7 Jun 2019

Castleford win late drama

Full-back Peter Mata’utia struck in the seventh minute of extra time to give Castleford Tigers a 27-26 victory over Huddersfield Giants.

A try on his 200th appearance from prop Grant Millington three minutes from the end of normal time enabled the Tigers to level the match at 26-26 and set up the fourth Betfred Super League match to be decided by golden point this year.

It was a cruel outcome for stand-off Lee Gaskell, who scored a hat-trick of tries only to find himself on the losing team.

Two of his tries came in the first half, where a pair of penalties from Mata’utia and Greg Minikin's try helped Castleford cut the half-time deficit to 12-10. A third penalty drew the hosts level but Gaskell completed his treble, only for Liam Watts to pull the Tigers back to 18-18.

Mata’utia kicked another penalty to put Castleford ahead, however former Tiger Joe Wardle crashed over for Huddersfield for what looked to be the match-winning try until Millington’s late score.

Castleford half-backs Jake Trueman and Jordan Rankin both missed drop-goal attempts but Mata’utia proved to be the hero in the 87th minute.

Huddersfield head Simon Woolford said: “I’d rather get beat by 30, especially when we were in a winning position a number of times.

“We’ve lost three games this year by a point and each time we’ve self-destructed. Each time we were in winning positions and blew every one.

“There was lots of good stuff out there. We started off slow but worked our way into the game and scored some nice tries.

“But the way we self-destructed is just not good enough and it’s not going to be accepted.

“Give Cas credit, they hung in but we weren’t able to close the game out and in the first half of extra time we gifted them three opportunities. It should have been over then.

“If you are a good enough footy team, you close that game out. In golden point, it’s the team that holds their nerve that comes out on top.

“When it’s tight like that, you’ve got to work as a team, not individuals, and going for field goals 50 metres out is sheer stupidity.”

Castleford boss Daryl Powell said: “It was an energy sapper, that’s for sure. It was a really tough game, a nervy one for us.

“Huddersfield have been playing exceptionally well, they were on a bit of a roll and we showed lot of character to win it.

“We played some pretty dumb stuff at times but we needed to win and it feels pretty important.

“It looked like it was going to go the full 10 minutes in extra time. We had a few opportunities to win it. We had a couple of drop-goal efforts, some pea-rollers and a flapper, and then an absolute belter from Peter Mata’utia.”