Castleford proved nigh-on unstoppable as they crushed a shell-shocked Warrington 40-6 to move up to second in the First Utility Super League.
The Tigers have been the surprise packages this season and they proved their place in the upper reaches of the table was no fluke as a much-changed side brushed past last season’s Grand Final runners-up Warrington for their eighth win of the season - just one fewer than they managed in the entirety of last term.
Michael Shenton scored a hat-trick of tries, Jonathan Clare added two, while there further scores for Jamie Ellis and Richard Owen, with Marc Sneyd adding the extras to six of his seven conversion attempts.
Warrington, whose only score came through Michael Monaghan’s converted try, have now lost five of their opening 10 matches and appeared to wilt as the match wore on with Castleford seeming much fresher as they completed an Easter weekend double.
Tigers coach Daryl Powell was less than impressed despite his side beating local rivals Wakefield on Good Friday, and was vindicated by making a number of changes.
Nine-try top-scorer Justin Carney was among eight players rested, while the entire forward pack was changed, although Cas did have strong options off the bench.
By contrast, Warrington made just one change from the side that beat Widnes, with Kevin Penny coming in for Chris Bridge for his first appearance in Super League since 2009.
The winger almost made an immediate impression when he found himself clear on the left but he was magnificently hauled into touch by Owen.
Cas grew into the game thereafter and, after an opening of few clear-cut chances, took the lead.
After Stefan Ratchford was penalised for holding, the home side came rushing forward and were duly rewarded when Clare touched down from Shenton’s offload.
They seemed intent on increasing their lead but were hit with a sucker-punch when Monaghan charged down a loose kick from Sneyd to score.
However, the Tigers responded magnificently and two converted tries from Shenton gave them an 18-6 lead.
The centre reacted quickly to outpace Rhys Evans and get the final touch to Sneyd’s delicate grubber before bundling his way over after Frankie Mariano had initially pierced the Warrington defence.
The Wolves were once again exposed on the right as Cas extended their lead on the resumption.
The move started when Jordan Tansey carried the ball 60 metres after Warrington centre Evans had knocked on, with the visitors unable to regroup as Clare crashed over.
Any hope of a comeback seemed lost when Jamie Ellis exchanged passes with Weller Hauraki before touching down as Cas extended their lead to 22 points. Still, they kept coming forward and took advantage of some limp defending from Warrington at the end, with Owen diving over before Shenton completed his hat-trick after bursting through a gap to complete a memorable win.
Castleford Tigers: Tansey, Owen, Gibson, Shenton, Clare, Sneyd, Ellis, Lynch, Milner, Wheeldon, Mariano, Webster, Massey. Subs: Huby, Millington, Hauraki, Clark.
Warrington Wolves: Russell, J. Monaghan, R. Evans, Atkins, Penny, O’Brien, Ratchford, Hill, M. Monaghan, Asotasi, Waterhouse, Laithwaite, Harrison. Subs: Higham, Currie, England, B. Evans.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (Mirfield).