Daryl Powell's Castleford continued their march towards the title
Salford Red Devils 12 Leigh Centurions 6
Salford’s Gareth O’Brien climbed off his sick bed to preserve the Red Devils unbeaten 34 year home record against Leigh.
O’Brien’s dramatic drop goal in last season’s “million pound” game at Hull KR sealed Salford’s Super League survival.
And O’Brien came to the rescue again with plucky Leigh, bidding to avoid a fourth successive defeat, were level 6-6 with 13 minutes left.
Then O’Brien took a pass from man of the match Robert Lui to scythe through the Leigh defence for the decisive try with skipper Michael Dobson tagging on the conversion.
Second placed Salford have now won five Super League matches in a row for the first time since 1997.
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Reds boss Ian Watson revealed: “Gaz was ill all night but put his hand up to play and had a really good dig. Rob created the try really well and we showed great resilience.”
Leigh coach Neil Jukes praised his side’s commitment but warned: “Effort alone won’t get us there and we were a bit dumb in some plays and the lads are frustrated.
“The kicking game of the Salford halves and their game management was superior.”
Salford led through a O’Brien penalty but Leigh were rewarded for their efforts when Mitch Brown latched onto a Martin Ridyard grubber kick with Ben Reynolds’ conversion making it 6-2.
Leigh lost Brown with concussion after a heavy collision and their solid defence was finally breached three minutes before the break with a determined effort by Kris Welham after smart handling by Lui, Dobson and O’Brien.
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Castleford 42 Wakefield 24
Who can stop Castleford’s relentless pursuit of a first ever Super League title?
Certainly not neighbours Wakefield, who were reduced to rubble by the Super League leaders during a horribly one-sided first half at the Jungle.
The Tigers were simply imperious during an opening 40 minutes which saw them run in six tries and establish a 36-12 lead in front of a bumper crowd of 10,349.
That beckoned the question of whether they could better the winning margin of their 66-10 demolition of Leeds in early March.
They could not, but it hardly mattered.
The result marked an eighth victory from nine games and the first half was characterised by the style and panache that so typifies Daryl Powell’s side.
Castleford powered their way to victory
Head coach Powell said: “At half-time, we were obviously well in front and we wanted to come up with a tidy second half, but it just didn’t happen.
“Ultimately, it’s about getting the two points and I’ve got to be happy with that.
“If we had put together a second-half performance, it could have been a really tough day for Wakefield.
“Actually, it will be probably be good for us to have a little kick up the backside. We’ll move onto St Helens on Monday now and try and make it a really massive Easter for us.”
After Wakefield prop David Fifita barrelled his way over in the third minute, Castleford responded by taking their visitors to the cleaners.
In the ninth minute, stand-off Ben Roberts swapped passes with Mike McMeeken and darted through a gap to finish off a slick move.
Two minutes later, Castleford underlined their welcome habit of posting back-to-back tries as Roberts was again the provider to send Jake Webster over the line.
The Tigers were dominant and, after England scrum-half Luke Gale booted a fine 40-20, Oliver Holmes went over for a third home score.
The quality of Castleford’s bench said much for the depth of squad that Powell has assembled.
Forwards Grant Millington, Jesse Sene-Lefao and Junior Moors came on in the first half to wreak havoc while former England star Rangi Chase was introduced in the final quarter.
Millington claimed Castleford’s fourth and fifth tries within the space of seven first-half minutes and Webster similarly completed a brace as the interval approached.
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Wakefield claimed further tries either side of half-time through Bill Tupou and Fifita again before Castleford produced a fine move which led to Greg Eden diving over in the left corner for their first points of the second half.
The winger now has 12 Super League tries this season and is the competition’s leading scorer before Ben Jones-Bishop claimed a late consolation for Wakefield.
Trinity head coach Chris Chester admitted: “We’re not the first club to come here and get 40 points put past them.
“Castleford are a great side and Daryl has made them very hard to stop with the amount of shape they throw at you. Classy Cas is their nickname and they are a joy to watch at times – just not today.”
Wigan powered their way past St Helens
Wigan 29 St Helens 18
Reigning champions Wigan earned a thrilling 29-18 home win over sworn enemies St Helens, who played for 67 minutes with 12 men.
The game was scoreless when prop Kyle Amor was sent off for a high tackle on Liam Marshall before Mark Percival kicked Saints in front.
Joe Burgess’ try gave Wigan a half-time lead only for Morgan Knowles to level.
But two tries from Marshall, another from Liam Farrell and Burgess’ second eased the hosts clear despite replies from Regan Grace and Tommy Makinson.
Wigan boss Shaun Wane said: “I’m not really bothered how we play in a game like that, we just wanted to get two points. Lots of credit needs to go to St Helens, who had a real dig at us.”
The Warriors, meanwhile, yesterday handed France full-back Morgan Escare a new contract that will keep at the DW Stadium until at least the end of the 2020 season.
Escare kicked four goals and a drop goal in the win over Saints to take his points tally so far to 69 in 10 appearances.
The close-season signing from Catalans said: “I’m really happy here at Wigan and feel at home. The fans, players and coaching staff have been great with me and I am really enjoying it here.”
Salford made it five Super League wins in a row with a hard-fought 12-6 win over Leigh thanks to tries from Kris Welham and Gareth O’Brien.
Leeds thumped Hull 52-24 with seven Rhinos players getting on the scoresheet, including Joel Moon with a brace.