Match analysis: Paul McShane the star man as Castleford Tigers book semi-final place
THE RUMOUR mill suggests Daryl Powell’s first order of business as Warrington Wolves coach will be to take his current Castleford Tigers hooker Paul McShane with him.
The reigning Man of Steel proved his value, yet again, with an outstanding player-of-the-match performance in Tigers’ 19-18 Betfred Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Salford Red Devils.
McShane’s dummy-half pass set up Dan Smith for Tigers’ first try and he created a touchdown for Michael Shenton with a brilliant break and offload.
Then, having been in the thick of the action over the 80 minutes, McShane charged down Kevin Brown’s attempted drop goal at the start of extra-time, managed to gather the ball and set up possession and territory for Gareth O’Brien’s golden point winning kick.
O’Brien was the sudden-death hero for the second successive round.
At Hull KR, Tigers scored on the final play of the 80 to level the scores, but this time the roles were reversed, Lee Mossop crashing over 12 seconds from time and Harvey Livett adding an equalising conversion after the hooter.
Shenton’s try on the hour had edged Cas ahead at 18-12, but O’Brien and then Liam Watts were sin-binned, for taking out a player off the ball and a late tackle respectively and they were down to 11 men briefly as Salford threw everything at them.
O’Brien returned before Mossop’s try, but Watts played no further part in Tigers’ 19-18 victory which sets up a semi-final with Warrington on June 5.
Tigers will need to be smarter to go all the way in the competition, but their desire and effort can’t be faulted.
Salford made too many mistakes, but led 6-0 and 12-6, Livett touching and converting both times, either side of Smith’s score.
Peter Mata’utia’s try and Danny Richardson’s second conversion, at the end of the first half, levelled matters and O’Brien added a goal from the touchline after Shenton had crossed.
Castleford Tigers: Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Turner, Trueman, Richardson, Griffin, McShane, Massey, Holmes, Millington, Milner. Subs Watts, Smith, Martin, O’Brien.
Salford Red Devils: Sarginson, Sio, Watkins, Livett, Williams, Lolohea, Brown, Mossop, Addy, Ikahihifo, Greenwood, Pauli, Taylor. Subs Lannon, Burke, Atkins, Ormondroyd.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).
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