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Castleford 24-40 Warrington: Player ratings and major talking points

In a game that no one is going to forget any time soon, Warrington ended Castleford’s play-off hopes. The damage was done in the first 40 minutes in which the Wolves were impeccable. They stormed 32-0 ahead and looked to be cruising but a capitulation from the Wire and a superb stint from the Tigers nearly saw Castleford complete the best comeback in Super League history but it simply wasn’t to be.

Major Talking Points:

1. How to make a first impression

These two have an interesting relationship going into next season. A number of players will be swapping the Black and Amber of Cas for the Primrose and Blue of Warrington, Daryl Powell of course is also making the switch whilst Jake Mamo will be going the other way. Mamo certainly made an outstanding first impression in front of the Castleford fans scoring two superb tries and helping create another. If he was making a good impression, Powell wasn’t. Perhaps Warrington fans were wondering what he’d bring to the Wolves next year when his side were being destroyed in the first 40. Perhaps they even worried they’d made a mistake. Well his second impression – the Tigers’ second half performance – should’ve given them confidence. Whatever he said at halftime reinvigorated the Tigers, they started playing brilliant rugby and at one stage looked like making history with the league’s best comeback ever. But it wasn’t to be.

2. Which Warrington will we get next week?

The Wolves have been decidedly hot and cold in 2021 and that was true again tonight. Their first half performance was impeccable. They paired power with expansive rugby stretching the Castleford defence before rolling through the middle of the field. They looked like would be Champions and I was ready to tip them as the dark horses of the play-offs. But the second half was the complete opposite. The Wolves made errors and gave the Tigers complete control. They can’t afford to reproduce that 40 in the play-offs. Instead they need to consistently play like they did in the first period. I will say that the Wolves showed good composure in the late stages of the game as they constantly turned around the back three of Castleford forcing a number of key goal line dropouts.

3. Heart-breaking end for Castleford

It wasn’t the ending Daryl Powell would’ve penned for his time with the Tigers and tonight his decision to risk Paul McShane backfired. But the worse ending befell Michael Shenton. The Cas captain went off with a dislocated shoulder cutting his final appearance short. It was not an ending befitting of his stellar career. He deserved much more than the ending he got. Now he has to watch Leeds and Hull KR play in the play-offs instead.

Player Ratings:

1 Niall Evalds – 7
2 Derrell Olpherts – 6
3 Peter Mata’utia – 8
4 Michael Shenton – 6
25 Jordan Turner – 6
7 Danny Richardson – 6
31 Gareth O’Brien – 6
10 Grant Millington – 6
9 Paul McShane – 6
15 George Griffin – 6
17 Alex Foster – 7
21 Jesse Sene-Lefao – 7
14 Nathan Massey – 6
8 Liam Watts – 8
13 Adam Milner – 8
22 Daniel Smith – 8
24 Suaia Matagi – 8

17 Matty Ashton – 9
23 Josh Thewlis – 7
27 Connor Wrench – 8
18 Jake Mamo – 8
5 Josh Charnley – 6
7 Gareth Widdop – 8
31 George Williams – 8
8 Chris Hill – 8
1 Stefan Ratchford – 7
10 Mike Cooper – 8
11 Ben Currie – 7
12 Jack Hughes – 7
13 Joe Philbin – 8
6 Blake Austin – 7
14 Jason Clark – 7
19 Rob Mulhern – 8
26 Ellis Longstaff – N/A

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