Super 8s: Castleford Tigers 45-20 Wakefield Trinity

Castleford Tigers
Castleford Tigers have lost just four of their 26 Super League games so far this season
Super 8s
Castleford Tigers (18) 45
Tries: Hardaker 2, McMeeken, Webster 4, Eden Goals: Gale 6 Drop goals: Gale
Wakefield Trinity (10) 20
Tries: Jones-Bishop, Caton-Brown, Kirmond, Jowitt Goals: Finn 6

Castleford Tigers beat local rivals Wakefield Trinity to clinch the League Leaders' Shield.

In securing the top spot in Super League they ended their 91-year wait for a top-flight title.

First-half tries from Zak Hardaker, Mike McMeeken and Jake Webster set them on their way despite scores from Ben Jones-Bishop and Mason Caton-Brown.

Greg Eden ran in, Webster scored a second-half hat-trick and Hardaker went over again as Cas cruised to victory.

The Tigers have been in scintillating form all season, recording 22 wins from their 26 league games so far to secure top spot with four games to play.

Daryl Powell's side have scored almost 200 points more than anyone else in the league as well as having the tightest defence.

Webster stars as Tigers make history

Jake Webster
Jake Webster is in his fifth season with Castleford Tigers

The visitors set out at a ferocious pace and had the hosts rattled in the first few minutes, with Liam Finn putting the first points of the day on the board with a penalty.

Hardaker went over for the Tigers' first score after a neat pass from Luke Gale before Jones-Bishop levelled the scores with Trinity's first try.

Parity was short-lived as McMeeken showed super handling to touch down before Webster extended the lead after a superb break by Hardaker.

Wakefield secured the final points of the half when Caton-Brown charged over to get his side back in the game.

Danny Kirmond's try for Chris Chester's side stunned the hosts at the start of the second half as Wakefield moved within two, but they responded quickly through Greg Eden's 38th try of the season and Webster's second of the game after Max Jowitt had kicked out on the full.

Webster went over twice more either side of Gale landing a drop-goal to put the match firmly out of Trinity's reach with just over 10 minutes to play.

Jowitt went over for the visitors but, fittingly, Castleford had the final say as Hardaker touched down after a quick breakaway.

Analysis

BBC Sport's Matt Newsum

There will have been a sense of double sweetness for Cas as the triumph came against local rivals Wakefield, who twice relegated them in late-season encounters in 2004 and 2006.

The silverware they lifted under the Jungle lights, cruelly dubbed 'The Hubcap' by some league fans, might not rival the big Grand Final prize but it is a reward for consistency - a hallmark of Castleford's play throughout 2017 with 22 wins and four defeats from their 26 Super League games so far.

Cas have had 't'lane' rocking this season, with a team honed by head coach Daryl Powell scoring an impressive 142 tries with an open, attacking brand of rugby league befitting the old nickname 'Classy Cas'.

Free-scoring winger Greg Eden and England half-back Luke Gale are the more obvious stand-out names, but the success has equally been built on largely unsung aspects such as Paul McShane's dynamic dummy-half play and the pack of ball-handling, hard-tackling forwards such as Grant Millington, Adam Milner and Mike McMeeken.

The big challenge for Cas now is to achieve their full potential, taking their week-to-week consistency and applying it to the knock-out football that the play-off semi-finals will bring - in the race for an Old Trafford Grand Final appearance.

Castleford coach Daryl Powell told Sky Sports:

"It's fantastic. For us, a group of people who have worked so hard from pre-season all the way through to be in this position. Four games (are) left for us and we got the job done.

"It's just an awesome feeling. It's a good news story for rugby league, I think the people there, the supporters, have been awesome all year and the boys have been superb.

"That's what teams are about. Everyone has played their part. The boys are doing their job and it's crucial that you recognise that everyone has been a part of it. My coaching staff are unbelievable people, outstanding at what they do."

Castleford: Hardaker, Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden, Roberts, Gale, Millington, McShane, Sene-Lefao, O. Holmes, McMeeken, Massey.

Replacements: Lynch, Milner, Moors, Foster.

Wakefield: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Caton-Brown, B. Tupou, Miller, Finn, Fifita, Hadley, England, Ashurst, Kirmond, Arona.

Replacements: Williams, Huby, Annakin, Hirst.

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