Ranking the best five games of Daryl Powell’s Castleford tenure

Every rugby league fan now knows that Daryl Powell will be moving to Warrington at the end of 2021.

But, in his eight-and-a-half years at Castleford, the former Featherstone and Leeds boss has won some incredible games.

Which five rank as Powell’s best?

5. Castleford 49-24 Wakefield, 2013

Powell had been in charge for just one game when Castleford took on Wakefield at the 2013 Magic Weekend – it certainly was magic for the Tigers; after previously going down 37-16 at the Jungle in an embarrassing 73rd-minute finish thanks to a floodlight failure, this was sweet revenge for the Castleford faithful. Kirk Dixon crossed for four tries along with efforts from Daryl Clark, Jamie Ellis, Craig Huby, Justin Carney and Jordan Thompson. It was the start of the Tigers’ revival under Powell, but boy was it worth waiting for in the heat of the Etihad sun.

4. Wigan 4-16 Castleford, 2014

An away tie at Challenge Cup holders Wigan in the quarter-final of the 2014 competition was set to test Powell’s mettle after the Tigers had started that year like a house on fire. And, the new boss showed just how impressive he could be with a stunning 16-4 victory. James Clare and Kirk Dixon scored tries either side of the break for the Tigers before Lee Jewitt sealed victory late on with an effort that is still talked about amongst the terraces at the Jungle. THAT moment was when Castleford fans dared to dream and, indeed, they would reach Wembley that year. Incredibly, it was the first time Wigan had lost a home tie in the Challenge Cup in 28 years.

3. Castleford 25-24 St Helens, 2015

Ben Roberts and Luke Gale had plenty of dramatic moments in a Castleford shirt, but the former can take the glory for this one. It was a very close game throughout, with the lead changing hands plenty of times. St Helens looked to have sealed it as they took a two-point lead into the final moments of the game, but a penalty to Castleford gave Luke Gale a chance to level the score which he duly did, and it was moments later that the last-second drama unfolded in front of a vociferous crowd. Roberts had become a villain with just over a minute remaining, knocking on in front of his own sticks, but James Roby did exactly the same from the scrum. Castleford shifted the ball right and moved up the field until Roberts slotted through the drop-goal as the hooter sounded.

2. Castleford 66-10 Leeds, 2017

Special things were predicted of Castleford in 2017. With the likes of Luke Gale and Ben Roberts in the halves and Zak Hardaker at the back, the Tigers had set off the season superbly with a home thrashing of Leigh and a brilliant away win at Warrington. But, when Leeds came to visit in round three, nobody expected what would follow. Castleford scored a remarkable 12 tries – including a hat-trick apiece for Greg Eden and Greg Minikin – as the Rhinos were completely obliterated in a result that shocked the rugby league world to the core. Though Leeds had the last laugh in that year’s Grand Final, the Tigers had pulled off one of their greatest ever Super League triumphs.

1. Castleford 23-22 St Helens, 2017

It was inevitable that Castleford’s route to Old Trafford would be far from straightforward in 2017, despite the romp to the League Leaders’ Shield. And, against a revived St Helens under Justin Holbrook, it looked as though the Tigers’ incredible season would be cut short as Saints led 22-20 as the hooter sounded in the semi-final play-off. However, Michael Shenton was adjudged to have been pulled back by Ryan Morgan following a Luke Gale kick through. The halfback stepped up to the plate, slotting the penalty through the posts to send the game into extra-time. Then, Gale once more delivered the killer blow, dropping a goal from 30 metres as the Jungle erupted into a cacophony of noise and fans danced amongst the terraces.

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