Full-back Matty Ashton scored a hat-trick of tries as Warrington raced into a 32-0 lead against Castleford before the Tigers fought back with the Wolves eventually prevailing 40-24; they will play Leeds or Hull KR at home in the elimination play-offs
Last Updated: 16/09/21 11:37pm
Warrington coach Steve Price says the good times start now as his side head into the play-offs on the back of a 40-24 win over Castleford.
The Wolves will play Leeds or Hull KR at home in the elimination play-offs next Friday and Price, who is leaving the club at the end of the season to take his family back to Australia, says they are finding their form at the right time.
Full-back Matty Ashton scored a hat-trick of tries as Warrington raced into a 32-0 lead early in the second half but they were forced to withstand a tremendous fightback before clinching a win that brought Castleford’s season to an abrupt end.
Price said: “This is where the good times start, the fun times. We’ll take a lot of belief out of the first 40 minutes, it was the best we’ve played all season. We’re in a good place.
“We took the emotion out of the game nice and early. We played hard and we played fast with a good style to our play, whilst defensively we were really hard-nosed and kept them out a number of times on the line.
“We needed to change the momentum after Castleford’s period being on top and the boys did that.”
Warrington almost paid a heavy price for their indiscipline, with winger Josh Charnley sin-binned for a dangerous tackle and prop Mike Cooper sent off for use of his shoulder as they found themselves down to 11 men for a brief spell.
Price says his team emerged injury free and he is not worried about Cooper facing any further punishment for his dismissal.
“That was really harsh, a red card for that, it was really tough,” he said.
“I’m confident he will not have to answer to that or Josh Charnley’s tackle although it did warrant a yellow.”
Daryl Powell’s eight-year spell as Castleford coach was brought to an end by the defeat but he was proud of the way they fought back to set up a tense finale.
“We just gave ourselves too much to do,” he said. “The first couple of tries were soft defensively and there was a bit of luck for the next two and we’re chasing the game.
“I said to the boys at half-time ‘we’ve got to find it within ourselves to get back into the game’ and I thought we showed what we’re about.
“We showed so much courage and effort and so much skill in the second half to give ourselves a chance and we nearly had them.”
Powell, who has coached his hometown team since 2013 but will succeed Price at Warrington in 2022, says the club will always be in his heart.
“I’ve had an absolute ball,” he said. “I’ve supported the club as a teenager, the club will always be special to me.”
There was also no fairytale finish for captain Michael Shenton, who this week announced his retirement and whose career was brought to an end three minutes before half-time when he went off with a dislocated shoulder.
“It’s so disappointing for him,” Powell said. “If Shenny’s part of that second-half comeback, he’s got that touch of class that can craft things from nothing.
“It was disappointing to see him leave the field and not be able to finish how he wanted.”
Castleford’s defeat means Leeds and Hull KR are guaranteed play-off spots before they meet at Headingley on Friday night, with Warrington hosting the losers in next Friday’s elimination play-off.