Castleford Tigers 0 Huddersfield Giants 28: Andy Last sacked after fifth defeat in a row

As the boos rang out after another insipid performance by Castleford Tigers, there was nowhere left for the Wheldon Road hierarchy to go.

The club wasted no time in sacking Andy Last, bringing an end to an experiment that was always destined to fail.

Last was an unpopular appointment after being promoted from his assistant role under previous boss Lee Radford and had been treading water ever since.

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A 15th defeat in 19 games under Last forced the Castleford board to act with six matches left to save their Super League status, granting the crowd’s wish after repeated calls for his head on Friday night.

It is looking increasingly bleak for the Tigers following a fifth loss in a row that had all the hallmarks of a team on the brink of the drop.

The one-sided result lifts Wakefield Trinity off the bottom for the first time since round two and leaves Castleford fighting to turn the tide ahead of their pivotal trip to Belle Vue on August 18.

All the momentum appears to be with Wakefield and they now have the chance to move two points clear when they travel to Hull FC on Sunday.

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While the Tigers hurtle towards the Championship, Huddersfield Giants continue to go quietly about their business.

Adam Milner is mobbed after scoring against his old club. (Picture by Bruce Rollinson)Adam Milner is mobbed after scoring against his old club. (Picture by Bruce Rollinson)
Adam Milner is mobbed after scoring against his old club. (Picture by Bruce Rollinson)

After scoring six tries to ease past Castleford and make it four wins in a row to move to within four points of the top six, Ian Watson may not be able to dampen expectations for much longer.

Sam Halsall scored a hat-trick to continue his fine start to life at Huddersfield, while former favourite Adam Milner rubbed salt into Castleford wounds with a late try.

But for Olly Russell's wayward goalkicking, the result would have been even more comprehensive.

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Castleford could not hide their confidence issues and the Giants were in the mood to take advantage.

Andy Last has left his role as Castleford boss. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/ Last has left his role as Castleford boss. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/
Andy Last has left his role as Castleford boss. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/

Alex Mellor was guilty of a series of errors in a nervy start by the Tigers that left the home fans fearing the worst.

The tension inside Castleford's creaking stadium was palpable as Huddersfield turned the screw – and the visitors did not have to wait long for their opening try.

A loose pass by Mellor on his own line resulted in a drop-out and the Giants made the most of the field position, Russell and Jake Connor combining to give Halsall the room to finish in the corner.

Seven minutes in and the Tigers were already rocking.

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Sam Halsall scores the Giants' opening try. (Picture by Bruce Rollinson)Sam Halsall scores the Giants' opening try. (Picture by Bruce Rollinson)
Sam Halsall scores the Giants' opening try. (Picture by Bruce Rollinson)

Russell missed his touchline attempt and then fumbled Gareth Widdop's grubber kick to give Castleford a look at the Huddersfield line.

But their confidence took another hit after failing to test the visitors and there was no surprise about what came next.

Energised by the strong defensive stint, the Giants went down the other end and extended their lead through Leroy Cudjoe.

The home fans screamed for a forward pass but Russell's line ball was cleared by the officials and Cudjoe did the rest after steaming through a hole in the Castleford defence.

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Russell added his first goal of the night to make it 10-0, which already had the look of an unassailable lead just 17 minutes in.

The Tigers slowly edged their way into the contest and showed much-needed defensive resolve when they held up Ashton Golding after Connor's cross-field kick was palmed back.

Billy Tsikrikas and debutant Liam Horne injected a bit of life into Castleford after being introduced together but the spark quickly fizzled out.

The Tigers' attacking shape was predictable and they never looked like scoring on a dispiriting night for the locals.

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Halsall offered Castleford a chance to attack the line after being penalised in possession but there was a collective groan when Widdop knocked on in the next set.

The mood of the home fans did not improve after seeing Huddersfield cruise upfield and land a decisive blow just before half-time, the evergreen Chris McQueen plonking the ball down in the corner to continue his impressive form.

A fifth try in four games was the perfect gift for the back-rower in the week that he celebrated his 36th birthday.

Russell's touchline conversion dropped short but Huddersfield virtually had the points in the bag at 14-0.

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A smattering of boos and chants of "We want Lasty out" could be heard as the players left the field at the interval, along with hopeful cheers from the main stand as they tried to summon a response from the home side.

But the pattern of the game continued after the break with Castleford unable to lay a glove on the determined Giants.

Halsall slid over from Connor's bullet pass to put the game to bed and even the sight of Russell missing another conversion could not lift the Tigers' spirits.

Cries of "Sack the board" rang out as Nathan Massey dropped the ball 10 metres out after being put through a hole by front-row partner Suaia Matagi.

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One half-chance aside, Huddersfield held the Tigers at arm's length with ease and finished with a flourish.

Halsall completed his hat-trick after good work by Cudjoe and Milner landed one final blow on his old club when he crashed over from close range.

Castleford Tigers: Widdop, Wallis, Tasipale, Mellor, Eden, Broadbent, Miller, Matagi, Johnstone, Lawler, Edwards, Foster, Westerman. Substitutes: Massey, Hall, Tsikrikas, Horne.

Huddersfield Giants: Connor, Halsall, Bibby, Marsters, Golding, Lolohea, Russell, Wilson, Milner, Hill, McQueen, Cudjoe, English. Substitutes: Peats, Greenwood, Ikahihifo, Hewitt.

Referee: Tom Grant.

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