A POSSE of young guns impressed for Castleford Tigers as Featherstone Rovers were routed 56-0 in the sides’ opening pre-season game at the Jungle.
Tigers fielded half a dozen first teamers in their starting line-up – along with several fringe players and a host of academy prospects – and were too strong for a makeshift Rovers outfit who tried hard and created some opportunities, but made too many errors.
Cas punished Rovers on the edges with eight of their 11 tries being scored by wingers.
Kieran Gill grabbed the first three and when he was replaced at half-time Lewis Carr came on and completed a treble of his own.
James Clare, on the right flank, bagged a brace and centre Greg Minikin, scrum-half Jake Sweeting and full-back Callum Turner completed the haul.
The number of tries out wide didn’t make it easy for kicker Cory Aston who was successful with only one of his first six conversion attempts before landing the final five.
The visitors’ 20-man squad included six new signings, one Leeds Rhinos player – Dan Waite-Pullan – on dual-registration, four members of last season’s squad and the rest were trialists, including ex-Castleford duo Jordan Tansey and Ryan Bailey.
Bailey created the biggest cheer of the afternoon when he was sin-binned, along with Tigers’ Robbie Storey, following a skirmish just before half-time.
The veteran prop, who was among Rovers’ substitutes, was struggling with illness and got little game time.
Tansey tried to create, but had little to work with.
Aston, who had spells at stand-off and hooker, has yet to make a Super League appearance having joined Tigers a year ago following a season with Leeds, but is at home at Championship level and was at the heart of most of Tigers’ best moments.
Turner also impressed, being named official man of the match, and Tuoyo Egodo had a fine game in the left-centre. There was also a strong effort from young hooker Brad Jinks.
Aston set up Joe Wardle to send Gill in after seven minutes and Aston, Peter Mata’utia and Wardle combined to create the second try.
The third was Gill’s best. He began the move with a terrific take from Tansey’s kick on his own line, Wardle then made a break and Gill stretched over.
Clare had to wait until the final play of the half to get into the action, adding the fourth try after the ball had been tipped on by Minikin, making it 18-0 at half-time.
At the start of the second half Sweeting was offside when he touched down from a kick by Egodo, but Tansey failed to find touch with the penalty and Carr crossed from Turner’s long pass in the next set.
Minikin touched down from Sweeting’s pass; Matt Cook, Sweeting, Turner and Minikin combined nicely to put Clare over and Carr scored again off some magic by Egodo.
Sweeting capped a fine game by pouncing on an error and racing 80 metres, Turner weaved through a tired defence and his pass then sent Carr over for his hat-trick score on the final play.
Castleford Tigers: Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Egodo, Gill, Aston, Sweeting, Cook, Jinks, Clark, Wardle, Storey, Summers. Subs: Turner, Fella, Carr, Hall, Graham, Dobson, Doyle.
Featherstone Rovers: Hartley, Taylor, Hallett, Hardcastle, McDaniel, Tansey, Punchard, Cooper, Maskill, Darley, Day, Harrison, Lockwood. Subs: Beckett, Bailey, French, Hawkins, Richardson, Cranswick, Waite-Pullen.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Leigh).