ANOTHER STARRING performance by Paul McShane inspired Castleford Tigers to make it two wins from two in Betfred Super League after a thriller at Hull.
The hooker has started the season in outstanding form and was at the heart of Castleford’s 26-18 victory which stretched the hosts’ losing run to 13 games.
Tigers roared into a 10-0 lead after just 13 minutes, found themselves two points behind on the half hour and rallied to take a 14-12 lead into the break.
Cas extended their lead early in the second half, but Hull stuck to their guns and the visitors endured some anxious moments late on, though they scored five tries to three and deserved the two points.
Tigers looked a cut above the hosts early on, going ahead when Jake Trueman split the defence and Michael Shenton was in support to score after five minutes, McShane converting.
Jake Connor – who was superb for Hull – and Sika Manu were held up over the line soon afterwards, but Cas increased their lead on 13 as McShane grubbered through on the last and Jesse Sene-Lefao – who carried the ball strongly – reacted quickly to touch down.
Just three minutes later Connor’s kick was taken by James Clare, as he was being tackled into touch he offloaded and Mark Minichiello picked up to cut through.
Video referee Ben Thaler decided Clare had been in touch before he got the ball away, but Hull scored from the scrum when former Tiger Joe Westerman – returning from long-term injury – finished well off a clever pass by Connor and Marc Sneyd’s goal cut the gap to four.
Hull were in front 12 minutes before the break, Connor touching down from a cross kick by Sneyd who again added the extras. They went close to scoring again on 34 when the impressive Jamie Shaul made a brilliant break up the middle, but Peter Mata’utia’s ankle tap brought him to ground and Jordan Rankin forced the ball loose.
In the next set Greg Minikin was a metre away from edging Cas in front, but Josh Griffin slid him into touch. Tigers, though, went back in front on the final play of the half. Adam Milner carried them upfield then McShane, Sene-Lefao, Trueman and Rankin handled across the line and Shenton went over for his second try.
Clare got over from Mata’utia’s pass eight minutes into the second half, following back-to-back drop-outs to make it 18-12. Connor – along with referee Chris Kendall – thought he had scored on 52 minutes when he stepped through the defence, but video official Thaler ruled it out for an obstruction by Westerman on the impressive Liam Watts.
That was the pivotal moment in the game as, rather than the scores being all square, Tigers went 12 clear from the resulting penalty, Junior Moors touching down off McShane’s kick.
The hooker landed his second goal, but Hull refused to lie down and Shaul sent Jordan Lane over soon afterwards, Sneyd’s goal halving the gap.
Rankin gave Tigers some breathing space with a penalty, but Hull pressed strongly after that. Minichiello crashed into a post trying to touch down, Jordan Thompson and Connor were both held up over the line and Hakim Miloudi got across the whitewash only to knock on.
Hull: Shaul, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Griffin, Miloudi, Connor, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Matongo, Minichiello, Manu, Westerman. Substitutes: Thompson, Lane, Paea, Litten.
Castleford Tigers: Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, Foster, Massey. Substitutes: Milner, Moors, Roberts, Clark.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).
Wakefield could be without hooker Tyler Randell for two months due to a shoulder injury which requires surgery while back-row James Batchelor will also miss Sunday’s game with St Helens due to a knee injury.