Castleford Tigers secured their first-ever Betfred Super League Leaders’ shield following their 45-20 victory over Wakefield Trinity at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
The Tigers needed just one point from their five remaining Super 8's matches to become the first side in the club's 91-year history to top the regular-season league table and they did so in entertaining style in front of packed home crowd – with centre Jake Webster enjoying a four-try show.
Liam Finn kicked an early penalty to put the visitors into a 2-0 lead but Zak Hardaker crossed to settle Castleford's nerves before Ben Jones-Bishop touched down to level the scores.
Converted Mike McMeeken and Jake Webster tries put the Tigers 18-6 up, and despite Mason Caton-Brown replying, the hosts an eight-point half-time advantage.
Wakefield captain Danny Kirmond powered over to reduce the gap to two points with 30 minutes left to unnerve the home fans once again but Greg Eden responded with his 35th Super League try on the season and Webster's second to put Castleford in the driving seat.
Webster crashed over for his hat-trick to send the Castleford fans into raptures before a Luke Gale drop-goal, a fourth try from the former New Zealand international and Hardaker's second score of the night added gloss to the scoreline, with Max Jowitt getting a consolation score for Trinity.
Tigers head coach Daryl Powell hailed his history-making side and urged them to reach their first-ever Grand Final.
"It's fantastic for us, a group of people who have worked so hard from pre-season all the way through to be in this position," Powell said.
"It's just an awesome feeling. It's a good news story for rugby league.
Thank you to everyone for making tonight so awesome!! You really are the best fans in Super League!! pic.twitter.com/9KNFTo49bL— Castleford Tigers (@CTRLFC) August 17, 2017
"I think everybody thinks we've got this and that's it but it's not. We'll celebrate this and we'll move on. We've got Huddersfield next up and, when the time comes, we'll be really prepared to take them on.
"Winning the league leaders is a big deal I think but winning the Grand Final would be just as big.
"With the Grand Final, it's a bigger stadium, there's a lot more people and it's a different pressure but it's another challenge and we'll look to take it head on."
A third defeat of the season at the hands of their nearest rivals was a blow to Wakefield's semi-final hopes but coach Chris Chester was proud of his players' efforts.
"There was a lot to be positive about," Chester said. "Despite the lack of field position in that first half, we were still in the game.
"And we gave it a real crack in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half.
"Credit to Cas they have been fantastic all season. They caused us a lot of problems on our left edge which we need to fix it.
"But I thought we did a lot of good things and I said to the guys I am extremely proud of the effort they put in."