Castleford Tigers 19 Huddersfield Giants 31 - Jermaine McGillvary hat-trick secures Giants fightback

A HAT-TRICK from Jermaine McGillvary sealed a remarkable win for Huddersfield Giants last night as interim head coach Luke Robinson continued his excellent start in the job.

Having only taken over last week, he ended a long losing run with victory over Wakefield Trinity and followed up with this stunning success.

Castleford were 19-12 up approaching the hour mark but imploded towards the end and could not cope with the dual threat of brilliant Australian playmaker Aidan Sezer and the dashing zeal of young English centre Jake Wardle.

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It rounded off an excellent trio of Super League games at Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium and brought some much-needed light relief, too.

Aiden Sezer crosses the line to score a late try. Pictures: Jonathan Gawthorpe

As with all sports, difficulties are mounting off the pitch.

Hull FC owner Adam Pearson said yesterday it would “be an Armageddon” for rugby league clubs if crowds continued to be kept out of grounds until March and there was no further financial aid from the Government.

After witnessing last night’s error-strewn 28-22 defeat against Salford Red Devils, his misfiring club’s hopes of reaching the top-f0ur certainly looked like they had been hit by a meteorite.

With all this talk of the end of the world, Toronto Wolfpack, of course, should also find out today if their Super League days are ended.

Jermaine McGillvary celebrates scoring his hat-trick try.

Having pulled out of the competition in July due to financial issues, they hope to earn a reprieve for 2021 under new ownership when rival clubs meet to discuss their bid for reapplication this morning.

Wakefield Trinity, who are in action at Warrington tonight, revealed yesterday they are contemplating having a self-imposed five-day lockdown to enable them to “deep-clean” their facilities after they received a positive Covid test for a third week.

The two most recent results take their total number to six players who have contracted the virus with head coach Chris Chester saying a further eight players will miss this evening’s game against Wigan Warriors for track and trace reasons.

But clubs, amid all the uncertainty and difficulties, continue to play their part, completing fixtures to guarantee their broadcast income from Sky and giving fans - even if only from living rooms - something to get behind.

Castleford's Gareth O'Brien celebrates scoring the opening try of the match with Jesse Sene-Lafao.

They delivered plenty of action yesterday, Leeds Rhinos starting things off with a 41-16 win over Hull KR which leaves them handily-placed in the top-four as well as just 80 minutes from Wembley.

After Hull spluttered, Castleford and Huddersfield completed the exciting triumvirate of fixtures with a far tighter Yorkshire derby.

Tigers started well, opening up a 10-0 lead inside just 11 minutes.

A Mike McMeeken offload unleashed Gareth O’Brien, who did wonderfully well to round Huddersfield full-back Ashton Golding and score, converting himself.

Next, Jesse Sene-Lefao - the New Zealander second-row who played with all the energy of someone who had been cooped up for two weeks due to breaching a Covid protocol - burst through with a marauding run.

That set up position for Greg Eden to score, courtesy of excellent interplay from Paul McShane and Nathan Massey.

When McShane aimed a perfect 40/20, the artful hooker thought he had added a third try but he was pulled back for an obstruction.

It was crucial; soon after, Sezer - – the ‘marquee’ signing from Canberra Raiders – darted behind the ruck before producing a brilliant long pass to send McGillvary for the first of his two tries.

Sezer improved and, by the 22nd minute, had put his side 12-10 ahead after converting a brilliant team try finished off by Wardle’s dazzling run infield.

Castleford responded well, though, and after Calum Turner’s break, Chris McQueen was penalised allowing O’Brien to level in the 37th minute.

In the next set, O’Brien’s drop-goal put them 13-12 ahead and they seemed to have taken control when Eden picked up Turner’s off-cue kick at the start of the second half and set off on a weaving run before exchanging passes with McMeeken to give 21-year-old winger Jack Sanderson a debut try.

O’Brien missed the conversion attempt but added a penalty to leave them 19-12 ahead.

Nevertheless, they imploded on the hour mark with experienced Australian centre Cheyse Blair making an awful error.

Attacking the Huddersfield end, he fumbled Turner’s pass 30m out but dallied, showing his frustrations, rather than securing the loose ball.

Wardle seized his opportunity, showing far more alacrity to pick up and sprint 50m downfield.

James Clare hauled him but, in stark contrast to his own side, some precision passing from Giants saw Leroy Cudjoe feed McGillvary for his second.

Typically, Sezer improved from wide out and then levelled with a 67th minute drop goal.

And they scored in the next set, too, Wardle once more doing the damage before slipping inside for instigator Sezer to cross before McGillavry finished off in the final seconds after yet another Wardle break and fine Jordan Turner kick.

Castleford Tigers: Clare; Sanderson, Blair, Shenton, Eden; O’Brien, Turner; Watts, McShane, Griffin, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey. Substitutes: Millington,O’Neill, Hepi, Fleming.

Huddersfield Giants: Golding; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Jake Wardle, McIntosh; Turner, Sezer; Wilson, Holmes, Matagi, Edwards, McQueen, Lawrence. Substitutes: Russell, Wood, Trout, Gavet.

Referee: Liam Moore (Leeds).

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Thank you

James Mitchinson