The fourth to last round of matches in the regular Super League season get underway on Thursday evening when two teams who hope to be extending their campaign meet as the Huddersfield Giants welcome the Castleford Tigers to the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Giants will secure a playoff spot with a win here but Castleford will be no easy prey because they have a chasing pack close behind them in the race for a place in the top six so this is a game the Tigers can’t afford to lose.
Where to watch
The match will take place live and in full on the Sky Sports Action channel with the build-up at the John Smith’s Stadium beginning at 7.30pm and the kick off coming at 8pm.
The Huddersfield Giants are having an excellent season but you sense there is still another story to tell in it. They had a taste of the big time in the Challenge Cup earlier in the year when they made the final at Tottenham and will be eager to enjoy the delights of Old Trafford. They begin the night three points behind second placed Wigan so a win here would move them to within a point of a potential bye in the first round of the postseason.
Huddersfield lost last week against Salford Red Devils but they will be delighted to be back at home because they have won their last six matches in the Super League at the John Smith’s Stadium. It has to be said that they don’t blow opponents away as often as you would want them to but their relentless pressure based style certainly gets them over the line more often than not. If they can find that spark they are dangerous.
The Castleford Tigers kept their destiny in their own hands last week when they turned over the Catalans Dragons and another victory here will have them on the edge of securing a spot in the end of season finals. That would be a decent effort in their first season under the guidance of Lee Radford, not least because they have had a number of injuries over the course of the season. While they haven’t quite been able to find that consistency to push the top three, they have shown they can beat anyone on their day.
Castleford are one of the more entertaining teams to watch, especially when they have the spine of their side in place but they go into this match with just three wins in their last six outings. They need three wins in their final four matches to be assured of a spot in the playoffs so they will be eager to win here and give themselves some wiggle room. They have only scored 36 points in their last three matches which is a concern.
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Huddersfield Giants will definitely be without Jack Ashworth as he is suspended for this match but there is a chance they will have centre Ricky Leutele back in their side for this one. Olly Russell missed the win over Catalans through suspension but he is back for this one.
Castleford are going to be without Suaia Matagi and Adam Milner who are both suspended while Sosaia Feki is injured. They should have Jake Mamo and Danny Richardson available though and Jordan Turner could be involved.
I think the Huddersfield Giants will win this match with home advantage on their side but they are not the most free scoring team in the competition so I’m not so convinced they are certainties to cover a converted try in this match. The one thing we do know is that the Castleford Tigers won’t roll over in this match because they will leave the door wide open to those behind them in the table if they lose this one so I’m certainly expecting a very competitive game here.
I think the best way to play this game is to back a narrow Giants win. It is how they tend to win their matches. They have won their last six Super League home games and only one of those has been comfortable enough to be by more than a dozen so the Huddersfield 1-12 winning margin appeals here. Castleford went to St Helens a couple of weeks ago and only lost by eight so they can hang around with the best teams in the league and if they do that here any Huddersfield win should be by no more than 12 points.
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