Castleford narrowly progressed to the Challenge Cup semi-final on Saturday evening, but it almost didn’t go the Tigers’ way.
A 19-18 Golden Point victory over Salford should probably have been sorted before full-time as a last-second Lee Mossop try helped the Red Devils take it to extra-time. But, one key catalyst for Salford’s revival was the sinbinning of Gareth O’Brien and later Liam Watts, something which the former made up for with the winning drop-goal.
“I think I was getting the sack if it didn’t go over,” O’Brien joked to Tigers TV.
“It was a silly sinbinning and then I give a penalty away to march them down the field.
“Obviously Lee Mossop goes over and I had to step up and thankfully my drop-goal went over and I’m delighted to be in the semis.”
Practice clearly made perfect for O’Brien, who revealed that head coach Daryl Powell had been getting into the Castleford playmakers’ ribs about the importance of one-pointers.
“Powelly has been into us about practicing; me, Danny (Richardson), and Truey (Jake Trueman) are knocking at least 20 over each week in training now.
“Thankfully that one was first time and it didn’t take us 20 minutes like at Hull KR.”
Up next in the Challenge Cup will be Warrington and O’Brien couldn’t be more excited.
“It will be a cracker and hopefully I can get selected for that against my hometown club.
“The prize is a Challenge Cup final and I haven’t been to one yet so that would be incredible.”
It seems bizarre, but the former Salford and Toronto man has yet to take to the field at Castleford as a home player in front of fans, something which will be changing on Monday.
“I’m buzzing for the return; I’ve not played at the Jungle with fans there being on the home side.
“I’ve been there plenty of times as an away player, so I know how hostile the crowd can be so I’m looking forward to that and I’m ready to attack training next week.”