Two tries from Derrell Olpherts and one apiece from Jason Qareqare, Jake Trueman, Joe Westerman and Mahe Fonua secured the win for Castleford; Jumah Sambou responded with a debut try for St Helens, while James Bell also got his first for the club
Last Updated: 22/04/22 10:55pm
A spirited display from a youthful St Helens side was not enough to deny Castleford Tigers a 30-10 victory in Friday’s Betfred Super League match at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
A Saints side featuring seven debutants fell behind with barely 40 seconds on the clock when Jason Qareqare burst down the left touchline from inside his own half to score a sensational try, yet after that some manful defending kept the Tigers at bay for a significant period of the first 40 minutes.
The resistance of the inexperienced side was eventually broken by Olpherts and Jake Trueman crossed just before the break to put Cas 14-0 up at half-time, with the former going over for a second nine minutes after the restart.
St Helens were eventually rewarded for their efforts when Jumah Sambou went over for a debut try followed by James Bell grabbing his first for the club, but further scores from Joe Westerman and Mahe Fonua put the seal on a fourth Super League win in a row for the Tigers.
Story of the game
While they narrowly fell short of their highest score against Saints, this was only the Tigers’ 10th win in 58 Super League meetings between the two sides.
After Qareqare’s early brilliance, Tigers regularly used the same supply line in the hope of further tries down Saints’ right edge. However, a combination of superb defence and wrong option final plays ensured the visitors stayed in the contest.
The home side’s pressure, though, was relentless and when rookie winger Sambou knocked on close to his own line, Cas finally made possession count after 27 minutes. This time they worked the ball to the other wing where ex-Salford man Olpherts dived in for another unconverted score.
Castleford Tigers welcomed George Lawler back into the starting XIII following a spell out injured as head coach Lee Radford named a strong matchday 17.
Jumah Sambou, Daniel Moss and Danny Hill all made their first starts for St Helens, with Lewis Baxter, Taylor Pemberton, George Delaney and McKenzie Buckley all coming off the interchange bench.
Tigers’ third try arrived five minutes before half-time, created in their own half and finished by stand-off Trueman after centre Jake Mamo’s searing break. Paul McShane took over kicking responsibility from Gareth O’Brien and improved from out wide, and only a last-ditch lunge on Qareqare denied the winger a second try before the break.
The exciting prospect, who scored on his debut against Hull FC last season and signed a new four-year contract earlier this week, was a threat every time he touched the ball. He again went close to doubling his tally shortly after the restart but was forced into touch diving for the line.
Tigers, for all their possession and experience, laboured to add further points until clicking again after 49 minutes. Olpherts was the recipient of the final pass to register his second try, but McShane failed from the tee.
Again, Cas could not impose their superiority and against the odds Saints’ youngsters threatened to make a game of it. Sambou, a product of the Woolston Golds community clubs, marked his debut with a fine finish in the corner.
Castleford Tigers: Tries – Derrell Olpherts (2), Jason Qareqare, Jake Trueman, Joe Westerman, Mahe Fonua; Goals – Paul McShane (3).
St Helens: Jumah Sambou, James Bell; Goals – Shay Martyn.
Scotland international back row Bell added a quick second and Shay Martin’s conversion made it a two-score game.
So, there was palpable relief when McShane set up a match-clinching 69th-minute try for Westerman and this time there was no way back for the visitors as Fonua added a sixth try eight minutes from time.
What they said
Castleford Tigers head coach Lee Radford
“Credit to St Helens and the enthusiasm they came with. Their last score made it a little bit twitchy there. I was worried about their fresh legs and every one of our players was holding a limb at some point in the last 20 minutes.
“To play three games in eight days is a task, but hopefully we’ve come through it okay. There is some improvement in there, but I thought mentally we attacked it with the right attitude.”
St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf
“I was really proud of their effort. I thought the effort for the whole 80 minutes was outstanding and at 18-10 we gave ourselves a chance. Some of the effort when they got themselves in trouble defensively was absolutely outstanding and that’s what we’re about.
“It was great to have those debutants there, it’s a special night for them and I thought they were a real credit to us.”
Castleford travel to France in a week’s time when they face Catalans Dragons at Stade Gilbert Brutus (7.30pm BST kick-off). The same day sees St Helens welcome Salford Red Devils to Totally Wicked Stadium (8pm).