Castleford 44-12 Huddersfield: Tigers turn up the heat on Wigan
Last Updated: 16/09/18 7:46pm
Castleford overcame the absence of Luke Gale and stiff resistance from Huddersfield to keep their home semi-final hopes alive with a fourth successive win.
Forward Junior Moors was the star of the show with two tries as the Tigers came from 12-4 down to win 44-12 and keep the pressure on second-placed Wigan.
Gale, the reigning Man of Steel who only recently returned from a fractured kneecap, was a late withdrawal with a minor leg strain, and Castleford struggled for long periods without him.
It was a third successive defeat for Huddersfield, but they showed early signs of repeating their 32-18 win at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle only seven weeks earlier and were in contention until a late collapse saw them concede five tries in the last 23 minutes.
They made a dream start after former Huddersfield full-back Greg Eden fumbled a towering kick from Danny Brough which created the position for hooker Adam O'Brien to force his way over from dummy half for the game's first try.
Eden made amends three minutes later when he produced a clinical finish for his 11th try in his six matches, but Paul McShane was unable to add the goal and Huddersfield increased their lead midway through the first half with a solo try from stand-off Lee Gaskell.
Huddersfield's teenage centre Jake Wardle missed the chance to play against his older brother Joe, who was a late withdrawal from the Tigers team, but he displayed his exciting talent with a break that almost brought a try for winger Innes Senior.
That chance went begging, but the visitors were good value for their 12-6 lead before Castleford went on to dominate the second quarter.
England second rower Mike McMeeken showed his class by keeping the ball alive on the last tackle to get centre Jake Webster over for a try and the Tigers went on to enjoy seven successive sets in the Huddersfield half as the visitors' discipline began to let them down.
The pressure told seven minutes before the break when Moors forced his way over for a solo try, shortly after having a similar effort thwarted by a steal by full-back Jordan Rankin, and McShane kicked his second goal to give his side a 16-12 interval lead.
The Giants almost drew level early in the second half when centre Jordan Turner was held up over the line, but they suffered a blow when he was forced off with a leg injury.
That meant a second stint in the threequarters for second rower Oliver Roberts, who had earlier filled in while Wardle was off the field for a concussion assessment.
Huddersfield kept battling away, but they conceded a fourth try on 57 minutes when winger James Clare forced his way over at the corner after good work from Michael Shenton and Peter Mata'utia to stretch the Tigers' lead.
Defences were on top for most of the second half, but McMeeken found a chink the Giants' armour on 66 minutes and that opened the floodgates.
Moors crashed over for his second try and, with the visitors wilting badly, Mata'utia scythed through their defence straight from a scrum before prop Grant Millington rounded off the scoring, touching down Jake Trueman's grubber kick for his side's eighth try.