Tigers Come From Behind Against Giants
Posted: Friday 1st September 2017 - 10:24 PM
Castleford Tigers continued their dominance atop the Betfred Super League with a 24-16 victory over Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium.
After an edgy opening half, the Tigers went up a gear in the second, scoring through Ben Roberts, Luke Gale and Greg Eden to secure the win.
Castleford were undoubtedly on top in the early exchanges, and seemed to be playing with a real air of confidence. However, they were perhaps guilty of over-playing when they got inside the Huddersfield half early on, and their first few chances went astray.
The Giants have a fantastic record of scoring the first try in games at their home ground, having done so in every fixture since the Tigers’ win at the John Smith’s Stadium in the regular season.
But after his four tries last time out, Jake Webster is taking some serious stopping at present, and it seemed almost inevitable that the Kiwi was to grab the opener.
In his 200th game on British soil, the centre steamrolled his way over the whitewash in typical style, before Gale added the extras.
It looked as if the Giants were going to bounce back right away, as they put together some possession on the Tigers’ line. However, the league leaders were in a stubborn mood and defended their sets well. A fine tackle by Jesse Sene-Lefao on a rampaging Jermaine McGillvary proved to be the highlight of the period.
Huddersfield’s momentum did finally take its toll midway through the first half, as Oliver Roberts got over for a four-pointer. The Tigers’ players were justifiably furious in the aftermath though, as there appeared to be more than a touch of obstruction in the build-up.
With neither side really able to take a firm grip on the game, the following portion of the game was largely uneventful – as a battle for dominance ensued.
With little over five minutes to go before the hooter, a chance finally presented itself and Huddersfield’s Paul Clough did the rest, barging over from short range.
The visitors threw the dice once more before the break, but Michael Shenton’s pass sailed into touch, ending Castleford’s chances of taking a lead into the sheds.
An altercation with 30 seconds to play handed the Giants a simple two points, meaning they led by a converted try at the half.
After being up against it for much of the first half, Castleford required a response when the two sides re-emerged, and they got it almost instantly via Ben Roberts.
In a move that can only be compared to a hot knife going through butter, the half-back somehow spotted a miniscule gap in the Giants’ defence and simply glided through it – without a defensive hand being placed on him. A moment of magic from the Samoan, coming just at the right time.
With that, the scores were tied, and Castleford were suddenly in the ascendency.
The Tigers have ripped up the rugby league form-book this season thanks – in part - to some scintillating set-plays, and their third try of the evening followed suit. Direct from the scrum base, the visitors flung the ball left and rapidly found Greg Eden in the corner, who did what he has become renowned for this campaign.
Eden’s score was his 36th in the league this season, leaving him just five short of Denny Solomona’s Super League record, with plenty of games in hand.
Huddersfield threatened to mount something from the wreckage of the two Tigers scores, but the visitors were in a ruthless mood now, and clearly eager to increase their advantage.
Eden was involved again when the Castleford try eventually came, slipping the net of his opposite winger before finding the supporting Gale on the inside, who did the rest. The England international slotted over the difficult conversion, maintaining his perfect record with the boot.
Entering the final ten minutes, the contest wasn’t over by any stretch as Huddersfield remained just twelve points behind. However, the Giants’ showing in the second half had spawned little belief on the terraces.
Gale attempted to kill the game with a drop-goal, but his effort went wide right. So, a late Darnell McIntosh try gave Huddersfield a sniff of a result, at least until Jordan Rankin pulled his conversion wide of the up-rights.
With an eight-point lead, time was very much Castleford’s ally in the last moments. Thus, the result was soon sealed.
Full Time: Castleford 24-16 Huddersfield
Hardaker, Hitchcox, Webster, Shenton, Eden, Roberts, Gale, Cook, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Moors, Foster, Massey
Interchange: Milner, Springer, Patrick, Larroyer
Tries: Webster, Roberts, Eden, Gale
Conversions: Gale (4/4)
Rankin, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Turner, McIntosh, Gaskell, Brough, Ikahihifo, Leeming, Wakeman, Ta’ai, Roberts, Hinchcliffe
Interchange: Clough, Lawrence, Rapira, Mellor
Tries: Roberts, Clough, McIntosh
Conversions: Brough (0/1), Rankin (1/2)
*Match Report by Ross Williams