Castleford Tigers welcomed Huddersfield Giants to The Jungle as they looked to put pressure on Wigan and fight for second place and a home-semi final spot and they duly delivered.
The first mistake of the night came from Greg Eden after he failed to handle a Danny Brough high kick and the repeat set for the Giants led to the away side crossing the line first.
Adam O’Brien was the man who crashed over, and despite the television replay showing the ball being held up, TMO Phil Bentham gave a try to the Giants as he agreed with Ben Thaler.
Danny Brough converted to make it an early 6-0 lead for Huddersfield.
Eden then made up for his earlier error as he latched onto the end of the free-flowing Castleford move and dived into the left hand corner to dot down. Paul McShane pushed the conversion wide to leave the scores at 4-6.
The game was going to be open from the off as Jacob Wardle set broke down the left hand edge and released Innes Senior down the winger, however, a James Clare tackle saved a certain try as he dragged the youngster into touch.
With a good back and forth between the sides, Huddersfield took control as Lee Gaskell crossed the line for the Giants. He picked up an out the back ball and ran through a gap created by a hard line by Ryan Hinchcliffe and dotted down under the posts. Brough converted again to make it an eight point lead to Huddersfield after 20 minutes.
Castleford closed the gap once more just minutes later as Mike McMeeken managed to hold off Jacob Wardle and offload to Bradford bound Jake Webster who dived over the line. McShane converted this time to make it 10-12.
The Tigers ended the half more comfortably as multiple penalties, mistakes and goal-line drop outs from the Giants meant that Castleford could put pressure on the Huddersfield line.
Huddersfield thought they had scored next though as Junior Moors lost the ball over the line and Jake Mamo ran 100 metres down the other end to score in the right hand corner. However, play was brought back for a two-on-one ball strip in the tackle by Jordan Rankin.
Castleford scored in the very next set though, and this time Moors did manage to get the ball down as he powered over the top of Rankin to put the Tigers in front. McShane made it two out of three from the boot to make it a four point lead for the home side.
That was the end of the scoring in the first half as Huddersfield had not made it easy for the Tigers in the first 40 minutes.
Half-Time: Castleford Tigers 16-12 Huddersfield Giants
The opening part of the second half was all Huddersfield but the Tigers defence held on after facing three sets on the bounce.
Both sides were playing aggressive and very open rugby. However, no one seemed to want to take control of the game in the second 40 minutes.
That was until the 58th minute, as a Tigers penalties allowed them easy territory in the Giants half and good build up play for Castleford meant that James Clare could collect a looping pass from Peter Mata’utia and score on the right hand wing. Paul McShane converted from the touchline and stretch their lead to 10 points.
The Tigers extended their lead further as Mike McMeeken receieved a pass from Paul McShane and ran straight and hard to crash through the Giants defence and over the line. McShane coverted his fourth of the night to make it 28-12 with 13 minutes remaining.
Castleford looked to put the game to bed as they forced another goal-line drop from the Giants as Innes Senior had no other option than to tap a Jake Trueman kick into touch.
They tried the short restart but a push on Michael Shenton gave the Tigers the ball just 10 metres out and Moors recorded his second try just shortly afterwards
A Grant Millington offload gave McShane and chance to pop the ball to Moors who scored past over the tiring Giants defence. McShane converted once more to make it a 22 point lead to the home side.
The Tigers were running riot now as Peter Mata’utia showed his international class as he exploded through a gap in the Huddersfield line, handed off two defenders and slammed the ball down to score his first try in Tigers colours.
McShane converted once again to make it 40-12 to Castleford with 4 minutes remaining.
That wasn’t the end of the scoring though as the Tigers crossed once more through Grant Millington. The prop forward was the quickest to react as he won the race to collect a Jake Trueman grubber kick to slide over the line. Jake Webster was given the final kick of the game and he failed to convert as Ben Thaler blew the final whistle.
Full-Time: Castleford Tigers 44-12 Huddersfield Giants
Sky Man of the Match: Jake Trueman – The young half-back was absolutely wonderful to watch with ball in and and with the boot as his offloads, passing, running and kicking were all too much for Huddersfield to handle. Young player of the year is beckoning for the youngster.
My Man of the Match: Peter Mata’utia – The Samoan international seems to have filled in and fixed Castleford full-back issue as his experience at the highest level as reassured the Tigers in defence and also gives them even more threat in attack and his try tonight was well deserved.
Mata’utia, Clare, Webster, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Roberts, Watts, McShane, Millington, Moors, McMeeken, Massey.
Subs: Minikin, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Clark.
Tries: Moors (2), Eden, Webster, Clare, McMeeken, Mata’utia, Millington
Goals: McShane (5/6)
Rankin, Mamo, Wardle, Turner, Senior, Gaskell, Brough, Lawrence, O’Brien, Matagi, Ta’ai, Roberts, Hinchcliffe.
Subs: Leeming, Clough, Smith, English
Tries: O’Brien, Gaskell
Goals: Brough (2/2)
Featured Image: @Betfred