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

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Salford are just 80 minutes away from Old Trafford after they beat Castleford 22-0 in the play-offs.

The Red Devils will play the winner of St Helens-Wigan away next Friday.

Ian Watson made just one change to his Salford side that lost at Wigan last week. Greg Burke replaced Ryan Lannon.

Castleford coach Daryl Powell made two changes to his side that beat Warrington last time out. Greg Eden and Nathan Massey came in for Calum Turner and Jamie Ellis.

Tries from Tyrone McCarthy and Jake Bibby as well as three goals gave the Red Devils a 14-0 lead at the break.

Jackson Hastings went over late in the game to seal a fine 22-0 victory for the hosts.

Three talking points

Salford through to semi-finals

The Red Devils are just 80 minutes away from reaching the Super League Grand Final for the first time ever.

It has been a remarkable season for Watson’s men. He is a top quality coach and deserved all the plaudits he gets because stye continue to bat above their weight.

Salford did incredibly well to finish third after the regular season but to make it to the semi-finals of Super League is astonishing. The Old Trafford dream is firmly in sight.

Castleford eliminated

The Tigers gave it a good go in the play-offs by winning at Challenge Cup winners Warrington last week but Salford was just a bridge too far for them.

Powell’s side have faced a torrid season regarding injuries, with star half-back Luke Gale having not played a game in 2019.

They were still without regulars Michael Shenton, Mike McMeeken, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Junior Moors and Alex Foster for their trip to Salford. Injuries aren’t an excuse, but they should be considered when reviewing the season.

Evalds an underrated gem

Salford full-back Niall Evalds is one of the most underrated players in Super League.

The 26-year-old has been in sensational form in 2019, scoring 27 tries in 32 games for the Red Devils.

But it is not just his try scoring prowess that is so impressive – he is safe under the high ball and is always willing to take a carry in to help his forwards out.

Line-ups and player ratings

Salford: Evalds (8); Sio (7), Welham (8), Bibby (7), Inu (8); Lolohea (7), Hastings (8); Mossop (8), Tomkins (8), Dudson (7), Jones (7), Griffin (7), McCarthy (8). Subs: Lussick (7), Flanagan (7), Walker (7), Burke (7).

Tries: McCarthy, Bibby, Hastings Goals: Inu 5/5

Castleford: Rankin (6); Clare (5), Minikin (5), Blair (6), Eden (5); Trueman (7), Mata’utia (6); Watts (7), McShane (7), Millington (6), Holmes (6), Clarkson (7), Massey (6). Subs: Milner (6), Cook (6), O’Neill (5), Smith (6).

Tries: Goals:

Drew’s views

That was a complete performance from Salford. I’ll admit it – I predicted Castleford to win the game by four points but I had my eye wiped.

Salford’s goal-line scramble was admirable and they play some brilliant attacking rugby going forward. The combinations between Hastings and Tui Lolohea in the halves is excellent.

As for Castleford, they were second best all night and didn’t look like winning from the start. They’ve struggled with injuries this year but still can be proud of their efforts in 2019.

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