O’Brien on dramatic Cup win

Posted: Monday 12th April 2021 - 5:45 PM

100 minutes of rugby league was settled off the boot of Gareth O’Brien on Friday night, it sealed a quarter-final spot for the Tigers in the 2021 Betfred Challenge Cup and a third win from three games in the 2021 season so far.

Despite the joy of progressing to the final eight, O’Brien shares that he and his fellow halves Danny Richardson and Jake Trueman will be working even harder in training on their drop goals.

“We are through to the next round, but we know we need to be miles better than we were, especially after that first half we rectified a few things in that first quarter of the second half before slacking off a bit again,” said O’Brien to castlefordtigers.com.

“Me, Danny and Truey need to practice our drop goals because I think it was like my sixth attempt! But all that aside we are buzzing to get the win, we’ll review it and look at what we need to work on and move onto the next game.”

It was another famous winning one pointer from Gareth at Craven Park, back in 2016 he provided one of Super League’s most famous moments when he kicked over a drop goal from near the halfway line to secure Salford’s top-flight survival in the Million Pound Game, but Gaz was keen to point out that drop goals are difficult to execute.

“They are an important skill and it’s something I need to keep working on, I do seem to end up putting them over here which is just one of those things I suppose. Whilst it was not as important as the one in 2016, it was just as important to us this year and gets us into that next round.”

Castleford came back into the game twice, after a rocky first 40 minutes they were trailing by 16 points and the Head Coach Daryl Powell did not hold back in his half time team talk.

“Powelly gave it us in that first half, not just the worst half of football for a Cas team, probably the worst half of football he’s ever seen he said. We had to look at that, take a good look at ourselves and roll our sleeves up to turn it around in the second half, still, little bits where we got loose but to come back how we did and eventually get the win was something.

“That is the positive we’ve got to take out of it, we were 22-6 down and we have not rolled over, that is the main positive, but we have to touch up on a few things, me personally there was a few things I wasn’t happy with in the game. To get the win and go into the next round is the main thing, so we’re happy.”

It was an extremely hard-worked victory with both the Robins and the Tigers playing for an extra 20 minutes, making huge numbers of tackles and metres made. O’Brien was feeling it after the game obviously and paid credit to the forwards who put in huge shifts on the field.

“Playing 100 minutes is just unheard of, I mean I’m sore, so I don’t know how the middle boys are feeling, huge credit to them for digging in.”

From the opening three matches of the 2021 season, Castleford have three wins which is a good early sign of form and consistency which is needed to be challenging for silverware later in the season.

“Two more wins and we would be in a Challenge Cup final is how we’ve got to look at it. A lot of things to work on, we weren’t at our best and we know that so, we’ll address it and work hard this week to put things right.”

A return to The Mend-A-Hose Jungle for Super League action awaits on Friday night, the Tigers’ first meeting against Leigh Centurions since 2017, and it is a game Gaz cannot wait for!

“I have a good few mates at Leigh from Toronto so I’m looking forward to that one, no crowd but I am looking forward to playing back at The Jungle as well, that will be a nice thing on Friday night and I’m excited for it.”

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