The strong winds at the Halliwell Jones Stadium certainly played their part as Warrington Wolves conquered Castleford Tigers 24-10 thanks to a Jake Mamo double.
Despite not being named in the initial 19-man squad, second-rower Ben Currie started his first game in ten months, Ryan Atkins and Tom Lineham were out injured, meaning that Jake Mamo and Toby King started for the Wolves
Jacques O’Neill retained his spot on the bench for Castleford after making his debut last week. Grant Millington started his three-match ban but Alex Foster returned for the Tigers as they looked to continue their unbeaten run.
The aforementioned high wind assisted Castleford in the eighth minute as Paul McShane’s kick hung up in the air, giving Michael Shenton more time to tap the ball backwards, where clinical finisher Greg Eden swooped to pick the ball up and dive over the line for an early four point lead.
That lead lasted just over ten minutes as Jake Mamo scored his first try of the season in the 21st minute. Two back-to-back penalties from Castleford allowed Warrington to march up the field. Sensing an overlap on the fourth tackle, Declan Patton missed out two players into the hands of the winger who ran in five metres to score. Stefan Ratchford was unsuccessful with the conversion and the scores were level at 4-4.
Mamo then picked up a second five minutes later. A controversial fresh set of six inside the Tigers gave the Wolves a prime chance to attack the line. Patton and Ratchford again combined on the left hand edge and Mamo dived past James Clare to dot down in the corner. Ratchford picked up his 1000th career point as he nailed the touchline conversion. A bad tackle on Bryson a few minutes before this try led to the centre having to eventually leave the field and would not return.
The Wolves then stretched their lead even further inside the final five minutes of the half. A Blake Austin kick was collected high by Mamo, who attracted three Tigers defenders, offloaded to Jack Hughes, and the big second-row come centre bamboozled the Cas players and powered over the line. Ratchford again converted for a 12 point lead as half-time loomed.
HALF-TIME: Warrington Wolves 16-4 Castleford Tigers
Castleford’s ill discipline continued in the second half as two early penalties gave Warrington the opportunity to take a shot at goal. Ratchford duly delivered to make the score 18-4.
The Tigers just weren’t at the races and Warrington’s fourth try came courtesy of Ben Murdoch-Masila who collected a short ball 15 metres out from the line and crash over the line with two Cas players on his back. Ratchford once again converted the try.
Castleford would not give up without a fight though. With just over 20 minutes of the game remaining the Tigers spread the ball to the right hand edge and Peter Mata’utia released centre Greg Minikin on the edge who then raced over the line and put the ball down. Rankin converted his attempt at goal and Warrington now lead by 12.
The next ten minutes were extremely sloppy as both sides conceded penalties and carried the ball loosely but with the Wolves still leading by 12 they looked to close the game out with brilliant kicking from Blake Austin.
With five minutes remaining Castleford were still pushing to score at least two more tries but Jack Hughes and Jake Mamo were solid on the left hand edge to stop Tuoyo Egodo breaking.
The following minute, Greg Eden broke on the opposite wing but this time it was Josh Charnley who made the tackle and force his opposite number to knock on.
Full-Time: Warrington Wolves 24-10 Castleford Tigers
MAN OF THE MATCH – Ben Murdoch-Masila:
The utility forward made a huge impact off the bench for the Wolves and led from the front. He was fully deserved of his try after creating huge gaps in the Tigers defensive line.
Stefan Ratchford, Jake Mamo, Bryson Goodwin, Toby King, Josh Charnley, Blake Austin, Declan Patton, Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Jack Hughes, Lama Tasi.
Interchanges: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Ben Westwood, Joe Philbin, Jason Clark.
Jake Mamo (2), Jack Hughes, Ben Murdoch-Masila
Stefan Ratchford (4/5)
Peter Mata’utia, James Clare, Greg Minikin, Michael Shenton, Greg Eden, Jake Trueman, Jordan Rankin, Liam Watts, Paul McShane, Junior Moors, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Chris Clarkson, Nathan Massey.
Interchanges: Alex Foster, Matt Cook, Tuoyo Egodo, Jacques O’Neill.
Greg Eden, Greg Minkin
Jordan Rankin (1/2)
Image Source: @RugbyAM