|Betfred Super 8s|
|Castleford (16) 44|
|Tries: Eden, Webster, Moors 2, Clare, McMeeken, Mata’utia, Millington Goals: McShane 6|
|Tries: O’Brien, Gaskell Goals: Brough 2|
Castleford Tigers kept up their outside bid for a home Super League play-off semi-final with a late blow-out victory against Huddersfield Giants.
The win, which puts them a point behind Wigan in second – who play Friday – came courtesy of eight tries.
Prop Junior Moors scored twice among the seven different scorers, while fellow front-rower Grant Millington grabbed his first try of the season.
Giants, who have now lost the past three games, scored two tries in reply.
Adam O’Brien and Lee Gaskell crossed in a tight first-half for Simon Woolford’s side, but once the game blew out in the second Castleford took total control.
Woolford’s side look to have lost the momentum which saw them win six games in a row including victories against Wigan, St Helens and Castleford in securing a top eight spot.
Daryl Powell’s Castleford have somewhat flown under the radar in Super League in comparison with their success last season, with Saints picking up their 2017 mantle as the stand-out side.
However, there is a ruthlessness about the 2018 Tigers, who after defeat by Wigan in their Super 8s opener have won the past three games.
They could even afford to leave out scrum-half Luke Gale, who has a rib injury, with Ben Roberts and Jake Trueman operating in the halves.
The first-half bore few signs that it would be such a walk-over for the Tigers, as Huddersfield made a flying start when Adam O’Brien squeaked in under pressure, although there was a doubt about the score which went to the video referee.
Tries were traded in the opening 40, as Cas winger Greg Eden thundered away down the left while Gaskell burst through to restore the Giants lead, before Mike McMeeken held off would-be tacklers and offloaded to Jake Webster to scorch through.
Moors’ powerful drive proved too much for the Giants defence to bring up the 16-12 lead at half-time, and the second-half continued as an arm-wrestle, right up to the hour mark.
However once James Clare had burrowed over on the right, the Tigers cut loose with McMeeken, Moors, Peter Mata’utia and Millington taking advantage of tiring defence to rack up the points.
Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell told BBC Radio 5 live sports extra:
“We met our defensive performance targets and that was great. Second-half we were really good, really durable and although we allowed them out of their 20 a bit easy there were a couple of questionable penalties in there that would have allowed us to apply more pressure.
“Our kicking game was really good, Jake Trueman in the second-half and Ben Roberts in the first had great control and we scored some smart tries once we got a grip of the game.
“We just have to keep winning, regardless of where we play the semi-final we want to be in good form and we’re building towards that. We’re conceding about 10 points a game which is semi-final winning football. If we can carry on doing that defensively we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
Huddersfield Giants head coach Simon Woolford told BBC 5 live sports extra:
“We made it hard, we were in control of the game in the first-half and kicked the ball out and for the last 15, 20 minutes we defended our tryline, but in the second half that effort compounded.
“We made some silly errors coming out of our own end, Castleford are a good side and they made us pay.
“We’re a bit wounded at the moment, the footy team is looking tired, we just need to regroup and try to pick a team next week to be competitive against Wigan.”
Castleford: Mata’utia; Clare, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Roberts, Trueman; Watts, McShane, Millington, Moors, McMeeken, Massey.
Replacements: Minikin, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Clark.
Huddersfield: Rankin; Mamo, Turner, Wardle, I. Senior; Gaskell, Brough; Lawrence, O’Brien, Matagi, Ta’ai, Roberts, Hinchcliffe.
Replacements: Leeming, Clough, Smith, English.
Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL)