Tigers take charge against Giants
Posted: Sunday 18th August 2019 - 4:48 PM
Cas kept their play-off hopes alive and heaped pressure on Huddersfield with a comfortable 24-0 away to the Giants.
The Tigers went into the game knowing only a win would do in their hunt for a top-five finish in the Betfred Super League and they dominated the clash at the John Smith’s Stadium against a Giants side in desperately in need of a win to move them away from the bottom of the table.
Cas made a much more fluent start to proceedings than in their victory over London the previous round. Jamie Ellis and Cheyse Blair both went close to breaking the line early on after forcing an error from the Giants, before James Clare eventually finished some flowing hands to open the scoring in the seventh minute, good footwork putting him on the outside of the last defender to just get the ball down inside the corner flag.
Having taken over the kicking duties from Pete Mata’utia in the second half last week, Ellis took responsibility once again but pulled his attempt narrowly wide into the teeth of the wind.
Huddersfield tried to hit straight back but an obstruction brought an end to their best attacking opportunity early on whilst Oliver Holmes was held up inches short as he looked to extend his side’s advantage. This began a wrestle for field position from both sides with opposing half backs finding their range with some accurate kicking games as it became a war of attrition for the remainder of the first quarter.
With fresh impetus provided from the bench, the Tigers began to step things up and went close to scoring their second try on the back of another enterprising set. Blair, Jake Trueman and Adam Milner all made half breaks as Cas upped the speed but Greg Minikin was denied the try at the end of it as Blair’s flick pass under pressure was called forward.
However, Daryl Powell’s men were turning the screw and went the length of the field on their next position courtesy of Jordan Rankin’s break from deep, Paul McShane finishing the possession off well by forcing a drop out. The chance came to nought as the ball was spilled close to Huddersfield’s line on the next set but Cas had lifted the intensity as the half entered its final 10 minutes.
The next chance of the game went to Ellis as the Tigers continued to have the best of the contest. It was the half back’s high kick on the last that caused confusion in the Giants defence and he was on-hand to hack ahead Mata’utia’s offload only to knock on with the line at his mercy as the ball refused to bobble up.
At the other end, Huddersfield continued to lack any real threat for the Cas defence and the half came to an end at 4-0, with the Fords unfortunate not to be further in front but set to have the wind at the backs after the restart.
Cas began the second half in much the same fashion – on the front foot but unable to find the try line as often as their build up play deserved. Another opportunity came almost immediately as Trueman and Rankin worked an overlap for Blair but the centre couldn’t finish from close range or find the unmarked Minikin on his outside.
Ten minutes later, the Tigers tried the same move but this time Minikin was once again called back for a forward pass in a carbon copy of his first half effort, although by this stage Cas had at least made all the pressure tell in between those two chances on the left flank as Milner had crashed over from a short McShane pass on the previous set to give a bit more breathing space to the scoreline, Ellis converting this time from next to the posts.
By this stage, it was almost relentless pressure from the Fords but despite creating space on both edges they couldn’t make the final pass stick to extend their lead.
Instead, they tried the boot, with two Trueman grubbers causing havoc in the Giants defence in back-to-back sets. First, the half back’s clever grubber looked to have sat up perfectly for Holmes, the Cas backrower only prevented from scoring by a block from Oliver Wilson which earned him a spell in the sin bin and gave Ellis the opportunity to stretch the lead to 12-0 heading towards the start of the final quarter.
The Giants went short from the kick-off but Mata’utia gathered superbly to get the Tigers back to half way and they struck again at the end of the set. It was another well-weighted kick by Trueman which did the damage, this time Huddersfield spilling possession in the in-goal, giving Mike McMeeken a simple score, which Ellis converted.
Huddersfield attempted to work their way back into the game and did briefly stem the tide but their attack was struggling in the face of some strong Tigers defence and an error out of yardage from the hosts gave Cas the field position to strike for their fourth try of the afternoon. A strong carry from Grant Millington took play into the shadow of the posts and from there it was worked wide for Jesse Sene-Lefao to storm through a gap in the defence as Rankin provided the foil out the back.
With the game in the bag, it then became a challenge of whether Powell’s men could keep the home team out at the other end for the final 10 minutes – and it was a test they passed, surviving wave after wave of Giants attacks to keep their line intact as the clock ticked down.
Full Time: Huddersfield Giants 0-24 Castleford Tigers
Gaskell, McGillvary, McIntosh, Jacob Wardle, L Senior, Russell, Holmes, Ikahihifo, Leeming, Walne, Ta’ai, Mellor, Lawrence
O’Brien, Roberts, Wilson, Matagi
Sin bin: Wilson
Rankin, Clare, Mata’utia, Blair, Minikin, Trueman, Ellis, Maher, McShane, Millington, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey
Milner, Sene-Lefao, O’Neill, Smith
Tries: Clare, Milner, McMeeken, Sene-Lefao
Conversions: Ellis (3/4)
Penalties: Ellis (1/1)
*Match report by Matt Holden
**Photography by Melanie Allatt Photography
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