Castleford Tigers ended their regular season in disappointing fashion when they sank to a heavy 44-6 defeat to Warrington Wolves at a soggy Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
The loss could have been heavier as the visitors had a couple of tries disallowed and missed with five kicks at goal.
Castleford kept plugging away, but lacked cohesion in attack and came up against a Wolves side at their best despite having thoughts of a Challenge Cup semi-final next weekend.
A shocking first half saw the Tigers trailing 30-0 after what could go wrong did go wrong.
It probably stemmed back to a key incident after just three minutes when Luke Gale sent a looping pass out wide to Justin Carney 10 metres from the visitors’ line. The Australian winger was not able to squeeze over in the corner, but in back play Gale was flat out on the floor following an apparent late tackle by Ben Westwood.
No penalty followed and although Gale carried on for a while had to go off with a head injury and Cas badly missed his half-back play for the rest of the half.
Warrington took the lead on seven minutes after more controversy as Joel Monaghan was awarded a try after chasing Richie Myler’s grubber kick although Luke Dorn looked to have got across to boot clear.
Daryl Clark was denied a try on his first return to Cas in a Wolves shirt when ruled to have knocked on over the line, but the respite was not for long as Westwood went over soon after for a try goaled by Gareth O’Brien.
Stefan Ratchford was held up over the line as the visitors exerted more pressure, but from the next play Mike McMeeken fumbled Myler’s kick and O’Brien scooped the ball up to score a try he converted.
Cas looked to hit back and had a better spell during which Liam Finn’s kick forced a drop-out. But there was more misery when Gene Ormsby raced 60 metres to score after picking up a loose ball and getting away with seemingly tackling Dorn without the ball.
Two more tries just before half-time extended the Wolves’ lead as Monaghan then Ben Currie took advantage of some sharp passing.
Warrington went close early in the second half when Mongahan took a high kick and forced his way over the line only to be judged to have lost the ball in the act of grounding it.
Tigers then exerted some pressure and another Finn kick forced a drop-out, but their attacking play lacked a cutting edge and it was the visitors who scored again as Ratchford collected an O’Brien high kick that was allowed to bounce in the endzone.
More pressure came to nothing for the Tigers with Ryan Boyle going close and McMeeken held up over the line
Warrington scored again on 66 minutes as O’Brien’s smart pass sent Sam Wilde over.
Cas did have the consolation of a try eight minutes from the end when their best player on the day, Junior Moors, produced a smart finish.
Finn added the goal, but it was the Wolves who had the final word with Myler racing clear to score after Carney lost the ball in a tackle.
Scorers - Castleford: Try; Moors; goal Finn. Warrington: Tries Monaghan 2, Westwood, O’Brien, Ormsby, Currie, Ratchford, Wilde, Myler; goals O’Brien 4. .
Castleford Tigers: Dorn; Gibson, Webster, Shenton, Carney; Finn, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Millington, Holmes, McMeeken, Springer. Subs: Boyle, Cook, Moors, Roberts.
Warrington: Russell; Ormsby, Ratchford, Atkins, Monaghan; O’Brien, Myler; Hill, Clark, Sims, Westwood, Currie, Harrison. Subs: Dwyer, Asotasi, Wilde, England.
Referee: Phil Bentham.