Castleford Tigers completed a year unbeaten in home matches as they came through a potentially tough match with Salford Red Devils with surprising ease, winning 38-14.
The victory meant that Daryl Powell’s men have won all their games at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle in the regular season and have now beaten every Super League team at least once in 2017.
Their unbeaten home record now goes back a full calendar year to July, 2016 against Warrington, as the achievements of 2017 keep on rolling.
The latest two points came at a cost with top scorer Greg Eden suffering a dislocated shoulder after he had added another two tries to his impressive season’s tally.
But after the Tigers were beaten by the Red Devils earlier in the season they will be pleased to have gained some revenge.
Castleford got off to the start they wanted as they went straight on the attack and Luke Gale’s kick was taken into touch by visiting winger Niall Evalds.
Nothing came of the good field position, but the Tigers did have their first points on the board in the fourth minute as Gale’s clever pass gave Greg Eden space to charge over in the left corner.
Salford replied after Eden dropped a high ball in his own half and from the following attacking set Gareth O’Brien found a gap to race through for a try that levelled the score at 4-4.
Eden came close to a second try for the hosts when he collected a high pass, but in trying to kick ahead the ball went into touch off a Salford player who was deemed to have not played at the ball.
A Paul McShane 40-20 kick kept the pressure on and although one attack ended when Michael Shenton lost the ball in a tackle and another when Shenton’s attempted pass to Eden was deflected into touch by a Salford hand they did come up with a second try.
Ben Roberts produced a strong run, holding off several would-be tacklers for a fine individual effort to which Gale added the conversion.
The next attack brought another try when fast hands and a flicked pass by Shenton gave Eden space and he dived over for his second try of the night and 37th of the season.
Gale added the goal, but the Tigers suffered a blow at the same time with Eden injuring his shoulder in the act of scoring and having to go off injured.
Evalds made a break for Salford as they looked to hit straight back, but could not get round last man Zak Hardaker and danger was averted. From the following set Michael Dobson’s kick forced a drop-out, but Cas held on and increased their lead with a Gale penalty after Jesse Sene-Lefao’s bulldozing run was ended with a high shot.
Salford did hit back this time as Robert Lui’s break was backed up by Kris Welham for a try converted by Dobson and it was 18-10 at half-time.
A key point in the match came early in the second half when Jake Bibby dropped the ball attempting to dive over in the corner, the video referee confirming no try.
Relieved Cas went straight down the other end and took advantage of their good fortune with Joel Monaghan going over after Shenton and Gale combined well in a tight space to send the winger over.
Gale added the touchline goal and was on target again five minutes later after the try of the night scored by Hardaker after he backed up Shenton’s break following a superbly times pass by Gale.
A fight broke out in back play as the full-back was scoring following a late tackle on Gale by Murdoch-Masila, but the Salford player escaped without punishment.
Salford briefly raised hopes with a try by Bibby as he spun out of an attempted tackle from Jy Hitchcox. But they were soon defending and doing well to hold up Sene-Lefao on the line.
Another big video referee decision went the Tigers’ way when Hardaker had the ball knocked out of his grasp by Welham and although Evalds raced over no try was the decision.
It was plain sailing from that point as Shenton sent Monaghan over for his second try and Gale added the conversion plus another penalty goal to make it 38-14.
Salford finished with 12 men after former Tigers player Weller Hauraki was sin-binned for a late tackle on Grant Millington and the visitors were well beaten in the end and made to pay for some big ill discipline in the second half.
Scorers: Castleford: Tries Eden 2, Roberts, Monaghan 2, Hardaker; goals Gale 7. Salford: Tries O’Brien, Welham, Bibby; goal Dobson.
Castleford Tigers: Hardaker; Hitchcox, Minikin, Shenton, Eden; Roberts, Gale; Millington, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Foster, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: Lynch, Springer, Monaghan, Larroyer.
Salford Red Devils: O’Brien; Bibby, Welham, Jones, Evalds; Carney, Dobson; Griffin, Tomkins, Murray, Murdoch-Masila, Lannon, Hauraki. Subs: Lui, Walne, Tasi, Krasniqi.
Referee: Phil Bentham