Castleford Tigers got their home programme off to a stunning start with a superb all-round display in a 32-6 victory over Catalan Dragons at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Powerhouse winger Justin Carney led the way with a hat-trick of tries, but there were outstanding performances throughout the team against a strong Catalan side that included almost all of their big guns.
Cas fed off the confidence of their opening day win at Bradford and on this form should have no fears of relegation this season.
The Tigers deserved to be more than 12-6 up at half-time after a first 40 minutes in which they largely dominated.
A sign of how much they were on top was that they forced four drop-outs in the first half and despite playing against the wind they scored three tries to one and were unfortunate not to have a fourth.
Tigers opened the scoring on seven minutes when Marc Sneyd caught his own up and under and quick as a flash sent a long pass out for Justin Carney to go over in the corner, too far out for Kirk Dixon to add the conversion in the blustery conditions.
A second try followed when Weller Hauraki superbly sent Dixon over in the opposite corner.
Cas thought they were celebrating a third score on 28 minutes as Carney raced over from Jordan Tansey’s long pass, but the “try” was controversially disallowed on the word of a touch judge apparently for a forward pass that did not look forward.
Within a minute Catalan created their first real chance and speedy winger Morgan Escare sprinted over for a try that was goaled by Scott Dureau.
Tempers began to flare and after Eloi Pelissier threw a punch at Scott Wheeldon both players were sent to the sin-bin. To home fans’ anger the penalty was given to the Dragons, but Dureau was unable to kick the ball between the posts as he tried to level the scores from 50 metres out.
Castleford finished the half strongly, however, and after a mighty drive by Andy Lynch, the ball was moved wide and Carney collected his second try following a fine pass by skipper Michael Shenton.
Dixon was unable to convert again from closer in this time and the Tigers’ lead was a more narrow than it should have been six points at half-time.
They stretched it, however, within four minutes of the restart as Carney went on another rampaging run, the equally effective Shenton took over and his pass inside was gleefully collected by Tansey for a great try. Marc Sneyd took over the kicking duties and added the conversion from bang in front to make it 18-6.
Clark and Carney went close to further scores before Sneyd added a penalty to put the Tigers more than two scores in front.
A succession of penalties for niggling offences by the French team helped Cas to stay on top and Dixon was unlucky not to get his second try after he thought he had squeezed over in the corner only to be denied for a foot in touch.
There was no denying livewire Daryl Clark, though, on 68 minutes when he dropped down to cover a short kick through by Dureau and picked himself up, spun round and raced away from all the cover from half-way for a stunning individual try. Sneyd added the goal and it was effectively all over.
Castleford added one more score for good measure two minutes from time when moments after he had been announced as man of the match Carney charged over on the left wing to complete his hat-trick. Sneyd added the goal from the touchline to make it four out of four for him.
Scorers - Castleford: Tries Carney 3, Dixon, Tansey, Clark; goals Sneyd 4, Catalan: Try Escare; goal Dureau.
Castleford: Tansey; Dixon, Channing, Shenton, Carney; Sneyd, Finn; Lynch, Clark, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Millington. Subs: Milner, Mariano, Wheeldon, Fleming.
Catalan: Webb; Escare, Cardace, Pomeroy, Oldfield; Pryce, Dureau; Lima, Anderson, Bousquet, Taia, Whitehead, Mounis. Subs: Pelissier, Maria, Paea, Baitieri.
Referee: Tim Roby.