Castleford 16-48 Hull FC: Visitors claim Super League semi-final spot
Last Updated: 23/09/17 9:26am
Hull FC secured a place in the Super League semi-finals following an eight-try 48-16 victory away to Castleford on Friday.
Lee Radford's team needed to beat the Tigers in their final Super 8s fixture to confirm their top-four spot and they did so in style with a thumping triumph at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Hull will travel to Leeds for next Friday's second semi-final, while Castleford should host St Helens 24 hours earlier unless champions Wigan defeat Wakefield by an improbable 90-point margin on Saturday.
Albert Kelly and Jake Connor scored back-to-back early tries after Castleford failed to deal with high kicks and it was virtually job done for Hull when Danny Houghton went over in similar fashion.
Debutant Tuoyo Egodo got the Tigers on the board but Jamie Shaul's scintillating long-range try underlined Hull's title credentials before Connor made it 28-6 at the break.
Egodo was celebrating a hat-trick in the early stages of the second half after quick-fire tries, only for Connor to complete his treble to end any hopes of a Castleford comeback.
The Tigers look likely to take on Saints - the only other side to beat them at the Jungle in 2017 - off the back of this heavy defeat after Carlos Tuimavave and Shaul completed the scoring.
On eight minutes, Man of Steel nominee Kelly settled any nerves that the visitors may have had by going over next to the posts.
Liam Watts was the player who created the early opportunity and next he laid on a try for Connor to give Hull the perfect start.
Hooker Houghton had already had a close-range effort ruled out when he slid over on 25 minutes from Marc Sneyd's well-weighted dab through.
Egodo, who gave up a banking career in London to try his luck in Super League, enjoyed a moment to savour after taking Mike McMeeken's pass out wide but his debut try did little to halt Hull's momentum.
Dummy-half Shaul raced in from 60 metres after finding a big gap in the Castleford defence and Connor's second pushed them out to a 28-6 lead at the break.
Castleford made a strong start to the second half and Egodo strolled in from Greg Eden's ball to a roar from the home crowd.
The Tigers fans sensed an unlikely comeback when Eden, the competition's runaway top try scorer, put Egodo over for a memorable hat-trick on debut.
However Connor silenced the Castleford supporters with his third try from another Kelly pass and Sneyd's fifth goal of the night took him past 1,000 points in Super League.
A 35-metre Sneyd penalty gave Hull a 20-point lead and final tries from Tuimavave and Shaul sealed Hull FC's semi-final place and a meeting with Leeds Rhinos next week.