Would Wakefield Trinity halt the all-conquering Castleford Tigers as they travelled to the Mend-a-Hose Jungle for a top six clash with the league leaders. With Salford and Leeds playing later the day, the home side were looking to go four points clear at the top, but the visitors had a chance of finishing round nine in second place if they could get the win.
The big question on everyones lips was whether a resurgent Trinity would have the defence and fire power to halt the Tigers charge for the minor premiership and ultimately Old Trafford. Just to add to the interest the two teams were also playing for the Adam Watene Trophy.
There was an early blow for Trinity who lost Bill Tupou in the second minute with a head knock but it didnít instantly effect them as within a minute David Fifita collected a speculative Sam Williams high kick to go over in the left corner. Williams added the extras for an early Trinity lead.
On eight minutes the home side were level thanks to a Ben Roberts solo effort from twenty metres which saw him wrong foot the Trinity defence to dive over. Gale kicked the conversion to square the scores.
Trinity failed to keep the kick-off on the playing surface and Castleford took full advantage marching down field. On eleven minutes Jake Webster took a short pass and stepped past the Wakefield defence to give the Tigers the lead. With Gale adding the conversion it was 12-6.
On eighteen, Luke Gale kicked a 40-20 which was followed by a quick penalty under the sticks for holding down. After running the tap, Oliver Holmes took a short ball and summersaulted over the line to ground from fifteen metres. Gale slotted over the extras for 18-6. After the shaky start it was normal service resumed for the Tigers
Twenty seven minutes were on the clock when Grant Millington took a short pass to go a couple of metres to drop over the line. Gale was again accurate with the boot and it was looking like it might be a long afternoon for Trinity.
Just after the half hour, Bill Tupou caught a last tackle high ball from Williams just short of the Tigers line which then allowed the big centre to step over the line to ground. Williams threaded the ball between the uprights for 24-12.
It was end-to-end stuff when Grant Millington got his second of the afternoon thanks to an inside ball which allowed him to step off both feet and go under the sticks. Gale converted again for 30-12 with five more minutes still to play in the first half.
Two minutes later and the Trinity defence opened up for a Gale run. As he neared the line he passed inside to Webster who went under the sticks for his second, giving Gale another simple conversion for 36-12 at the interval.
It took thirteen minutes for the second half deadlock to be broken. The Tigers had just been denied a try for a forward pass and Wakfield moved the ball downfield with Fifita coming in on the angle, changing direction as he took the pass, and ghosted past the Castleford defence. Williams added the extras.
On sixty-two the Tigers got their first of the second half when Greg Eden was on the end of a right to left passing move to score on the overlap by the corner flag. Gale converted from the touchline for 42-18. The scoring rate had slowed but the Tigers still looked in full control.
Five minutes from time and Ben Jones-Bishop scored an outstanding one-handed try by the right corner flag to further narrow the losing margin.
The Tigers seemed to ease off the gas in the second half, perhaps conserving some strength for the battles ahead. The game was won and well beyond a Wakefield fightback but will have disappointed some of the home support who were looking for another sixty plus point haul. Wakefield tried and had some good creative periods but were by far the weaker side on the afternoon. The Tigers juggernaut ploughs on. Liam Finn kicked the extra two for a final score of 42-24.
Hardaker, Monaghan, Webster (2T), Minikin, Eden (T), Roberts (T), Gale (7G), Lynch, McShane, Springer, Holmes (T), McMeeken, Milner. Subs: Sene-Lefao, Moors, Millington (2T), Chase.
Grix, Jones-Bishop (T), Arundel, Tupou (T), Johnstone, Miller, Williams (3G), Fifita (2T), Wood, Allgood, Ashurst, Kirmond, Arona. Subs: Finn (G), Hadley, Huby, England.