Super 8s: Salford Red Devils 4-23 Castleford Tigers
|Betfred Super League - Super 8s|
|Salford (0) 4|
|Castleford (12) 23|
|Tries: Hardaker 2, McShane, Hitchcox Goals: Gale 3 Drop-goal: Gale|
Two tries from Zak Hardaker helped Super League leaders Castleford to a comfortable victory at Salford.
Paul McShane set up Hardaker to go over early on, before the full-back ran in his second try from 30 metres out.
Manu Vatuvei grounded Todd Carney's kick for Salford after the break, but McShane went over from dummy-half to restore Tigers' advantage.
Jy Hitchcox crossed after good work from Luke Gale and Hardaker, before Gale kicked a late drop-goal.
The final scoreline flattered Castleford, who held strong under intense pressure from Salford in the second half before McShane's score put them back on top.
Vatuvei and Ryan Lannon had tries ruled out on review for the hosts, while Lannon and Craig Kopczak were held up over the line by the Tigers' resilient defence.
Salford remain sixth in the Super League table, still two points outside the top four with two games left to play in the Super 8s phase.
Castleford are virtually guaranteed to finish in first place, with their advantage over second-placed Leeds now 10 points.
Salford head coach Ian Watson:
"We were knocking on the door but we needed to turn opportunities into tries. We just couldn't manage that and that's credit to Castleford.
"In the first half we got some rough calls - I don't know how Manu Vatuvei's try which was disallowed wasn't given.
"We looked a bit more dangerous and if we stick with that effort going forward we will learn. We are missing a bit of know-how and need to be ruthless in our defence."
Castleford head coach Daryl Powell:
"Once we got control of our game and started maintaining possession we were fine.
"We had to work so hard defensively which was crucial because of the way we started the second half.
It was a tough team performance but Zak Hardaker did some special things. Paul McShane was superb and Jy Hitchcox has been a real bonus for us."
Salford: Evalds; Johnson, Bibby, Jones, Vatuvei; Lui, Carney; Walne, Tomkins, Hauraki, Murdoch-Masila, Lannon, Kopczak.
Replacements: Griffin, Brining, Krasniqi, Murray
Castleford: Hardaker; Monaghan, Webster, Minikin, Hitchcox; Roberts, Gale; Millington, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey.
Replacements: Milner, Springer, Cook, Foster.
Referee: Chris Kendall