Castleford Tigers 40 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 6: Luke leading the dawning of a new era at Cas
HE MAY be approaching his 34th birthday but classy Luke Dorn showed once more there aren't many better full-backs in Super League with another stellar showing for Castleford.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, for all their obvious initial endeavour in this West Yorkshire derby, had little answer for the Australian’s guile as he continually glided into the line to cause them chaos yesterday.
He created two tries for slick winger Denny Solomona, another for Oli Holmes and added an impressive effort himself as Castleford ran riot, responding well after the disappointment of seeing Hull KR snatch a draw in the final seconds of their opening game.
Dorn was allowed to do all of this chiefly because his pack were so dominant, the likes of Andy Lynch, Grant Millington and, in particular, the marauding Junior Moors from the bench, proving relentless in their drive and defence.
Coach Daryl Powell admitted: “He looked sharp today. Dorny’s timing and skill around the back of some of our plays was high quality. Some of his decision-making was great, too, and collectively we’re a pretty strong team. There was some great individual performances in there.
“Denny Solomona’s finish for his second was just world class. I just don’t know how he got that down – but I’ve said that before. There weres some really pleasing signs from us but I think there’s plenty still to come from us as well.”
With Michael Shenton out for at least six months following the knee injury he suffered at Rovers, Luke Gale took over as captain and the scrum-half, more often than not, was the one whose passing precision also created space for Dorn to thrive.
His side already led 18-6 at half-time but should really have been further ahead.
Gale and Benny Roberts, in particular, kicked well to force three goalline drop-outs while the hosts had two tries ruled out for forward passes, Mike McMeeken and Joel Monaghan being denied. Their left-edge was especially potent with Gale looking to shift the ball to Jake Webster and Solomona as much as possible.
Wakefield, who gave debuts to former Tigers centre Ashley Gibson and ex-Batley second-row Jason Walton, had taken a sixth minute lead through Stuart Howarth who burrowed over from close range despite Castelford maintaining that the hooker failed to ground.
Liam Finn, in his 350th career appearance and first return to Wheldon Road since signing for Wakefield, converted and when Gale over-hit the restart they had an immediate chance to strike again, prop Anthony England this time being held on the last tackle.
Instead, Powell’s side responded on 13 minutes with a fortunate score, Paul McShane’s pass from dummy-half bobbling along the pitch and seeing Wakefield’s defence momentarily ease off.
Dorn didn’t dawdle; the former Manly man picked up and suddenly found Solomona in space for the New Zealander to sprint in at the corner. There was no turning back.
Gale slotted the first of his six conversions and he seemed destined to score himself, too, following a brilliant handling movement that ripped Wakefield to pieces. But Dorn’s final inside forced pass fell into the hands of Trinity’s Reece Lyne to relieve the danger.
Controversially, they did add their second try in the 26th minute when Dorn unusually fumbled a pass in the Wakefield 20 and Lyne picked up to set off downfield – only to be brought back after referee James Child spotted a late tackle on Castleford hooker Paul McShane.
Roberts continued his torment of Trinity, this time with great footwork to step over, and when Walton fumbled 20 metres from his line, the hosts struck once more just before the break.
Dorn showed all his class by slicing through to score and he did likewise just after the restart when breaking from halfway to put Holmes – the second-row who signed a new deal last week – in for their fourth.
Hooker Adam Milner exposed weak defence from Michael Sio as he benefited from yet more quality work from Moors, the big Aucklander who Trinity simply could not contain in the middle.
With Wakefield losing prop Nick Scruton to injury, life just got tougher as Dorn fed Solomona for his second, the 22-year-old producing that stunning one-handed finish for his third of the year already. Holmes showed confidence to splinter Wakefield’s defence once more for his second to leave last season’s bottom side still winless in Super League since July.
After an opening defeat to Widnes, coach Brian Smith admitted: “I knew it’d take some time to get this crew going. They’re trying hard – I felt that today – but you can’t play hard and not smart.
“We handed the ball over three times on the last play today.”
Castleford: Dorn; Monaghan, Crooks, Webster, Solomona; Roberts, Gale; Lynch, McShane, Millington, Holmes, McMeeken, Jewitt. Substitutes: Milner, Moors, Massey, Cook.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Jones-Bishop; Lyne, Gibson, Arundel, B Tupou; Miller, Finn; Scruton, Howarth, England, Kirmond, Ashurst, Arona. Substitutes: A Tupou, Sio, Anderson, Walton.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).