Castleford Tigers 32 Wakefield Trinity 15 - Coach Daryl Powell employs half-time warm-up tactic to turn the tide at The Jungle
CASTLEFORD TIGERS coach Daryl Powell sent his players out early for a mini-warm up before the second half of their showdown with neighbours Wakefield Trinity.
At that stage Castleford trailed 15-14 and were clearly in need of a pick-me-up. Powell’s tactic worked and Tigers ran in three unanswered tries in the third quarter to put the game out of the visitors’ reach en-route to a convincing 32-15 win
The one-sided second period, during which Wakefield were twice reduced to 12 men, was in contrast to a thrilling, see-saw first when the lead changed hands five times.
It was Wakefield’s 14th successive loss to Castleford, who therefore retained the Adam Watene trophy awarded after each derby in memory of the prop who played for both clubs and died, aged only 31, 12 years ago.
But for half the game Wakefield looked capable of ending five years of hurt and though they were outscored by three tries to two, they were good value for their narrow interval lead.
Buoyed by their surprise win over Warrington Wolves five days earlier, Wakefield played with confidence and some flair, half-back Jacob Miller thriving off hard work done in the middle.
Joe Westerman, playing in this derby for the first time as a Wakefield player, was at the heart of that and gave them an early lead when he swooped over from Miller’s pass. Ryan Hampshire converted and then added a penalty goal soon afterwards, but in the blink of an eye Castleford were ahead.
Wakefield conceded 13 penalties to Castleford’s eight and that imbalance had a significant bearing.
Back-to-back penalties gave Castleford field position and on the last tackle Paul McShane, playing against his former club, grubbered a kick on the blindside and Cheyse Blair reacted quickly to touch down.
With Peter Mata’utia back at centre after a two-game suspension, Blair switched to the second-row where he has proved particularly effective this year. Having managed just two tries in 18 games during 2019, it was his third touchdown in four matches this term.
Wakefield were penalised in the set from the restart and again that lapse was punished, an outstanding cut-out pass from Richardson putting winger Derrell Olpherts in.
Wakefield-born Olpherts, signed from Salford Red Devils, is looking a smart acquisition by Tigers and he added a second touchdown after the break.
The head to head between Olpherts on Castleford’s left and Trinity’s right-winger Tom Johnstone was an intriguing sideshow.
Johnstone returned at the start of this season from his second knee reconstruction and ran in the try which sealed Wakefield’s win over Warrington.
That was a relatively straight-forward effort, but the German-born flier is capable of very special moments and he produced one with an incredible diving finish at the corner to nose the visitors ahead for the second time.
Miller gave him the ball, but, hemmed in by two defenders on the touchline, he managed to get it down from what seemed to be an impossible situation, underlining his status as arguably the best and most exciting finisher in the competition.
There was no conversion and Castleford regained the lead before the break, through a good finish from their left-wing James Clare off Michael Shenton’s pass.
Trinity, though, levelled through a Hampshire penalty before Miller landed a drop goal on the final play of the half, which proved to be their final time they troubled the scoreboard operator. The game was in the balance at that stage, but Castleford’s second-half dominance was total. With McShane excelling, their forwards got on top, creating some room for halves Jake Trueman and Richardson to exploit and Wakefield could not cope with the speed of the hosts’ ball movement.
The lead was regained before Wakefield had second-half possession, Cas forcing a drop-out from which Clare produced another brilliant touchdown, from Shenton’s pass.
Moments later, Oliver Holmes was obstructed chasing McShane’s kick and referee James Child indicated a penalty try.
He was overturned by video assistant Tom Grant, but Wakefield substitute James Batchelor was sin-binned for a professional foul and Richardson took the two. Holmes, in his 200th Tigers appearance, wasn’t to be denied soon afterwards when he darted over from a kick by Richardson, then Olpherts got on the end of a lovely passing move from left to right, to open a 15-point lead.
Wakefield conceded the first six penalties after half-time, were placed on a team warning and reduced to 12 again with 12 minutes left when Romain Navarrete was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.
The only other scoring came through Richardson’s second penalty goal – to go with two conversions – in the final moments.
Castleford Tigers: Rankin, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Clare, Trueman, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Griffin, Holmes, Blair, Massey. Subs Millington, McMeeken, Smith, O’Neill.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Tupou, Lyne, Arundel, Johnstone, Miller, Hampshire, Kopczak, K Wood, Tanginoa, Pitts, Ashurst, Westerman. Subs Batchelor, Tangata, J Wood, Navarrete.
Referee: James Child (Batley).
n Former Wakefield Trinity captain Jason Demetriou will succeed Wayne Bennett as head coach of South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Demetriou, 44, who spent his entire 13-year professional playing career in England and cut his coaching teeth at Keighley in 2011, was assistant to Bennett at Brisbane and followed him to Souths 12 months ago.
The Sydney club announced on Friday that Bennett, who has been succeeded as England head coach by Shaun Wane, will relinquish his job with the club when his contract expires at the end of 2021.