Castleford 41-0 Catalans: Tigers heap more pressure on Catalans coach Steve McNamara
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 15/04/18 8:38pm
Castleford underlined the size of the task facing Steve McNamara as they hammered his Catalans Dragons side 41-0 to move into Super League's top four.
The Dragons avoided relegation by winning the Million Pound Game last year but are destined for another scrap to avoid the drop after a dismal start to the 2018 season.
After letting a 21-0 lead slip against Wigan last week, Catalans appeared devoid of confidence on Sunday and were duly put to the sword as Luke Gale inspired Castleford on his return from injury.
The England scrum-half laid on all three first-half tries with smart kicks and finished the afternoon with 13 points from the tee.
Paul McShane and Oliver Holmes both crossed twice for the Tigers, while Michael Shenton, James Clare and Joe Wardle each scored once in a record Super League win over the rock-bottom Dragons.
Catalans arrived in West Yorkshire with only two wins to their name and their chances of recording a first victory on the road appeared remote.
The Dragons held firm in the face of incessant early pressure from Castleford after a basic error by Jason Baitieri on his own 20 and then asked questions at the other end.
But it quickly fell apart for the French side as Gale took over.
Castleford's opening try in the 15th minute owed much to the commitment of Jake Trueman, the young full-back beating Lewis Tierney to Gale's high kick before offloading for McShane to touch down.
The Tigers were in again shortly after when Shenton rose highest to claim Gale's pinpoint cross-field kick and they made it three tries in nine minutes through Holmes.
Gale forced a drop-out and in the next set slid through a left-footed grubber that Holmes grounded under no pressure.
There was no way back for Catalans at 18-0 and a dismal first-half effort was summed up when David Mead offloaded to Tigers half-back Ben Roberts with Castleford stretched.
It got worse for the Dragons when Mead hobbled off injured and Gale rubbed salt into their wounds when he knocked over a drop goal on the stroke of half-time.
Daryl Powell joked about giving Castleford fans half of their admission money back following another poor second-half display at Huddersfield, but there was no let-up from the Tigers this week.
Tony Gigot almost got the Dragons on the board, only to knock on reaching for the line, and the Tigers went straight down the other end to score through McShane following a simple run around with Adam Milner.
Clare was next to cruise over after quick hands from Shenton, and Castleford showed the other side to their game as solid goal-line defence kept the Dragons out, Benjamin Jullien coming closest when he dropped the ball over the line.
Wardle claimed his first try for Castleford from Roberts' grubber kick and Holmes finished from Clare's offload to round off a miserable afternoon for McNamara's Catalans.