Castleford 18-31 Hull FC: Albert Kelly grabs hat-trick in entertaining Super League clash
Last Updated: 14/06/19 2:12am
Albert Kelly scored a superb hat-trick as Hull moved into third place in the Super League table following a hard-fought 31-18 victory over Castleford at the Mend-A-Hose-Jungle.
The Black and Whites had to come from a 14-4 half-time deficit to secure their third successive win thanks to the half-back's 18-minute treble and Ratu Naulago's double on a night where Marc Sneyd passed 1,000 points for Hull.
Greg Minikin and Naulago traded tries as both teams struggled to play their fluent passing rugby before Peter Mata'utia added two penalties and Junior Moors marked his return from injury with a score to put Castleford ahead at the break.
Naulago's second score and Kelly's fine finish turned the match on its head for Hull, with Sneyd adding a penalty to extend their lead to 18-14.
Greg Eden hit back to level the scores but Hull hit the front once more through Kelly's second try before the Australian completed his hat-trick following another fine break from Naulago and Sneyd adding a late drop goal.
Castleford enjoyed better territory and grabbed a deserved lead after 11 minutes through Minikin as he sliced through the right edge to dot down.
However, their advantage lasted just four minutes as Jake Connor produced a strong hand-off and even better offload to find winger Naulago to acrobatically score in the corner to level the scores at 4-4.
Mata'utia added two penalties to nudge Castleford back in front before the hosts scored their second try four minutes before the half-time interval.
A neat grubber kick from Jake Truman deflected off a Hull defender's leg, with Kelly looking to have collected the ball. But the half-back spilled the ball after a big hit from the chasing pack and Moors was on hand to pick up the loose ball and dive over the whitewash to put the Tigers into 14-4 lead at the break.
Naulago hauled Hull back into the match seven minutes after the restart as the winger finished a fine left-to-right move, with Sneyd added the extras from the touchline to cut the deficit to four points.
And Hull took the lead for the first time in the match through Connor's superb break from his own 10-metre line before offloading to Kelly, who still had half of the pitch to cover, to round off to stunning counter.
Sneyd's 56th-minute penalty moved Hull into an 18-14 lead, but Eden levelled the scores as he stretched over on the hour mark and Mata'utia missed the touchline conversion.
Hull regained the lead with 15 minutes remaining, following a lengthy decision by video referee, when a Sneyd cross-field kick was palmed down by Connor for Kelly to touch down the loose ball for his second score.
The video referee ruled out a Jamie Shaul effort, but it mattered not when Naulago pounced a dropped ball by Eden, with only the tryline in sight, to sprint downfield before handing to Kelly to complete his treble, with Sneyd kicking a one-pointer late on to seal victory.