SCORING A first-half hat-trick was the ideal way for Castleford Tigers’ retiring full-back Luke Dorn to end two months of injury frustration.
Doing it in a record 52-12 victory away to neighbours Leeds Rhinos made it even better.
Dorn crossed three times in the opening half of his first game since suffering a hamstring problem eight weeks ago – and almost immediately announced his plan to hang up his boots at the end of the season.
Despite his headline-making contribution, the 33-year-old Australian refused to take the credit for a victory Tigers fans will talk about for years to come.
“I just turned up in the right spot,” said Dorn, whose previous game was a home loss to Salford Red Devils on March 13.
“Our forwards were outstanding.
“They knew they had to go to Leeds and step up.
“Mikey [McMeeken] on the right edge, Junior [Moors] on the left, they were fantastic.
“If we can continue these performances it’s really good for our game.”
Dorn also paid tribute to Luke Gale, who he feels is developing into one of First Utility Super League’s best half-backs.
“He’s fantastic,” he said of his former Harlequins team-mate. “I love playing with Galey.
“When they brought him down to London we had a really good relationship and played some good footy.
“Although we didn’t win as many games as we did when we came to Cas, we still played some good stuff.
“We’ve always had a good understanding between each other and can play pretty hot at times and do things off the cuff.”
Dorn believes Gale, a Rhinos academy product who was called into the England squad last year, is still improving and he added: “He’s just been outstanding. He just looks like a free spirit who does what he wants, but now he’s also got that other side of things – control.
“Any half-back worth his salt will develop that and he’s started to get that. It’s turning him into a great half-back.”
Thursday’s victory, which was Tigers’ highest score at Headingley, lifted them to sixth in Super League.
With players beginning to come back from injury, Dorn reckons Cas can push up towards the top-four – and give him the perfect farewell when he returns to Australia at the end of the season, following 11 years in England.
“It takes a bit of heat off the younger guys, who have been fantastic,” Dorn said. “Without your senior players, you can do it for a little while – which our boys have done – but then, eventually, it just takes its toll.
“We haven’t been able to rotate people around which Powelly [coach Daryl Powell] has been good at in seasons past.
“He has been good at giving guys a rest, but he has not able to do that this year. But with guys coming back in now, Jake [Webster] got a rest on Thursday and then he’s good next week. Hopefully we’ll get Benny Roberts back in next few weeks and then Frankie Mariano and our team starts to look completely different and we’re building towards that.”`