Marc Sneyd double helps Salford crush Castleford to clinch playoff spot

Salford Red Devils secured a Super League playoff place with a superb victory against Castleford, and in the process, ensured the Tigers’ own hopes of making the top six are now out of their own hands.

The Red Devils, one of the competition’s lowest spenders, defied all expectations three years ago to reach the Grand Final for the first time. They have done the same again under Paul Rowley in 2022 and are now guaranteed to be in the playoffs in a fortnight’s time after another impressive victory.

A passage of near-perfect rugby in the opening quarter here put Salford into a 20-0 lead which, even at such an early stage in proceedings, proved unassailable. Led by the outstanding Brodie Croft, arguably the standout half-back in Super League, Salford were not only a joy to watch, but so effective in attack that you suspect if they perform like this in the playoffs, they are a match for anyone.

Croft’s break led to Marc Sneyd crossing for the opening try, before Croft then freed Kallum Watkins, who in turn provided the final pass for Ken Sio.

Jack Ormondroyd’s marauding solo run then gave Sneyd a simple conversion for 18-0, before the half-back added a penalty to put Salford ahead by 20.

Castleford, who finished the game without a recognised half-back here after Danny Richardson suffered a serious leg injury, hit back as half-time approached with tries from Jake Mamo and Derrell Olpherts, but Salford restored their dominance after half-time.

Another penalty from Sneyd made it 22-10 before Shane Wright finished another break which involved Croft and Watkins. It was fitting that Croft’s masterful solo display yielded at least one try for the half-back, which came when he stepped through some tired Castleford defending from a scrum.

There was still time for two more Red Devils tries to bring up the half-century. First, Chris Atkin’s break led to Watkins crossing for a deserved score before Atkin broke from deep again to give Sneyd a free run to the line for his second.

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