IN TERMS of responses, this was as emphatic and fulsome as they come from Castleford Tigers.
They had fully eight days to stew over a woeful home defeat to St Helens and were left in no uncertain terms by Daryl Powell they needed to at least rediscover some character last night.
They did more than that; the ruthless side were 22-0 ahead at Hull KR after just 18 minutes having utterly destroyed their stunned hosts.
Admittedly, in that early period, Rovers were as shambolic as Castleford were unforgiving.
Indeed, as their brittle defence broke time and time again, their own coach Tim Sheens must have wondered if this really was essentially the same team that had fought so hard to stun Wigan 24-8 only a week before.
Castleford did not truly have to work too hard for their dominance although the hosts did eventually put up some fight.
The visitors welcomed back Greg Eden – on his 100th Super League appearance – and Joe Wardle from injuries with the former particularly enjoying his return.
He may have been Super League’s top-tryscorer from the wing last season but Eden became the latest player to attempt to cure Castleford’s problem full-back slot and he thrived in what is known to be his favoured position.
Eden created the opening try for Kieran Gill with a lovely cut-out pass as early as the sixth minute and soon after slalomed through some static Rovers defence to score himself after picking up a loose pass. He was assured under the high ball and regularly chimed into the attacking line to make sure Powell – who signed Halifax full-back Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e on Thursday – has plenty to ponder.
Jamie Ellis, the stand-off who helped Rovers earn promotion last term, also had plenty of positive moments working off the back of an excellent pack effort and finished with five goals.
As their brittle defence broke time and time again, their own coach Tim Sheens must have wondered if this really was essentially the same team that had fought so hard to stun Wigan 24-8 only a week before.Dave Craven
Arguably, though, it was 22-year-old Gill who proved the story of the night on the day it was announced Castleford had taken an option to extend the contracts of him and fellow winger Tuoyo Egodo until the end of 2019.
It was almost a year to the day that Gill, an Academy product who hails from Lock Lane, ruptured his cruciate ligament after scoring a try on his Tigers debut in the win over St Helens.
He has had to battle hard to recover from that.
However, with Greg Minkin now injured, Eden switched to No 1 and Garry Lo having left the club, he finally got his chance last night in his first game for Castleford since that debut of such mixed emotions.
Gill certainly took it as he added a second try from Ellis’ long pass and, aside from one glaring fumble, generally adapted well to the higher level.
Ellis had set in motion Castleford’s third try, too, with a perfectly-timed pass that sent Alex Foster over untouched.
Matt Cook had no right to score from close range when they made another handling error but the former KR forward did just that. Sheens’ side did not even gain possession in Castleford’s 20m area until Ryan Shaw scored in the 32nd minute.
However, that was quickly rubbed out as Ellis sent Foster clear once more and Michael Shenton finished off a glorious team try for a 28-4 interval lead.
Jy Hitchcox added another on the hour mark after a fine assist from Shenton.
Chris Clarkson’s try and Shaw’s second were not even consolations for Rovers. Instead, Hitchcox added his second off a kick from McShane in his 200th Super League game as Castleford claimed the Roger Millward Trophy and replaced Hull FC in fourth.
Hull KR: Quinlan; Shaw, Salter, Vaivai, Moss; Lee, Blair; Kavanagh, Smith, Greenwood, Clarkson, Tickle, Donaldson. Substitutes: Masoe, Scruton, Atkin, Walne.
Castleford Tigers: Eden; Gill, Foster, Shenton, Hitchcox; Ellis, Trueman; Watts, McShane, Cook, Wardle, McMeeken, Milner. Substitutes: Millington, Holmes, Massey, Sene-Lefao.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).