CASTLEFORD TIGERS are aiming to grace big stages on a regular basis over the next few seasons and on the evidence of their 50-12 Magic Weekend demolition of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, they won’t look out of place.
Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium has brought the best out of Tigers under coach Daryl Powell. His first win came against Wildcats at 2013’s Magic event – 49-24 – and yesterday’s 50-12 success was even more stylish.
The venue and size of the crowd make Magic matches mean a little more than regular season games and Tigers rose to the occasion, playing some lovely stuff as they ran in nine tries.
On the back of two straight wins Wildcats were expected to offer stern resistance, but they couldn’t get into the game and the best that can be said about them is they weren’t nilled.
Four rapid tries in the first half meant the game was never really a contest, despite a reasonably bright start from Wakefield.
Cas were far superior, too strong and quick against a Wakefield side who made a host of errors and dropped off too many tackles.
Daryl Clark’s future is the subject of speculation, with the hooker being strongly linked with a move to Warrington Wolves. Even with another good young No 9 – Adam Milner, who did not play yesterday – in the squad, Cas should do all they can to keep him.
He has pace, good hands and feet and an eye for a gap and he was too good for Wildcats early on, scoring the opening try and setting up the third, before completing the rout on the final play.
Craig Huby (Huddersfield) and Weller Hauraki (Salford) are also being linked with moves away, while Marc Sneyd will return to Salford at the end of the year, when his loan ends.
Sneyd has been a revelation this season and he scored the game’s best try, at the start of the second half.
The No 7 began the move by sending Kirk Dixon on a run. He got the ball back and headed for the line before slipping a pass to Michael Shenton, who offloaded back to send Sneyd stepping over.
It was glorious stuff and illustrated what an exciting attacking team Tigers have become. It was the first of Sneyd’s brace of touchdowns and he also kicked seven conversions and was involved in most of their best moments in a fine personal display.
Huby and Hauraki are also playing well and it will leave a big gap if any or all leave, but should Tigers continue their current improvement replacements will be queueing up.
Cas’ first touchdown came on 12 minutes when Clark crossed from Liam Finn’s pass, video referee Ben Thaler deciding there was no obstruction in the build-up.
Five minutes later winger Justin Carney illustrated why he’s known as The Beast.
He collected Sneyd’s pass on the left-flank, shrugged off Richard Mathers and evaded Jarrod Sammut and Matt Ryan to power over for a trademark score.
Soon afterwards Clark made a break and Jordan Tansey was in support to go between the posts.
Sneyd butchered a chance, knocking on before Michael Shenton picked up to go over – Thaler saying no try – before Shenton snapped up a loose ball to go from near his own line on 29.
Sneyd’s picture try opened the second half and Carney added a simple second to make it 34-0 just 10 minutes in.
Wakefield’s first try followed when Nick Scruton went over from Pita Godinet’s offload, but Tigers responded as Shenton sent Carney away and he put the supporting Sneyd in for his second.
Frankie Mariano celebrated his new contract by powering over from Sneyd’s excellent pass, but Wakefield did grab a late consolation, Chris Riley’s break being finished off in some style by Paul Sykes, Sammut landing his second conversion.
But Clark finished things off with a long-range try seconds from time, celebrating by hurling the ball into the massed ranks of jubilant Tigers fans.
Castleford Tigers: Tansey, Dixon, Webster, Shenton, Carney, Sneyd, Finn, Lynch, Clark, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Millington. Subs (all used) Mariano, Wheeldon, Ellis, Jewitt.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Sammut, Mathers, Collis, Walshaw, Riley, Sykes, Siejka, Anderson, McShane, Scruton, Ryan, Kirmond, Smith. Subs Godinet, Moore, Washbrook, Fairbank.
Referee: James Child (Batley).
Attendance: 28,214 (day two total).