidestepped his way through the Hull FC defensive line to further the scoreline before fellow winger James Clare added an acrobatic fifth on the opposite flank.
The home side did get their name on the scoreboard thanks to Carlos Tuimavave’s touchdown just before the hour mark, followed 10 minutes later by Hakim Miloudi, who raced 90m to make it 28-8 despite the best efforts of Paul McShane.
Former FC forward Liam Watts thought he had sealed a return to remember late on, but his try celebrations were cut short thanks to an obstruction.
Nevertheless, he and his team-mates were all smiles at the final hooter as Castleford saw out the remainder of the clash to leave West Hull with two points in the bag.
What we have learned:
Improvement for FC is little consolation
Lee Radford will be more than happy for the season to find its conclusion, despite a performance from his troops far surpassing their limp display against Warrington last time around.
Hull’s attack was quite disjointed at times and they continued to shoot themselves in the foot with a high volume of individual errors, but their coach will be more satisfied to have witnessed a performance with far more pride, endeavour and intensity.
Nevertheless, given the volume of injuries and with nothing left to play for, Radford and co will surely be counting the days until their 2018 campaign runs its course.
Castleford scratchy but do enough
We have certainly seen better performances from Daryl Powell’s side this season, but in truth, they did what they needed to in order to come away with the competition points.
There were some glimpses of the flamboyant attacking play associated with the Tigers, yet there were also moments where they were drawn into the scrappier aspect of the clash.
Now though, Powell will be able to start planning his side’s semi-final tie against whoever it may be. Their performance this evening was certainly not scintillating, but rather more academic in the grand scheme of things.
Starman: Paul McShane
No one player really stood out over the course of the 80 minutes, but McShane certainly led his team around the park expertly from around the ruck.
The 28-year old has been a real enforcer throughout the year for the Tigers; a few more big performances like this one will be needed in order for his side to book a date at Old Trafford in October.