Drop-goal hero Luke Gale played down his part in Castleford Tigers’ first victory at Hull’s KC Stadium for five years, but was in no doubt that the team had played well to keep their unbeaten start to the season going.
Scrum-half Gale, who was this week among five Super League players put forward as nominations for the first player of the month award of 2016, was impressed with the way his team took the game to a good Hull FC side.
He said: “It was a really good performance to go toe-to-toe with Hull in their back garden and it’s one of the best wins we’ve had since I got here.
“I thought the boys were outstanding. We were still a bit scratchy in areas but once it comes together after a few more games I think we’ll be in a really good place.”
Gale reckoned the wingers in particular were deserving of praise with Jy Hitchcox going over for two tries on the right and Denny Solomona scoring three on the left.
He said: “Jy’s debut was one of the best I’ve ever seen.
“He’s a strange character, but the boys love him and he was outstanding at Hull.
“And I don’t think Denny gets the credit he deserves. I think he’s one of the best finishers in the game.
“If some of those tries he scored were scored in the NRL they’d be shown over and over again.
“The one he scored last time out against Wakefield was just fantastic. You just give him the ball and let him score, it’s as easy as that.”
Gale reflected on his first drop-goal for Cas, which came at a vital time to nudge the Tigers ahead late in the game against Hull.
He added: “A few people have given me grief afterwards saying I don’t kick many drop goals. I used to kick them all the time. I can remember winning an Academy game at Hull 1-0, believe it or not – and I kicked the drop goal.
“It was for Leeds’ Under-21s in the Academy Grand Final – and I think that was the last one I did!
“Benny (Roberts) has knocked a couple over before, but I just thought I’d have a go and as soon as you strike them you know if they’re going over or not. It was just another part of a really good win.”
Gale’s team-mate Ben Crooks enjoyed his return to Hull with his new Cas team.
He said: “I think it opens everyone’s eyes to what we’re here to do this year.
“We’re here to do a job. We’re not here to be there or thereabouts but we want to win something.
“This victory proves to people we’re capable of something special and it proves to us as a group that we’re onto something.
“It was a tough battle but I really enjoyed it. We really ground it out, we did it tough and we knew it would come down to whoever wanted it most, whoever dug deepest and I think we certainly did that.”
Crooks added: “The win came down to a bit of everything. We weren’t the best in all departments but we dug deep and that’s what you’ve got to do sometimes.
“We did what we needed to do; we did the hard stuff right and although it was scrappy we did enough.
“Hull fought back well in the first half from 18-6 down; they’re going to be a top team this year.
“But we go to Saints next Friday which will be another tough challenge.
“We can’t be complacent; we’ve got to go there with the same attitude we’ve shown here.”