16 Aug 2019

THE LOWDOWN: GIANTS VS TIGERS

All the information that you need to know ahead of our clash against the Castleford Tigers on Sunday afternoon

By Jack Robinson

The Brief

Sunday’s West Yorkshire derby sees high stakes for both sides, but for very different reasons. We currently sit two points above 12th placed London Broncos, so two points for us would be massive, as it would move us clearer of the drop zone. Whilst the Tigers are fighting for the playoffs, they currently lie in 6th place, so will need to go up by one if they are to make it in.

The Opposition

The Tigers have had a very up and down season so far, winning 13 and losing 12 of their opening 25 Betfred Super League games.

Castleford started the season with four consecutive wins in the league. They started the season with a 20-4 victory over the Catalans Dragons. This was followed by their first away victory of the season, a 26-18 victory at Hull FC. A 40-6 win at the London Broncos saw them round out February with a win.

A fourth win in a row followed as March began, a 32-16 win against Hull KR. Their first loss of the season came at Warrington, losing 24-10 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. They responded well, beating the Salford Red Devils 24-20 the following week. St Helens visited the Mend-A-Hose Jungle the following week and beat Cas 42-12. Six days later and the Tigers lost in their first golden point game of the season, a 21-20 defeat to the Leeds Rhinos after a Brad Dwyer drop-goal.

A 38-28 victory against the Wigan Warriors followed their agonising defeat the week before. In the first of the two other meetings between the Giants and the Tigers so far this year, the Giants emerged as 20-18 victors at the John Smith’s Stadium. A narrow victory followed the next week for Cas, a 28-26 win over Yorkshire rivals Wakefield Trinity. A 37-16 defeat in the South of France at the Catalans Dragons followed. A narrow 6-4 loss at the Wigan Warriors saw the Tigers end April poorly.

May didn’t start any better for Castleford, as they were beaten 26-14 at home by Warrington. A 28-12 defeat to Hull FC in the FA Cup followed that. They then visited Headingley for the second time this season, and won 30-8, before they lost 36-16 to the league leaders shield winners, St Helens, at Anfield.

Castleford then won two of their four games in June. Our second clash of the season against the Tigers went to golden point, with Castleford winning 27-26. A 31-18 loss at home to Hull FC followed, the Salford Red Devils then made it back to back defeats for the West Yorkshire side, as Castleford lost 26-16 in Greater Manchester. They rounded out June with a 42-10 win over the London Broncos.

Form

The two sides have five wins between them in their last ten Betfred Super League games. Castleford winning three, whilst we have won twice.

Both teams had contrasting fortunes in the first week of July, we beat the Salford Red Devils, 36-18 in Greater Manchester, whilst the Tigers were beaten 18-10 at home by Yorkshire rivals, Leeds.

Roles were reversed the following weekend, Castleford beat Yorkshire rivals, Wakefield Trinity, 36-16 at Belle Vue, whilst we were narrowly beaten 32-28 at home by the Catalans Dragons.

The two sides did win on the same weekend a three weeks ago. We beat Hull KR in East Yorkshire, 18-12, whilst the Tigers beat Challenge Cup finalists, Warrington, 27-18 in West Yorkshire.

Both sides began August with losses, we were beaten 44-0 at home by Leeds, whilst Hull KR beat the Tigers 27-26, after a Danny McGuire drop-goal in golden point.

Last weekend saw us travel to Salford for the second time in just over a month but were beaten 32-12 by the Red Devils. On the other hand, Castleford beat the London Broncos 20-6.

Key Players

Jesse Sene-Lefao

Jesse Sene-Lefao has been a key player for the Tigers since signing from the Cronulla Sharks in 2017. The forward has played in 20 of the Tigers’ 25 Betfred Super League games so far this season, scoring six tries.

Lefao has made 1816 metres so far this year, with an average gain of 7.01 metres per carry. He has also made 26 offloads this season, as well as 42 tackle busts.

Kruise Leeming

Kruise Leeming has featured in 24 of our 25 Betfred Super League games so far this campaign. He has scored six tries, as well as adding eleven assists.

The hooker has made 1348 metres this season, with an average gain of 6.10 metres per carry. Leeming has also made 166 runs from dummy half.

Leeming impresses in defence too, having made 736 tackles so far this season, with 149 marker tackles.

Key Battle

Lee Gaskell v Jake Trueman

The key battle this week sees two half-backs who could go head to head on Sunday afternoon. The numbers sixes will be looking to control the game for their respective sides. Jacob Trueman has featured in all but one of Castleford’s games this season, whilst Lee Gaskell has played in 17 of our 25 games.

Gaskell has scored four tries this season, assisting a further thirteen for the Giants. Trueman has scored five times for the Tigers, assisting a further eleven tries.

Trueman has made the most attacking kicks in the competition so far this season, with 146, Gaskell has made 81. Trueman has also made 1518 metres so far this season, with an average of 6.22 metres per carry. On the other hand, Gaskell has made 1259 metres, with an average gain of 7.49 metres per carry.

Gaskell has made 13 clean breaks this season, compared to Trueman’s 12.

Previous Games

As already noted, the two sides have met twice already this season, once at the John Smith’s Stadium, with the other at The Jungle, with each side winning one a-piece.

The first meeting between the two sides took place in April at the John Smith’s Stadium, where we won 20-18.

The Tigers got out the blocks quick in this one, Greg Eden giving them a 2nd minute lead, Peter Mata’utia made it 6-0. We responded in the 13th minute, Lee Gaskell with the break and he offloaded to Alex Mellor on his outside, he strolled in under the sticks. Darnell McIntosh’s conversion levelled the scores at 6-6. Mata’utia kicked a 23rd minute penalty to give the Tigers an 8-6 lead at the break.

Mellor then scored his second two minutes into the second half, going through a gap after a flat pass by Matt Frawley, McIntosh’s conversion increased our lead to 12-8. Matt Cook responded shortly after with a try of his own, Mata’utia’s conversion regained the Tigers’ lead at 14-12. We kicked a penalty of our own from McIntosh to make it 14-14. The Tigers fullback then added two more penalties to make it 18-14 to the visitors. Mellor then completed his hattrick with less than ten minutes left to give us the lead. We went down the short side and Jermaine McGillvary passed on his side to Mellor, he then powered his way over the level the scores, McIntosh’s conversion gave us a 20-18 lead, and we held on, to win the game at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The second meeting between the two sides was another tight contest, with golden point giving the Tigers a 27-26 win in June.

A 13th minute Mata’utia penalty gave the hosts a 2-0 lead, he added another ten minutes later to make it 4-0. We scored the first try of the game though, Lee Gaskell avoiding some tackles to score on the right-hand side. Oliver Russell’s conversion gave us a 6-4 lead. Gaskell then added his second a few minutes later, forcing his way over from close range, Russell’s conversion made it 12-4. The hosts got their first try just before the break, Mata’utia’s kick was fumbled before Greg Minikin scored to reduce the deficit. Mata’utia’s conversion made it 12-10 to us at the break.

The Tigers fullback added a penalty in the second half to level the scores at 12-12. Gaskell then completed his hattrick just before the hour mark, selling a great dummy to score underneath the sticks. Russell’s conversion gave us an 18-12 lead. Liam Watts then powered over from close range, Mata’utia’s conversion levelling it at 18-18, he added a penalty a few minutes later to make it 20-18. We then kicked a penalty of our own to make it 20-20 with less than ten minutes left. Joe Wardle then squeezed his way over with five minutes left to regain our lead, Russell’s conversion made it 26-20. Grant Millington then scored two minutes later, Mata’utia’s conversion making it 26-26, and sending us to golden point.

Several drop-goal attempts were missed by both sides, before Mata’utia landed a fatal blow by kicking the golden point to give the Tigers the win.

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