WARRINGTON Wolves spoiled future coach Daryl Powell’s farewell night at Castleford by beating the Tigers 40-24 and ending their play-off hopes.
Matty Ashton scored a hat-trick as the Wolves led 32-0 after 53 minutes with a fine display, only to ship four quick tries and give the hosts a sniff of a comeback.
They lost Josh Charnley to a sinbin and Mike Cooper to a red card as Castleford worked their way back in to the match, only for the ship to be steadied late on and Connor Wrench made sure of the victory with a late try.
On an emotional evening at The Jungle, with Castleford saying goodbye not only to Powell but to several players, including Warrington-bound Peter Mata’utia and long-serving Michael Shenton, the hosts had lots of ball and territory in the first half but couldn’t get through the Warrington line.
Warrington scored the first try on six minutes, Ben Currie’s offload finding Jake Mamo who put Ashton in under the posts for the first of his three.
Mamo would get on the scoresheet himself the next set and when a George Williams’ kick bounced awkwardly for Niall Evalds, the pacey Ashton nipped in to race away for his second.
The hosts were shellshocked, and with stand-in hooker Stefan Ratchford adding a penalty to three conversions, they stretched the lead to 26-0 when a kick on the last broke down for the Tigers, Mamo picked up tight to the touchline and raced 70 metres against his future club.
It was almost a role reversal to the Challenge Cup semi-final meeting between the two when Castleford led 19-0 at the break, and they needed to respond at the start of the second half.
But a poor offload by Paul McShane fell to Rob Mulhern, he drove forward and then offloaded to Ashton to run 40 metres unopposed to go under the posts again.
Castleford eventually got on the board on 54 minutes when Mata’utia scored against his future club, and he backed that up moments later with a near identical try to reduce arrears to 32-12.
Charnley was then shown a yellow card for a tip tackle on Jordan Turner, who would score his eighth try against the Wolves this season to bring them within three scorers.
And it looked like Castleford’s luck was turning shortly after the hour when Williams spilled a Gareth O’Brien kick and it landed in the gleeful arms of Grant Millington, who marked his final game in this country with a try.
But just as a miracle comeback was looking ever likely, Warrington managed to dig deep and stem the tide – despite losing Cooper to a straight red for making contact with the head of Liam Watts, who had stayed down after the tackle to ensure it was shown on the big screen.
Castleford ran out of steam and so Warrington will face either Leeds or Hull KR in next week’s play-offs.
Castleford: Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Turner, O’Brien, Richardson, Griffin, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, Foster, Massey. Subs: Watts, Milner, Smith, Matagi.
Warrington: Ashton, Charnley, Mamo, Wrench, Thewlis, Williams, Widdop, Hill, Ratchford, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Philbin. Subs: J Clark, Mulhern, Longstaff, Austin.