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Super League: Castleford Tigers prove too good for Huddersfield Giants
Scrum-half Liam Finn marked his recall with a brace of tries as Castleford beat below-strength Huddersfield 44-30 in a thriller at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle.
Finn was dropped for the previous game at Widnes but proved a point on his return with a man-of-the-match performance as the Tigers strengthened their position in the top four.
The Giants were missing captain Danny Brough, as well as full-back Scott Grix and utility forward David Faiumu, but teenagers Jake Connor and Kruise Leeming performed creditably in their absence.
Huddersfield could hardly have made a better start, with makeshift hooker Chris Bailey forcing his way over from dummy half for the first of his two tries, after front rower Antonio Kaufusi had hauled down short of the line just four minutes into the game.
Leroy Cudjoe added the conversion but the Tigers struck back five minutes later with the first contribution from Marc Sneyd, who had an accomplished game at full-back.
He collected Luke Robinson's harmless kick deep inside his own half and scythed through the fragmented visitors' defence to get second rower Oliver Holmes over for a try.
Sneyd was wide with the conversion attempt and Huddersfield extended their lead on 12 minutes when Cudjoe picked off Liam Finn's pass and sprinted 90 metres unopposed for his side's second try, which made it 12-4 with his second goal.
The Tigers gradually got on top, however, and dominated the second quarter with the aid of three goalline drop-outs.
Winger Justin Carney grabbed a trademark try, proving unstoppable from 15 metres out after taking a pass from skipper Michael Shenton, who broke through the Giants defence for a second time only for right winger Kirk Dixon to spill the final pass with the tryline beckoning.
Just 17 seconds were left on the clock in the first half when Castleford took the lead for the first time as Huddersfield failed to deal with Finn's high kick on the last tackle and allowed the former Featherstone scrum-half to regather and touch down.
Sney's second goal gave his side a four-point lead interval lead and it took them just four minutes of the second half to build on it as replacement hooker Adam Milner burrowed his way over from dummy half.
The game was completely turned on its head three minutes later when Finn's pinpoint kick to the corner found Dixon with the space and time to touch down - and the Tigers made it three tries in 10 minutes when the immaculate Shenton broke clear to get Finn over for his second try.
Huddersfield had spent virtually the whole of the third quarter on defence but when they eventually got the ball in their hands they demonstrated their creativity by scoring two quickfire tries to give themselves hope.
Centre Joe Wardle took acting captain Brett Ferres' pass to produce a strong finish and Bailey went over in copybook fashion to his first score to claim the Giants' fourth try.
Cudjoe kicked his fourth conversion to cut the gap to eight points and Huddersfield thought they had scored again when teenage full-back Jake Connor carved out an opening for winger Jodie Broughton, who finished off the 90-metre break but had the try disallowed for putting a foot in touch.
Castleford second rower Frankie Mariano finally made sure of the win when he twisted out of Wardle's tackle to go over for a seventh try and, although Huddersfield scored again through prop Eorl Crabtree, Grant Millington had the final say for the home side three minutes from the end.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Catalan Dragons 28 - 6 Castleford|
|London Broncos 36 - 46 Bradford|
|Friday 12th September|
|Salford 36 - 6 Widnes|
|Huddersfield 17 - 16 St Helens|
|Hull 24 - 19 Leeds|
|Thursday 11th September|
|Wigan 24 - 20 Warrington|
|Sunday 7th September|
|Castleford 26 - 22 Wakefield|
|Hull K R 14 - 32 Catalan Dragons|
|Bradford 12 - 32 Widnes|
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