26 May 2023
GIANTS TAME THE TIGERS FOR A SECOND TIME | MATCH REPORT
Huddersfield Giants got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 20-4 victory over Castleford Tigers, Theo Fages instrumental on his home return.
Ian Watson reshuffled his pack for the visit of Castleford Tigers to the John Smith’s Stadium in the hope his Giants side would record a first win in four competitive outings. Tui Lolohea, Innes Senior, Nathan Peats, Matty English, Chris McQueen and Luke Yates were all recalled to the starting thirteen.
The Giants struck first after just four minutes. A high bomb from Theo Fages was spilt by Castleford full-back Gareth Widdop into the path of a grateful Tui Lolohea who fired a long ball to his left and found Esan Marsters to jink inside and cross for the first try of the game. Jake Connor kicked the conversion to make it 6-0.
A matter of minutes later, the Giants were awarded a penalty 10 metres out due to a ball strip from the Castleford defence, which Jake Connor duly dispatched over the posts to make it 8-0.
Luke Yates led the Giants superbly with some intense defence in the opening 20 minutes, forcing a goal-line dropout to force repeat sets for our visitors to defend. With Theo Fages and Jake Connor linking up expertly, we forced a third set in a row with some aggressive defence from which the referee awarded the Giants a penalty. Connor kicked the goal confidently to make it 10-0.
Castleford got themselves on the scoreboard after 29 minutes. Jake Bibby knocked on as he failed to deal with a high kick which earnt Cas a scrum 10 metres out. Alex Mellor received the ball from the scrum-play and powered through a gap in the defence to cross. The conversion from the touchline was missed by Gareth Widdop to leave the score at 10-4.
The Giants went in at half-time as 10-4 leaders in a half which ebbed and flowed at times but leaves the Giants leading by six going into the second 40.
Castleford fired out of the blocks at the start of the second half, having a try disallowed and forcing repeat sets in the opening 5 minutes of the second 40. The Giants’ defence withstood huge amounts of pressure through breaks from George Lawler and after Paul McShane was adjudged to have been held up the Giants finally got their hands on the ball and relieved the Cas pressure.
Innes Senior struck from the Giants’ first attack of the half to increase the lead. Off the back of some impressive defence, the Giants went from one end of the field to the other. Fages received the ball from dummy half and some fast hands from the Frenchman, Lolohea and Marsters led to Innes Senior strolling in unchallenged in the corner to score our second of the game. Connor narrowly missed the conversion from the touchline as the scoreboard read 14-4.
Kevin Naiqama got himself on the scoresheet for the second successive home game with 15 minutes of the half gone. Even more aggressive defence led to Bureta Farimo being forced into touch 25 metres out from his own line. From the resulting set, the Giants worked it right to Naiqama who was released by Fages short ball to glide through the defence and cross under the sticks. Connor was successful with the conversion which made the score 20-4.
Castleford had a golden chance to get themselves to within 10 points of the Giants as the game entered its final 10 minutes. Elliot Wallis was released down the left with acres to run into with a man inside and only Lolohea to beat. However, his pass inside to Jacob Miller was extremely forward and the ball was back in the Giants’ hands to close out the victory.
The final 10 of the game were extremely comfortable and a combination of mistakes and highly impressive defence kept Castleford at bay. An added impetus in attack and aggressiveness in defence were key components to the performance as the Giants got back to winning ways in the Betfred Super League.
By Thomas Pearson
Final Score – Huddersfield Giants 20-4 Castleford Tigers
HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS - Tui Lolohea, Jake Bibby, Kevin Naiqama, Esan Marsters, Innes Senior, Jake Connor, Theo Fages, Chris Hill, Nathan Peats, Matty English, Leroy Cudjoe, Chris McQueen, Luke Yates
INTERCHANGES - Adam O’Brien, Joe Greenwood, Harry Rushton, Seb Ikahihifo. 18th Man, Sam Halsall
TRIES – Marsters, Senior, Naiqama
GOALS – Connor 2/3
PENALTY GOALS – Connor 2/2