Hodgson's hat-trick has Huddersfield looking up

Huddersfield 24 Castleford 0
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The Independent Online

Huddersfield went back into Super League's top three last night, but for a long time they were far from impressive against a depleted Castleford side.

A hat-trick of tries from David Hodgson pointed the Giants towards victory, but most of the credit went to Cas, short of half their first team for one reason or another.

It all looked stacked against Castleford long before the kick-off. Not only did Huddersfield have five players back after being rested for the shock defeat at Salford, Cas also left out two of their better players, Rangi Chase and Joe Westerman, for disciplinary reasons. "They didn't prepare in the right way," said coach Terry Matterson of his two miscreants. "It wasn't a hard decision to make. They've let their team mates down and they're no feeling good about it."

Despite all that, Castleford held their own through an untidy first 14 minutes during which the Giants often looked as nervous as their visitors. The home side went ahead when Kevin Brown did well to slip the ball out of the tackle to Lee Gilmour and his pass gave Paul Whatuira enough room to send David Hodgson over for a try to celebrate his 50th appearance for the club.

Brett Hodgson landed the conversion from the touchline and it seemed that plenty more points would follow without too much delay. That they failed to do so was partly due to the Tigers' determined defence, with their young full-back, Jordan Thompson, showing up particularly well.

The other factor was that the Giants so often let them off the hook with careless handling when they got into the danger area. Five minutes into the second half, the Giants at last began to take control, with a try that had much in common with their first. This time it was David Faiumu who got an offload away to Andy Raleigh. The ball went left, where Brett Hodgson's final pass sent his namesake in for his second.

Cas went on the attack but their period of pressure ended with Michael Cooper losing the ball driving over the try-line. With that went their chance of embarrassing the Giants. They continued to make them look ordinary, although Brown and Whatuira released Hodgson for his third, before Brough and Robinson sent in Jamahl Lolesi.

Huddersfield: B Hodgson; Lolesi, Lawrence, Whatuira, D Hodgson; Brown, Brough; Mason, Robinson, Griffin, Gilmour, Fa'alogo, Aspinwall. Substitutes used: Crabtree, Faiumu, Raleigh, Grix.

Castleford: Thompson; Ainscough, Shenton, Clayton, Wainwright; McGoldrick, Netherton; Jackson, Hudson, Huby, Cooper, Snitch, Jones. Substitutes used: Sargent, Higgins, Holmes, Tuson

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

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