Chase takes charge to send Castleford top

Castleford 52 Salford 20
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The Independent Online

Castleford won by enough of a margin to go top of Super League on points difference, but they were not consistently impressive against a Salford side specialising in coaching crises this season.

Nick Youngquest and Joe Arundel scored two tries apiece and Rangi Chase gave one of his virtuoso displays but the Tigers did not have to be at their best against opponents rocked by further drama in the build-up.

With their head coach, Shaun McRae, already on sick leave, his assistant and former Salford captain, Malcolm Alker, was sent home from training.

"It's an internal matter, which we will deal with in-house," said Steve Simms, the director of rugby who made that decision.

Cas looked ready to take advantage of Salford's disarray from the start, especially when they took the lead after only four minutes. Luke Patten failed to gather in a routine pass and Youngquest scooped up the loose ball to go 50 metres and score.

The irrepressible Chase was threatening to run Salford ragged and further tries seemed guaranteed to be on their way. They were, but not for Castleford, who had a self-destructive few minutes.

It started with Brett Ferres being penalised for interfering in the tackle and continued with the prolific Jodie Broughton touching down from Chris Nero's cut-out pass.

Kirk Dixon booted the restart dead and Richard Owen flung himself to keep the resultant penalty in play. He succeeded, but only in leaving the ball conveniently placed for Vinnie Anderson to score.

Cas did not get back on track until the 26th minute, when Dixon crashed over on the left wing. The Tigers then went to town with three tries in the six minutes leading up to half time.

Richard Mathers came into the line to capitalise on Chase's pass, before Arundel cashed in on Broughton fumbling a high ball. Youngquest's second came immediately before the interval from Chase's kick.

Salford started and finished the second half well, with tries from Daniel Holdsworth and Adam Sidlow. The trouble was that, in between, Cas claimed another four, the first of them from the rampaging Dean Widders. Good work by Danny Orr and Ryan Hudson than set up the young hooker, Daryl Clarke. Owen touched down from another Chase kick, before the best of the lot, started by Widders and finished by Arundel.

"You can't be unhappy with a 32-point win," said the Castleford coach, Terry Matterson. "I don't think Rangi has ever played better than he is doing."