CASTLEFORD Tigers bounced back from their first defeat this season at Bradford by running in 10 tries in a 56-16 victory over Crusaders that lifted them to second place in Super League.
Winger Kirk Dixon piled up 24 points with two tries and eight goals as the Tigers totally dominated against indisciplined Crusaders, who slumped to their sixth straight defeat.
The Welsh team trailed 22-0 at half-time after paying dear for having three players sin-binned in the first half and that margin was doubled before they finally got on the board themselves.
Close-season signings Willie Isa, Nick Fozzard and Martin Aspinwall were in Castleford’s starting line-up for the first time, while Crusaders gave a debut to former Leeds and Hull utility player Jordan Tansey. He replaced winger Rhys Williams, who has been recalled from his loan spell by Warrington.
Crusaders were the first to threaten when Gareth Thomas’ powerful run took them close. They were thwarted when Adam Milner gathered Michael Witt’s neat kick.
The Tigers went ahead after five minutes when a swift cross-field move by Rangi Chase, Danny Orr and Richie Mathers set up a try for Dixon, who added a touchline conversion.
Dixon nearly scored again five minutes later but was halted inches short after Orr’s high kick struck a post and the ball was scooped up by Fozzard.
The Tigers had a let-off when Stuart Reardon had an effort ruled out after taking a pass from Tony Martin, who was adjudged to have put a foot in touch after he collected Witt’s kick.
Castleford wasted a chance when former Crusaders winger Nick Youngquest burst clear but threw out a wild pass when he had players in support.
The first half was marred by an 18th-minute brawl that saw Crusaders duo Vince Mellars and Witt and Castleford’s Youngquest sin-binned.
The Tigers capitalised on their numerical advantage by doubling their lead shortly before the Crusaders pair returned to the field.
Substitute Paul Jackson was held up over the line after making a storming run before 18-year-old Daryl Clark caught the visitors napping by forcing his way over from acting half close to the line.
Crusaders were then reduced to 12 again in the 34th minute when full-back Schifcofske was sin-binned for kicking a spare ball onto the pitch in an apparent attempt to slow down play when the Tigers were in possession.
The Tigers immediately made the most of the extra man when Mathers and Joe Arundel made the opening for Dixon’s second touchdown.
While Crusaders were still a man down, Castleford made it 22-0 shortly before half-time when substitute Dean Widders forced his way over for a try and Dixon kicked his third goal.
Dixon was denied his third try early in the second half when he touched down Chase’s kick at the corner but was ruled to have knocked on.
However, it was only temporary respite for Crusaders who were soon under the cosh again.
Youngquest’s superb break created Clark’s second score before Chase sent in Brett Ferres.
Isa and Mathers then scored their first tries for the Tigers before Crusaders finally got a look in with Stuart Reardon’s 65th-minute touchdown.
Mellars and Martin added late tries for the visitors and Schifcofske kicked two goals but Crusaders finished well beaten as the Tigers rounded off the rout with tries from Youngquest and Arundel.
To complete a successful afternoon for the Tigers, there was no repeat of the homophobic chanting aimed at Thomas 12 months ago which had earned them a £20,000 fine.