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Rugby League

Ill-discipline takes its toll on Crusaders

Castleford 56 Crusaders 16

Castleford returned to winning habits and to second place in the table with a ten-try romp against opponents short of numbers in more ways than one.

The already threadbare Crusaders could not cope with the three sin-binnings which, along with a heavy penalty count, exposed their discipline problem.

"We must be doing something wrong," said their coach, Iestyn Harris. "But we caught Castleford on a very good day."

For his return to the ground where he was famously abused by a minority of spectators last year, Gareth Thomas was named to start in the pack for the first time in his rugby league career. Thomas had the sort of wholehearted 80 minutes in the second row that suggested that he might have found his true role in his adopted code.

The first time he touched the ball, he made a break that was hard for Cas to contain and which established a position from which Jarrod Sammut was almost able to jink over. It was to be a long time before Crusaders threatened again. The Tigers, beaten for the first time this season at Bradford last week, took the lead after five minutes, Jason Chan losing the ball in the tackle.

The visitors did not help themselves when they were reduced to 11 men for ten minutes, after a clash between Michael Witt and Mathers escalated into full-scale hostilities.

Witt was sin-binned for starting it, along with his team-mate, Vince Mellars, and Castleford's Nick Youngquest, for joining in most enthusiastically.

A couple of debatable penalties against them set the stage for the second try, scored from close range by the highly-promising Daryl Clarke. Crusaders were short-handed again when their captain, Clinton Schifcofske, was binned for the bizarre offence of kicking a second ball into the action. No sooner had he departed than Cas moved the ball to the right wing for Dixon to score again, with Dean Widders also bludgeoning his way over before half-time.

There was more punishment to come after the interval, with Clarke backing up Youngquest's break for his second and Rangi Chase's dummying run setting up Brett Ferres.

Danny Orr's lovely diagonal run served one up on a plate for Willie Isa, before more Chase brilliance sent Mathers over.

The game already won and lost, the two teams traded tries in the last quarter, Crusaders scoring two quick ones through Stuart Reardon and Tony Martin to provoke Chase into a little more magic for Youngquest to touch down. Jordan Tansey, who otherwise had a quiet debut, created one for Mellars, before Joe Arundel completed the scoring for Cas.

"It's good to see the boys throwing the ball around and enjoying themselves," said their coach, Terry Matterson. The leg-weary Crusaders would beg to differ.

Castleford: Mathers; Dixon, Arundel, Isa, Youngquest; Chase, Orr; Fozzard, Milner, Huby, Jones, Aspinwall, Ferres. Substitutes used: Jackson, Emmitt, Widders, Clarke.

Crusaders: Schifcofske; Reardon, Martin, Mellars, Tansey; Witt, Sammut; O'Hara, Withers, Bryant, Chan, Thomas, Moore. Substitutes used: Dudson, White, Flower, Murphy.

Referee B Thaler (Wakefield).