Castleford Tigers: Challenge Cup final talking points
Castleford Tigers are licking their wounds after losing another major final.
Tigers led 12-6 against St Helens at half-time in the Betfred Challenge Cup showpiece, but couldn’t get a foothold in the second half and were beaten 26-12.
Here are five talking points from an exciting - if disappointing, for Tigers - afternoon at Wembley.
1: James Roby’s try. The Saints captain’s score just after half-time was a blow from which Tigers never recovered. It could possibly have been ruled out for a knock-on, the ball being in touch or Saints’s Regan Grace jumping from outside the field of play to keep the move alive, but video official Chris Kendall confirmed referee Liam Moore’s initial call of ‘try’. That was tough on Tigers and if Moore had gone the other way it probably wouldn’t have been given, but it’s not why Cas lost. It didn’t give Saints the lead and there was still plenty of time for Cas to respond.
2: On the back foot. What the try did was give Saints momentum which they never looked like relinquishing. From that moment, they took a grip on the game and though Tigers didn’t go two scores behind until the final 10 minutes, they offered very little on attack and when they did get forward, Saints’ defence was too good.
3: Penalties. The count was three-one in Tigers’ favour in the first half and five-one to Saints after the break. Whether that was the cause of their dominance or a reflection of it is a matter of opinion, but it meant Castleford had too much defending. In hot conditions, Saints being carried upfield was the last thing Tigers needed.
4: Niall Evalds. Only the 11th player to win the Lance Todd Trophy on the losing team, the full-back had a superb game. It was his third final in as many seasons and, finally, Castleford have found their replacement for Zak Hardaker.
5: Daryl Powell’s legacy. It was probably the coach’s last chance to win some silverware with Tigers, but he will leave a positive legacy when he joins Warrington Wolves at the end of this season. Three finals in eight years is a record most clubs would envy and Powell has turned Castleford from no-hopers into a team to be respected.
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