James Roby made Castleford pay for his Super League Dream Team omission with a superb man-of-the-match performance that keeps St Helens on course for a place in the Grand Final.
Castleford's rising star Daryl Clark got the nod for the hooking role in the Dream Team ahead of the England regular, who demonstrated all his old skill with two early tries and an all-round industrious display to which Castleford had no answer.
It was routine for Saints, who were presented with the League Leaders' Shield before kick-off, as they moved effortlessly to within 80 minutes of a return to Old Trafford with a clinical 41-0 victory at Langtree Park.
St Helens' seven-try triumph - in which Dream Team winger Tom Makinson scored on his 100th appearance - earned them next week off and they will also get the chance to select their home semi-final opponents via the controversial ClubCall system.
Castleford, who missed the chance to pip Saints to top spot by losing to Catalan Dragons in their final league game, will have another chance to reach the last four in next week's elimination semi-finals but - like Huddersfield after the first qualifying play-off - will need to find a vastly improvement if they are get back on course for a maiden Grand Final appearance.
Tigers coach Daryl Powell responded to their mini-slump by dropping stand-off Marc Sneyd, one of the stars of the season, in favour of Jamie Ellis while Australian winger Justin Carney made an unexpected return in place of the injured James Clare.
Saints coach Nathan Brown also sprung a surprise by switching second rower Mark Flanagan to scrum-half. He acquitted himself well but it was Roby who the star of the show.
Clark began the match on the bench - with Adam Milner preferred as the Tigers' starting hooker - and entered the action midway through the first half moments after Roby had broken the deadlock by forcing his way over for the game's first try.
Five minutes later Roby repeated the feat, this time from 10 metres out, and Mark Percival kicked his second conversion to make it 12-0. Saints let slip a 10-0 lead in their last match but they soaked up Castleford pressure to keep their line intact up to the break and increased their advantage of the stroke of half-time with a drop goal from Jordan Turner.
Any hope of a Castleford fightback was snuffed out within five minutes of the restart when Roby worked a run-around with Sia Soliola to free Turner, who sprinted 50 metres for Saints' third try.
Roby then became trysaver when he managed to get his leg in the way to prevent Castleford centre Michael Channing touching down after a rare breach of the Saints defence.
Trailing 19-0, the visitors were forced to chance their arm and it cost them another try when St Helens winger Adam Swift, a replacement for the injured Matty Dawson, picked up a loose ball and went 70 metres for a solo score.
The home side were denied a penalty try when skipper Paul Wellens was pulled back while chasing Roby's grubber kick to the line but Castleford captain Michael Shenton was sin-binned for the offence and Saints took advantage of the extra man to increase their lead.
Makinson took Percival's pass to cross at the corner and, as the Tigers began to tire, front-row forwards Kyle Amor and Mose Masoe both demonstrated brute strength to force their way over for close-range tries.
Percival took his goal tally to six from seven attempts to wrap up a convincing victory.
Sport now and in Rugby, Castleford Tigers now only have one more chance to make it through to the grand final play off after being hammered by St Helens tonight.
It is the Tigers' fourteenth successive loss to Saints, who clocked up 13 points in the first half. Castelford failed to threaten the Saints' try line and the score finished 41-0.
Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton says his side would relish the opportunity to have a week off.
Along with Challenge Cup winners Leeds Rhinos , the Tigers have played every week of the season since mid-February and they are hoping they can book their semi-finalplace at the first attempt when they take on St Helens tonight, especially having twice failed to secure silverware over the last month.
Beaten by the Rhinos at Wembley in August, Castleford let the League Leaders' Shield slip through grasp when losing 28-6 to the Catalans last Saturday but Shenton is confident they can still salvage something tangible from a season that promised so much.
We did a bit of sulking on the way back from France but, in the grand scheme of things, we should be proud of what we've achieved this season.
"Top four is a real achievement. It gives us either a week off or a second chance but the week is off is the one we'll be looking for because we haven't had one all year, we'd like that.
"There is so much more we can achieve this season if we get ourselves out of this little hole we've got ourselves into, this little slump of form.
"I think the pressure is off us, the pressure is on Saints a little bit more than it is on us. We'll just go and play, enjoy our rugby and give ourselves a good chance.
"We've had big challenges all year and most of the time managed to put good performances together. We will start afresh and go there real confident.
"The character is great in our team. The defeats hurt and I've not seen that for a long time at Castleford."
Castleford have completed their new-look squad for 2015 with the signing of London Broncos duo Scott Moore and Mike McMeeken.
Former St Helens and England hooker Moore, 26, and Hampshire-born second rower McMeeken, 20, will join their Broncos team-mates Denny Solomona and Matt Cook at the Tigers in 2015 after signing two-year deals.
Moore, who had a loan spell at Castleford in 2008 and has also played for Widnes, Huddersfield and North Queensland Cowboys, will be a straight replacement for Daryl Clark, who is joining Warrington at the end of the season.
Scott Moore will be a crucial addition to our squad for next year. I am confident he will along with Adam Milner give us creative options at hooker and his experience will be invaluable. He was an international squad player not too long ago. He is creative and tough with good leadership qualities and he will be a big part of our pack for next season.
Mike McMeeken is a big robust back rower who I am confident has a big future in the game. He is also very young with a great desire to be successful which are both key qualities. He was very good against us in both games this season with his strong ball running and offload game.
Castleford have also signed Bradford scrum-half Luke Gale and Melbourne Storm pair Junior Moors and Ben Roberts, with Craig Huby and Jamie Ellis leaving the club, along with Clark, Weller Hauraki, Lee Gilmour and Dan Fleming, whose moves were announced earlier in the year.
Huddersfield announced the signing of Tigers' long-serving prop forward Huby on Thursday morning and are also expected to recruit hooker or half-back Ellis.
Craig has been a huge servant to the Tigers for over a decade and while I am disappointed he has decided to leave I understand his reasons for looking for a new challenge. As a club we did all we could to persuade Craig to stay including a long-term contract offer. I know Craig will continue to perform superbly for the remainder of the season as he has done throughout his time at the club.
Meanwhile, Castleford have also given contract extensions to home-grown winger James Clare and Australian forward Grant Millington.
Clare's new deal will keep him at the club to the end of 2016 with an option for a further two years while Millington is now contracted to the end of 2018.
Huddersfield Giants have signed 28-year-old prop forward Craig Huby on a four year deal.
The ball playing forward becomes the first new addition to be announced to Paul Anderson’s 2015 squad.
The Giants Head Coach said:
“Craig is having a stellar season and is a player I have long admired. His qualities are there for all to see and he has been a tower of strength for the Castleford club which he has served with such distinction over many years."
I have had a wonderful time at Castleford with this year being an obvious highlight and it is with some sadness that I move on. However I decided that a fresh start and a new challenge would reinvigorate me and the club have known for some time that I would be moving on.
The supporters have always been superb with me and I thank them and the players and coaches I have worked with. This year with Darryl will forever be in my memory and I think we still have a great opportunity here in the coming weeks.
That’s my sole focus but I wanted the news to come out so that I can concentrate on the rest of the season with Cas then look forward to next year at the Giants.
Wakefield Wildcats coach James Webster has played down his team's chances of making the Super League play-offs.
They play Castleford Tigers this weekend in a West Yorkshire derby and need to win that and their final game against Hull KR to stand a chance of making the final eight.
Webster told Chris Dawkes his team are looking forward to playing the Tigers who, he says, have had a good season:
Castleford Tigers head in to a West Yorkshire derby this weekend against Wakefield Wildcats still in with a chance of finishing top of the Super League for the first time.
Warrington's victory over St Helens last night set up a nail biting finish to the league campaign.
With Tigers pushing for top spot and Wakefield still in with a chance of making the play-offs Daryl Powell told Chris Dawkes the game is one of the biggest derbies in recent years:
New Wakefield Wildcats assistant coach Lee Gilmour says moving from the pitch to the dug out was always his ambition.
This week the club announced he would be James Webster's new assistant and Gilmour told Chris Dawkes his experience coaching amateur teams will come in handy: