Castleford eliminate Warrington from play-offs – talking points & player ratings

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Castleford beat Warrington 14-12 to in the Super League elimination play-off at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. 

The Tigers will face the loser of Wigan-Salford, who play the qualifying final play-off at the DW Stadium on Friday.

The Wolves have been knocked out of the Super League play-offs.

Steve Price made two changes to his Warrington side that lost at Leeds last week. Joe Philbin and Dec Patton replaced Sitaleki Akauola and Matty Smith.

Castleford coach Daryl Powell made three changes to his outfit that lost at Wigan last time out. Adam Milner, Calum Turner and Jacques O’Neill came into the squad.

Jesse Sene-Lefao [suspended], Mike McMeeken and Nathan Massey dropped out for the Tigers.

The only thing separating the sides at half-time was a try by Castleford’s Adam Milner in the 28th minute. The Tigers were 6-0 up at the break.

Warrington were dealt a blow during the half-time interval though as marquee half-back Blake Austin didn’t return to the field due to injury.

Jake Mamo came off the bench for Warrington to level the score but Jordan Rankin put the Tigers back in front in the 48th minute.

Wolves prop Chris Hill gave the hosts hope with 10 minutes to go but Castleford hung on for a 14-12 victory.

Three talking points

Castleford through to next round

The Tigers put in a professional display against the Wolves to progress through to the next round of the play-offs.

Powell’s side will face the loser of Wigan-Salford, who play on Friday night. The winner of Wigan-Salford will face St Helens the following week.

Castleford deserve a lot of credit for what they’ve been through over the course of this season. To have a star half-back in Luke Gale not playing the entire season and to even reach the play-offs is remarkable.

Austin limps off the field

Warrington half-back Austin picked up a knock midway through the first half but played on with the injury until the half-time interval.

It was clear to see in the latter stages of the first 40 that Austin wouldn’t be able to come back out for the second half and he didn’t. It was a huge blow for the Wolves.

The extent of the injury is not yet known but his knee was heavily strapped. He missed out on playing in the Challenge Cup final with an ankle injury, so it would be devastating if he is out for the rest of the year and misses the Great Britain tour.

Watts puts hand up for Great Britain

The performances that we have seen from Castleford prop Liam Watts this year have been nothing short of sensational. He literally puts every single part of his body on the line for his side.

The 29-year-old is enjoying a fine year, having been called up to the England and Great Britain Elite Performance Squads.

Watts was also named in the Super League Dream Team last Sunday, alongside St Helens front-rower Luke Thompson. Watts has never played a senior international match – but he is certainly giving Lions coach Wayne Bennett something to think about.

Line-ups and player ratings

Warrington: Ratchford (8); Lineham (6), Goodwin (7), King (6), Charnley (7); Austin (5), Patton (6); Hill (7), D Clark (7), Cooper (8), Currie (7), Hughes (7), J Clark (7). Subs: Murdoch-Masila (6), Philbin (7), Mamo (7), Westwood (6).

Tries: Mamo, Hill Goals: Ratchford 2/4

Castleford: Turner (7); Clare (7), Mata’utia (8), Blair (7), Minikin (7); Trueman (7), Rankin (8); Watts (8), McShane (8), Millington (7), Holmes (7), Clarkson (7), Smith (6). Subs: Milner (6), Cook (7), Ellis (N/A), O’Neill (6).

Tries: Milner, Rankin Goals: Mata’utia 3/3

Attendance: 5,627

Drew’s views

I tipped Castleford by four points in the media tipping league by four points – so I was close! They were solid against Warrington and I was impressed with Cheyse Blair and Mata’utia in the centres.

Great Britain have got a lot of strength in depth when it comes to the forward pack but Watts will probably feel hard done to if he is not selected to go on the Lions tour.

As for Warrington, their form in Super League has been woeful in recent months. They won the Challenge Cup and that’s a great achievement – but they will be bitterly disappointed they didn’t make the Grand Final.

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