Wakefield 22 Castleford 48: Donlan double deepens sense of despair for Wakefield

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The Independent Online

When you can take a 12-point lead over Super League's bottom side, having beaten them three times already this season, and then contrive to lose as badly as this, you truly have forgotten how to win a rugby league match.

Wakefield took their losing run to seven games and surely threw away any remaining chance of making the Super League play-offs as a disgraceful collapse followed an encouraging start. Castleford, with only five wins all year before yesterday and on a nine-game losing streak against the Wildcats, were allowed to look like world-beaters as they ran in six tries before any Wakefield reply. The first two of those tries went to Castleford's alert full-back, Stuart Donlan.

"There's no chance of the top six with performances like that," said Wakefield's coach, John Kear, who had already dropped three of his senior players for this game. "Our defence was atrocious."

It all began so promisingly, with a well-constructed try for Sean Gleeson and a solo effort from Sam Obst. "But then it all fell apart drastically," said Kear. "There's a lot of self-examination to be done by everybody at this club."

The case for the prosecution began to pile up when Luke Dorn and Brent Sherwin set up Donlan for his first try and it became overwhelming as Cas romped in for three more in the space of seven minutes before half-time.

The excellent Ryan McGoldrick sent Ned Catic away to provide Donlan with his second try and then Joe Westerman, the young forward introduced from the bench, kicked ahead to score within two minutes of his arrival. A sweeping move, finished off by Dorn, completed the first-half carnage.

Westerman's drive set up the position from which Andy Henderson went over for the fifth Tigers try early in the second half, before Craig Huby went in with embarrassing ease for the sixth.

There was a hint of resistance in the way that Ryan Atkins and Brett Ferres went over for Wakefield, but it was far too late to mount a meaningful comeback.

It was not too late, however, for Castleford to deepen their neighbours' misery, with Westerman timing his run perfectly on to Dorn's kick and Scott Moore scampering clear for his side's eighth try, which was improved by the faultless Kirk Dixon's eighth goal. Castleford had looked anything but the wooden spoon near-certainties that they still are.

"I was frustrated by our start and was thinking, 'Here we go again,'" said the Tigers coach, Terry Matterson. "But we can play some footie. That's not a problem for us, it's knowing when to do that and when to be conservative."

Wakefield: Blaymire; Blanch, Gleeson, Atkins, Grix; Rooney, Brough; Sculthorpe, Obst, Wilkes, Ferres, Golden, Demetriou. Substitutes used: Leo-Latu, Bibey, Bibb, K Henderson.

Castleford: Donlan; Owen, Shenton, Dixon, Wainwright; Dorn, Sherwin; Higgins, Moore, Huby, Guttenbiel, Lupton, McGoldrick. Substitutes used: A Henderson, Westerman, Catic, Sargent.

Referee: I Smith (Oldham).

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