Salford Red Devils 4-23 Castleford Tigers

The Red Devils fell to their sixth straight defeat at the hands of league leaders Castleford Tigers in their first home game for over a month.

Ian Watson’s side now sit 6th in the Super League Super 8s trailing Wakefield, who currently sit in 4th, by two points. As for Castleford, they have all but confirmed their status as league leaders unless a huge mathematical swing in the upcoming weeks should happen.

Watson had to make a last-minute change to his side as Tyrone McCarthy pulled out with a calf injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Craig Kopczak.

Castleford took the lead early on as some clever play from acting half-back Paul McShane allowed Zak Hardaker to dive over the line from close-range. Luke Gale converted.

But, Salford looked to have hit back through Manu Vatuvei however video referee Ben Thaler disallowed the try after Ryan Lannon was adjudged to have obstructed the Castleford defence in the build-up.

The Red Devils had a lot of pressure on Castleford’s line but couldn’t make it prove dividend and the Tigers soon made Salford pay. Jy Hitchcox’s jinking run from hooker caught the Red Devils off guard and Hardaker was in support to slice through the Salford defence and race 30 metres to extend the visitors lead. Luke Gale converted.

Again, Salford applied pressure to Castleford’s line in the closing stages of the first half but couldn’t manage to get over the line but they did get on the scoreboard two minutes into the second half.

An accurate low kick from Todd Carney got in-behind the Tigers defence and home debutant Manu Vatuvei was on hand to plant the ball down. Unfortunately, Carney couldn’t add the extras.

Ian Watson’s side were on top in the opening 20 minutes of the second half with both Kris Brining and Lannon being held-up over the line before Lannon was denied again by video referee Thaler.

Castleford again made Salford pay when they crossed on the 60th minute mark. McShane, who was instrumental in the Tigers first try, again jumped from acting half-back and jinked his way over from close-range.

And, the Tigers sealed the victory a few minutes later through Hitchcox. Hardaker made an initial break before Robert Lui looked to have tackled Gale however the half-back managed to get the ball back to Hardaker who threw a looping pass to the Australian winger who went over in the corner.

Salford continued to look for another try but it just wasn’t to be for the Red Devils and a late Gale drop-goal finished the scoring for the evening.

Red Devils: Evalds, Johnson, Jones, Bibby, Vatuvei; Lui, Carney; Walne, Tomkins, Hauraki, Murdoch-Masila, Lannon, Kopczak.

Interchanges: Griffin, Brining, Krasniqi, Murray.

Castleford: Hardaker, Monaghan, Webster, Minikin, Hitchcox; Roberts, Gale; Millington, McShane, Sene-Lafao, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey.

Interchanges: Milner, Springer, Cook, Foster.

Referee: Chris Kendall. Video referee: Ben Thaler.

Attendance: 2811.