CASTLEFORD TIGERS slumped to a second successive defeat as discarded winger Justin Carney scored a brace of tries on his return to the Jungle.
The former Cas favourite joined Salford Red Devils on a season-long loan at the end of last season, after initially being suspended by Tigers over allegations about his personal life.
He was sin-binned just four minutes into the first half of Salford’s 32-16 win on Sunday – for lashing out at Nathan Massey – and jeered throughout by the home fans, but refused to celebrate his tries.
Cas were missing injured stand-off Ben Roberts, along with Grant Millington, Oliver Holmes and Junior Moors and never really got their attacking game into gear.
Tigers, who also ost Luke Dorn to injury in the second half, only had one good spell, when they hit back from 20-6 down to trail by only four points, but Josh Griffin barged over from close range and then Carney out-paced Adam Milner to Michael Dobson’s kick. Cas failed to make the most of their early one-man advantage and went 2-0 down when Gareth O’Brien, who had an outstanding game for the visitors, booted a penalty goal.
He went on to convert all five of their tries. The first came nine minutes before the break through Greg Johnson, who crossed from Junior Sa’u’s pass following Tommy Lee’s initial run.
Tigers got back into the game five minutes later when Denny Solomona swooped over from Luke Gale’s looping pass.
The No 7 missed the conversion, but cut the gap to 8-6 with a penalty after a high tackle by Ben Murdoch-Masila on Matt Cook.
Castleford were fortunate to be as close as they were at that stage, but Salford took control of the game in the third quarter.
Josh Griffin crashed over from close range following successive penalties and then Carney touched down from O’Brien’s long pass.
O’Brien converted both, but a long-range try got Castleford back into the game. Paul McShane dashed clear from close to his own line and debutant Ryan Hampshire was in support to put in Solomona, who had earlier had a try disallowed for a forward pass.
That was the prolific winger’s eighth try of the year and his ninth followed soon afterwards, created by Gale and Jake Webster.
Gale converted the first and with just four points in it Tigers looked on the point of a remarkable fightback, but an interception by Ben Murdoch-Masila snatched the momentum away from the home team and led to Griffin’s second try, with Carney – who had been switched from the right to left flank – crossing on the final play.
Castleford Tigers: Dorn, Monaghan, Crooks, Webster, Solomona, Hampshire, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Jewitt, McMeeken, Cook, Massey. Subs McShane, Boyle, Springer, Maher.
Salford red Devils: O’Brien, Carney, Sa’u, J Griffin, Johnson, Lui, Dobson, Kopczak, Lee, G Griffin, Murdoch-Masila, Jones, Lannon. Subs Flanagan, A Walne, Tomkins, Joseph.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).Attendance: 8,151.