Huddersfield Giants lost via the new golden point rule for the third time this season as they fell to an agonising 27-26 defeat at the hands of Castleford Tigers.
Peter Mata’utia kicked a dramatic golden-point drop goal to give Castleford Tigers a thrilling extra-time win against Huddersfield Giants at The Jungle to keep them within 4 points of Hull FC in fourth.
The kick came in the seventh minute of the extra period, meaning Lee Gaskell’s fantastic hat-trick was in vain and the Giants continue to look over their shoulders at the teams below.
The teams traded blows in a classic Super League grudge match and, as they could not be separated in 80 minutes, a 10-minute ‘golden point’ period came into play for the third time for Huddersfield this season – they have now lost all three.
Mata’utia kicked a 12th minute penalty to open the scoring for Castleford and doubled the lead eight minutes later when he hit another impressive strike from 40 metres.
But, on 25 minutes, Gaskell went over for a resurgent Huddersfield side for the first try of the game and Oliver Russell added the extras to put the Yorkshire side ahead – and the pair took just six minutes more to repeat the feat.
Greg Minikin then reduced the lead when he capitalised on a loose ball before crossing for Castleford’s maiden try, with in-form Mata’utia converting.
As the game ebbed and flowed, Jermaine McGillivary had a try disallowed for the visitors early in the second forty before Mata’utia slotted another kick to draw Castleford level.
But the Giants weren’t about to lie down, and Gaskell completed his hat-trick on 57 minutes after a powerful break-away from Darnelll McIntosh.
Castleford, however, came fighting back immediately through Liam Watts and Mata’utia converted yet again to tie the scores at 18-18. The two kickers then traded points as the scores edged higher.
Joe Wardle then went over for Huddersfield as they looked to finally take control of proceedings, but Castleford hit back again with Grant Millington’s try to take it to extra time, where Mata’utia won it for the hosts.
The win put Tigers fifth, two points clear of sixth-place Wakefield, while Huddersfield stay eighth.
Castleford can rely on Mata’utia
Kicking seven goals and adding the winning strike, Mata’utia was most certainly Castleford’s best performer – getting them out of jail in a game that they could, and perhaps should, have lost.
Huddersfield were sloppy
I’ve written this many times already in 2019, but Huddersfield were far too sloppy in a game that was there for the taking. They conceded far too many cheap points and when that happens, any side would struggle to beat the Tigers.
Gaskell is on form
That being said, they are still deadly going forwards and Lee Gaskell stood out once more. Not only did he score the hattrick to keep the Giants in contention, but his overall play has become consistently impressive in recent weeks – and it will need to continue.
Castleford can still get into the top 4
There is a long way to go in the Super League campaign, and Castleford are probably thankful for that. Their poor start saw them drop away from the leading pack, but their resurgent run means that they’re breathing down the necks of Hull FC in fourth. Anything less would surely see 2019 branded a failure.
Castleford Tigers 27
Tries: Minikin, Watts, Millington.
Goals: Mata’utia (7)
Drop Goals: Mata’utia
Huddersfield Giants 26
Tries: Gaskell (3), Joe Wardle
Goals: Russell (5)
Drop Goals: n/a
Castleford Tigers: Blair, Clare, Clarkson, Eden, Massey, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Minikin, Rankin, Smith, Trueman, Watts.
Interchanges: Clark, Cook, Millington, Milner.
Huddersfield Giants: McIntosh, McGillvary, Turner, Matagi, Murphy, Gaskell, Mellor, O’Brien, English, Jake Wardle, Russell, Innes Senior, Joe Wardle.
Interchanges: Clough, Leeming, Ta’ai, Lawrence.