Superleague: Castleford Tigers 6-24 St Helens – Club World Champions clinch domestic opener victory

Tee Ritson won a season-long loan to St Helens after 33 tries for Division Two Barrow in 2022
Castleford (0) 6
To try: broadbent Goal: width
Saint Helena (6) 24
Attempts: Welsby, Ritson, Walmsley 2 Goals: Percival 3, Lomax

St Helens began their quest for a fifth consecutive Super League title with a win at Castleford Tigers.

Winger Tee Ritson crossed on his Super League debut to extend the lead.

Cas hit back with a penalty try, given after Welsby’s high tackle denied Jack Broadbent, but Alex Walmsley tapped twice late on to seal the hit.

Those decisive tries were a fine way for England playmaker Walmsley, who lost the recent World Cup because of a foot injury, to mark his 250th appearance for Santos.

St Helens were in action on English soil for the first time since becoming the first Super League team to win a World Club Challenge match in Australia for 29 years, having edged NRL winners Penrith in extra time on points of gold.

They have been tested by Castleford, who managed the champions for much of the contest and Lee Radford’s side will have positive points despite starting the campaign with a second defeat in a row.

But they were guilty of several errors in good attacking positions, most notably in the final minutes when Bureta Faraimo had a try disallowed by the video referee because his forearm was deemed to be on the side when supporting the ball without pressure.

Santos starts defense of Superliga with victory

In addition to their significant efforts on the pitch, the Saints’ interrupted journey home – via Bangkok, Stockholm and London – lasted 53 hours.

Castleford tried to take advantage of any harmful effects with some expansive attacks early on.

The Tigers, who lost to Hull FC in the first game, twice he came close to trying within the first five minutes, but Niall Evalds failed to catch an inside pass and Mark Percival’s last-minute tackle denied Alex Mellor.

When another attack from Jake Mamo’s charge was stopped, the Saints counterattacked and England international Welsby dove under the posts for the only points of the first half.

Jonny Lomax was the architect of the try scored by Ritson, whose 33 in all competitions for Championship club Barrow last season earned him a loan spell with the reigning Super League champions.

Castleford’s hopes were raised when referee Liam Moore ruled that Welsby had illegally stopped Broadbent’s dart to the line.

But Welsby atoned for his indiscretion by setting up Walmsley, who later broke through several home defenders to secure a first Super League victory for new St Helens manager Paul Wellens.

Castleford manager Lee Radford told BBC Radio Leeds:

“In terms of opportunities, I thought we probably created enough to win two games, but that’s where we have to develop and grow as a team – to learn how to stay in that fight and show that toughness that Saints players have shown. (Super League Grand Final) rings on your fingers.

“Our focus with the ball was to finish higher to be able to shoot better, not to score every opportunity. That chip didn’t fall, unfortunately.

“We got into a little bit of space and almost forgot what to do with it.”

St Helens manager Paul Wellens told BBC Radio Merseyside:

“You can see why I consider it an honor (coaching St Helens) when you see the way they approached the game today after what they’ve been through the last seven or eight days.

“It was a phenomenal effort by the guys and I’m immensely proud of them.”

Saints’ Alex Walmsley:

“There would be no excuses if we hadn’t shown up today. We talked about what we require in terms of our standards and I thought we met them.

“The thing about this group is that we’re always looking forward. Let’s put last week to sleep, we’re very focused on the Super League right now and heading back to Old Trafford.”

Castleford: Evaldos; Mamo, Turner, Broadbent, Faraimo; Widdop, Miller; Griffin, McShane, Vete, Edwards, Mellor, Lawler.

Exchanges: Milner, Mustapha, Robb, Watts.

Saint Helen: Welsby; Ritson, Hurrell, Percival, Bennison; Lomax, Dodd; Walmsley, Lussick, Lees, Mata’utia, Bell, Knowles.

Exchanges: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Wingfield, Norman, Royle.

Judge: Liam Moore.

Leave a Comment