Unbelievable way to reach Grand Final, says Castleford Tigers boss

Head coach Daryl Powell admitted the manner of Castleford Tigers’ victory over St Helens in their Betfred Super League semi-final was “unbelievable”.

The Tigers started like a house on fire with a try in the first minutes, but St Helens hit back to be 10-8 ahead at the break.

Luke Gale turns to celebrate scoring the wining drop-goal for Castleford Tigers against St Helens. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Luke Gale turns to celebrate scoring the wining drop-goal for Castleford Tigers against St Helens. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Again Cas appeared to take charge to open up a 10-point lead in the second half only for Saints to score three tries in the last 10 minutes, but fail with all the conversions, to lead 22-20.

The drama continued as the Tigers got ball back from the final restart then were awarded a penalty right on the hooter, which was kicked by Luke Gale - back on the field just 16 days after having his appendix out.

In extra-time Gale then kicked an injury-time drop-goal to clinch a truly unbelievable 23-22 victory.

After the game Cas boss Powell said: “I’ve not really got my breath back. It was unbelievable at the end.

“It was crazy game. We got a 10-point cushion, which I thought probably should have been enough, but we got a little soft on our try-line.

“But ultimately it’s unbelievable for us to get those two points and come out on top in extra-time.

“Regardless of how you play sometimes you’ve just got to get to win the game.

“I’m delighted for everybody at the club that we’ve made the final.”

Powell continued: “When they scored at the end you just need to get the ball back. It was an awesome kick by Zak (Hardaker) to win us the ball back and then we got a penalty, which we had struggled to get all night to be fair, and Galey held his nerve.

Powell spoke about extra-time tactics when just one score wins matches under the nerve jangling golden point rule.

He said: “To go into extra-time, it becomes interesting with the seven-tackle rule; you really have to be careful of what you go with.

“I think we went too early with Luke’s first attempt and gave them those seven tackles as they did to us as well.

“But that drop-goal was world class and to get it over the top of the onrushing defenders was pretty special.”

On Gale’s fitness after his appendix operation, Powell added: “He looked okay on Monday but I wanted to give him until Wednesday to see how he came out.

“It was a phenomenal effort for Luke to get himself on the field in such a short space of time.

“He’s come through okay – but might have hurt himself when everybody dive on him at the end there! But he’ll be all right.”