Luke Dorn scored a hat-trick as an impressive Castleford Tigers moved to within two points of the First Utility Super League summit with a thumping 54-12 victory over 12-man Hull KR yesterday.
Daryl Powell’s men have been the surprise package this season and they are showing no signs of letting up in their bid for a first Grand Final appearance.
The Tigers had the two points wrapped up before the break as they ran riot on a warm afternoon in West Yorkshire.
Michael Channing and Dorn crossed twice and Grant Millington and Kirk Dixon grabbed one apiece to give the hosts a 28-0 half-time lead, a margin which would have been greater had it not been for four missed conversions by Marc Sneyd.
Travis Burns went over for the Robins early in the second half but Jamie Ellis and Dorn scored to ensure the comeback was short-lived.
The visitors were reduced to 12 men when Australian prop Michael Weyman was sent off for dissent before Jake Webster, Craig Huby and James Clare helped themselves to tries as Castleford romped to their biggest Super League win against Rovers, who scored a late consolation through Wayne Ulugia.
Tigers return to action at Wigan next Saturday in the Challenge Cup quarter-final while Hull KR are not in action until a week on Friday when they welcome fourth-placed Warrington Wolves.
Speaking after the game, Tigers coach Daryl Powell said: “I thought we played really well in the first 40 (minutes).
“We’ve had some really good halves of rugby league this season, but obviously to nil a team like Hull KR is a great effort defensively.
“With the ball we just look so vibrant at times. When we open our game up, we come up with some special things, so obviously delighted to get the win.
“Overall I thought it was a fantastic effort by a group of blokes who were really committed, enthusiastic and determined in everything that they were doing.”
Powell admitted Castleford, who face Wigan in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-finals next week, are ahead of where he expected them to be at this stage of the campaign.
“It’s tough to expect we would have won as many games as we have,” he added.
“As we have created a platform for ourselves, we are always reassessing where we are at and what we need to do to maintain where we are.
“We are obviously trying to improve as well, and I think the signs are we are improving on a weekly basis.”
Castleford: Tansey, Dixon, Shenton, Dorn, Sneyd, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Millington, Hauraki, Clark, Holmes, Mariano, Wheeldon, Ellis, Channing, Clare, Finn, Jewitt.
Hull KR: Burns, Cockayne, Costigan, Cox, Gardner, Green, Hall, D Hodgson, J Hodgson, Horne, Keating, Langley, Larroyer, Lovegrove, Ulugia, A Walker, J Walker, Welham, Weyman.
Referee: Tim Roby.