Pictures Eddie Whitham
WARRINGTON Wolves crashed to a fourth successive defeat as they were beaten 36-16 at Castleford Tigers.
Unlike the recent reversals against Leeds, Wakefield and Huddersfield, this one was perhaps more understandable against a team running away at the top of the Super League table.
The league’s top try scorer, Greg Eden, crossed for a remarkable five tries to take his personal tally to 30 for the season – the Wolves whole team have only managed 53.
Tony Smith was forced to reshuffle his team in the absence of half-backs Kevin Brown and Kurt Gidley, which saw academy youngster Will Dagger drafted in for his debut at full-back.
Stefan Ratchford switched to the centres and Joe Westerman was named on the team sheet at seven, alongside Dec Patton.
The changes brought no change to the recent run of Wolves form, and within 20 minutes it was all but game over.
Castleford already had 20 points on the board by the time Warrington crossed for their first score, through Tom Lineham on the 20 minute mark.
It had almost become a damage limitation exercise by then, and Greg Eden’s hat-trick try sent the Tigers in at half-time 26-6 to the good.
Three minutes in to the second half, Eden had his fourth after Luke Gale had backed up a break down the middle.
His fifth came on 54 minutes to stretch Castleford’s lead to 36-6.
Warrington raillied though and responded with a try almost immediately through Joe Westerman, against the club where it all started for him.
A sin-bin for Lineham, for holding down after he had chased down a break, dented the Wolves’ revival though they managed to keep the Tigers from scoring any further tries.
Jack Hughes muscled his way over for a score on 72 minutes, to make the score 36-16.
The defeat leaves Warrington in 10th position, now two points adrift of eighth place Huddersfield who have a game in hand.
Attention now turns to next weekend’s critical Challenge Cup quarter-final at home to Wigan.
Castleford: Hardaker, Minikin, Monaghan, Shenton, Eden, Roberts, Gale, Lynch, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: Milner, Moors, Holmes, Foster.
Warrington: Dagger, Penny, Ratchford, Blythe, Lineham, Patton, Westerman, Hill, Clark, Sims, Julien, Hughes, Cooper. Subs: Dwyer, G King, Savelio, Philbin.