RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CASTLEFORD V SALFORD

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CASTLEFORD V SALFORD

by | Apr 10, 2024

It is the unpredictability in sport, especially the result, which makes it so enthralling for so many of us.  The fact that the underdog might just win is what sparks our interest, while to be there for the odd occasion when that actually happens is absolutely thrilling, as all our fans, who travelled to the Totally Wicked Stadium for our recent victory over St Helens, will testify.

Not so, however, when you happen to be the side which had been expected to win, as was the case for Salford’s fixture at the Mend-A- Hose Jungle, against Castleford, last Friday evening, which proved to be a disappointment not only for those who made the trip over, but also those who watched it on tv.

In fairness to all connected with the team, the very fact that they were actually expected to win the encounter is a great testament to the progress they have made in recent seasons.  It was not that long ago that the thought of winning any match in Yorkshire, let alone at Castleford, proved to be somewhat fruitless, but the more successful a team is the more that this sort of disappointment is likely to happen.  If it can happen to St Helens, it can happen to anyone.

There had been some little warning in the games in which the two sides were involved the previous round, but it can also be argued that the seeds for this outcome were sown back in Round 2, when an extremely similar encounter, which also saw the game swing back and forth between the two sides ended with the Red Devils running out 26-22 victors.

The Tigers had been really disappointed at this, feeling that they had done enough to have won it themselves, and probably consoled themselves by briefly earmarking the return fixture as one to look forward to.  Certainly, once they got in control in the last quarter, on Friday, they were always going to find enough energy and endeavour to try and hold on, which they managed to do.

Not that there was any sign of this through the opening fifteen minutes, when Salford swept to an eight-point lead, from Deon Cross’s try and two goals from Marc Sneyd, and they looked as though they were capable of scoring with regularity.  The sinbinning of Amir Bourouh was an impediment but could not be said to have been a turning point, as the Tigers had already given clear warning of their capability and determination, through the first of Ines Senior’s tries down the left wing.

By the time Bourouh returned, the home side, with numerical advantage, had taken charge, but there was still time for the Red Devils to hit back then and to narrow the half-time score to 14-18, with Tim Lafae’s converted try.

With the slope in their favour and a half-time discussion to spur them on, Salford really stepped up a gear with two excellent tries from Nene Macdonald and Ryan Brierley to take the score to 18-24.

Probably the really big turning point of the game was the over-ruling by both referee and video ref of Cade Cust’s attempted score on 53 mins, owing to a knock-forward in the contest for possession, prior to the grounding.  So often, we have seen in televised matches, teams, which regain possession in such circumstances, launch a counter-attack ending with a try at the other end of the pitch, and it was with Senior’s second score that Castleford started their come-back.

It was the confidence this rekindled in the home side, which was the most telling factor, allied to their sheer desperation for the win.  The difference from then on between the two sides was that Salford really wanted to win, but Castleford so badly needed it, and were determined not to let this one slip in the way that they felt they had done at Salford, back in February.

Sign up to the official newsletter