A disappointing week off the field for Castleford was worsened with a 40-26 defeat to fellow play-off hopefuls Huddersfield.
Matt McMeeken’s sin-bin in the first half was the real game changer as Paul Anderson’s men managed to rack up twenty points in this ten minute period.
Castleford had started the better with early tries from Luke Gale and Ashley Gibson. However the Giants really put the visitors to the sword after the yellow card with Ukuma Ta’ai and Jake Connor scoring either side of a Jermaine McGillvary brace. Aaron Murphy also crossed late in the first half.
Similarly to the first forty Cas started well scoring the first two tries through Luke Dorn and Ben Roberts, This put Daryll Powell’s men within four points of Huddersfield.
However the Giants quelled any potential late heroics from Castleford with tries from Joe Wardle and Jamie Ellis. Eorl Crabtree also powered his way over for a try on his 400th appearance. Dennis Solomona did grab a late yet sensational consolation for the away side.
This victory now means Huddersfield sit in 3rd place in the Super League Super 8’s however coach Anderson wasn’t overly thrilled with the performance.
Anderson said: “I thought we had a few spells were we looked world class and then we had other spells were we looked like we’ve just been thrown together.”
Prop-forward Crabtree said: “Overall we do need to improve to win more games.”
The Giants are now two points clear of Saints and look to have almost confirmed their play-off position.
Man of the match McGillvary said: “This win gives us a bit of breathing space but its not over yet we still need to go and get wins against Hull, Warrington and Leeds.
Castleford’s loss now means they remain 5th in the Super League Super 8’s and are still two points behind St Helens who currently occupy the last play-off place.
Coach Powell said: “The sin-bin had a really big impact on us obviously. We let ourselves down in this period in the first half.”
There was no mention of suspended Tigers winger Justin Carney after his club suspension midweek.
The Tigers started the stronger and they were rewarded on the ten minute mark when Luke Gale jinked and stepped his way over from metres out. Gibson would add another five minutes later diving over in the corner after half-back Ben Roberts cleverly drew in three players before offloading out wide to the winger.
However Castleford’s strong start would soon be jeopardised when McMeeken was sent for ten minutes for a deliberate trip. This sin-bin would prove to be the pivotal turning point in the first half as the home side would take advantage.
From the resulting penalty Huddersfield would build pressure before Andy Lynch offloaded to fellow forward Ta’ai who dove over virtually untouched to get the Giants on the scoreboard. Moments later Castleford’s Channing would catch McGillvary with a stray forearm under the chin but this only seemed to awaken McGillvary.
Firstly, Leroy Cudjoe would run the ball across the Castleford line before finding McGillvary on his wing who forced his way over the top of Nathan Massey to score. When he broke again from the kick-off his pace was too much for the Cas defence and the chasing Dennis Solomona, the winger then managed to step past an onrushing Luke Dorn to score his second in as many minutes.
Huddersfield would continue to exploit their one man advantage which led to a wonderful team try, Ta’ai started a move before throwing the ball out wide to Murphy who broke down the flank. Murphy passed inside to Grix who then found the supporting Ta’ai. Eventually it was Connor who finished the move off for the home side. Murphy would grab another try just before half-time when Danny Brough executed a neat blind side play which Murphy finished in the corner.
However on the other side of the hooter the Tigers came out showing their claws again. Within three minutes of the second starting they were over when Luke Gale passed to Dorn who just managed to groynd the ball in time. Some fancy solo play from Roberts would put the visitors within four points. The Samoan half back drifted his way across the Huddersfield defence, his inside runners drew the defence away before he slid through the defence and scored.
Unfortunately for Castleford the home side would soon put an end to any comeback with quick back-to-back tries. Wardle crossed first when he got on the outside of Roberts to score. The Tigers became desperate with Milner going for the interception however he dropped the ball metres from his own line. Ellis was the quickest to react and he scooped the ball up before extending Huddersfield’s lead further.
Crabtree crashed over for a try in the last ten minutes on his 400th game. This before Solomona would score a fantastic try from on his own try line beating every Huddersfield player for pace with just a minute remaining.
Next up for Castleford is a huge game in terms of 4th place as they host St Helens on Thursday. Huddersfield host Warrington on Sunday.
Huddersfield: Grix, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Connor, Murphy, Brough, Ellis, Crabtree, Robinson, Huby, Wardle, Hughes, Ta’ai.
Interchanges: Lawrence, Kopczak, Leeming, Smith.
Castleford: Dorn, Gibson, McMeken, Channing, Solomona, Roberts, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Wheeldon, Millington, Moors, Massey.
Interchanges; Cook, Boyle, Springer, McShane.
Referee: Robert Hicks Video Referee: Ben Thaler Attendance: