Two West Yorkshire clubs hoping to wrap up a favourable position in the play-offs as the season draws to a close meet this week.
Huddersfield come into the game after a surprise and somewhat lacklustre defeat to Salford which leaves them needing to recreate their momentum as the play-off looms and leaves them with work to do in terms of wrapping up third position in the table.
As for the Tigers, despite injuries they continue to plough ahead towards wrapping up a place in the top six and a win here would be priceless to their efforts and lay down a marker in terms of underlining their Grand Final credentials.
As casualty to their shock defeat to Salford last week, Jack Ashworth will be absent this week after picking up a ban. Ashworth joins Will Pryce in being absent through a suspension. In more positive news Ricky Leutele is back from his injury but Josh Jones will miss the game with a groin problem.
Compounding their injury crisis, Lee Radford has lost two more players this week but this time to suspension as both Adam Milner and Suaia Matagi picked up bans in the win over Catalans. Like Huddersfield, the Tigers welcome back a star centre in Jordan Turner whilst Jake Mamo and Cheyse Blair also return to the squad. Sosaia Feki’s Castleford career is now over it seems.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Tui Lolohea vs Greg Eden: Tui Lolohea and Greg Eden are very different players. With Lolohea at fullback it is essentially like having a stand-off at one whilst with Eden at the back for Cas it’s like having a winger at fullback, a strike weapon. So, it’s a clash of styles but two players who will have an impact on the offensive side of their team’s performance. The one who shines the most may lead their team to victory.
Theo Fages vs Gareth O’Brien: Gareth O’Brien stood up last week against Catalans. He led the way for the Tigers and linked their attack masterfully. O’Brien will be up against Theo Fages who still showed some good touches in the defeat to Salford and, on the back of a strong pack, could dictate the game.
Luke Yates vs Joe Westerman: A clash at styles at loose-forward this week as Luke Yates battles with Joe Westerman. Luke Yates is a real warrior who will look to tear through the Tigers’ middle whilst Joe Westerman will look to utilise his skill to stretch the Giants’ middle and if he can do that Cas can cause Huddersfield problems.
Where the game will be won and lost:
Not only will this game be a clash of styles at loose-forward but it’ll be a clash of styles in general as Huddersfield will likely look to plough through the Tigers, building their processes and subsequent pressure in the hope that will overwhelm the Tigers as it often does. But recently Huddersfield have been caught out at the start of games struggling to get into their traditional processes especially against expansive attacks which is what Castleford will look to bring. It should make this an interesting battle in which the start is key.
Score Prediction: Huddersfield Giants 28-20 Castleford Tigers