CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ coach Daryl Powell was delighted with his side’s resilience as they withstood a tremendous fightback from Hull KR to secure a precious 30-22 win at the KC Lightstream Stadium.
The Tigers produced near-perfect rugby as they raced into a 24-6 lead after 24 minutes but Rovers scrum-half Albert Kelly scored two tries to spark his side’s rally and Kieran Dixon and Aaron Ollett also touched down as they cut the gap to just two points early in the second half.
However, stand-off Liam Finn secured a win that keeps Castleford well placed for a top-six finish with a try eight minutes from the end.
“We’re starting great at the moment and blew Hull KR away in the first 20 or so minutes,” Powell said. “They got something off a kick and we dropped off a bit.
“The pleasing thing is we had a real tough second half to ride through and we came through it. It certainly wasn’t pretty but nobody will remember that at the end of the season.
“It was about winning today. It was a real key game for us. You could see it meant a fair bit to both teams. It was a good result for us, it’s a tough place to come.
“The start got us the result in the end but we’re looking to be a bit more consistent in games. There are a few things we need to improve on.”
It was the Ben Roberts show for the first half-hour as the Tigers’ Samoa international revelled in his switch to full-back, scoring one try and creating one for second rower Oliver Holmes.
“He started outstandingly well,” Powell said. “Full-back is a tough spot and he fatigued a bit but he looked a real threat. He fitted in there neatly.
“His best games for us have been at full-back or nine. Full-back suits his running style.”
Rovers coach Chris Chester could not hide his disappointment after watching his side suffer their first home defeat since the opening day of the season and admits it will be difficult now for them to climb out of the bottom four.
“We didn’t deserve to get anything from that,” Chester said. “We weren’t at the races in the first half. The contact was the worst I’ve seen and I told the boys they were soft in the first half.
“We improved in the second half, the contact was a lot better but you can’t gift teams 24 points.
“We had quite a bit of field position in the second half but they thought we had to score off every set. We’re massively disappointed. We had targeted this game as one we needed to win so it’s going to be fight now for the next seven rounds.
“We’ve got the quality and we’ll be getting a few bodies back over the next few weeks but we got rolled by a good Castleford side today. We weren’t aggressive or tough enough.”
Hull KR went into the game without leading scorer Josh Mantellato, who pulled out on the day of the game with a hip injury, and skipper Terry Campese limped off six minutes from the end.
“He doesn’t look too bad, the game had gone by then,” Chester said of his captain. “He’ll have a scan.”