England winger Jermaine McGillvary scored a hat-trick of tries but interim coach Luke Robinson singled out centre Jake Wardle for praise after his side’s 31-19 win over Castleford.
The Giants were trailing 19-12 to Castleford after an hour but scored 19 points in the final quarter to ensure back-to-back wins for their caretaker boss.
“Jerry has been so consistent over the years, you expect it from him,” said Robinson.
“Jake Wardle showed why the NRL were all over him before we managed to secure his signature, he was the best player on the field, he was sensational.
“He’s one of the most naturally gifted players I’ve been amongst.”
Absolute class and he’ll only get better 🙌🏾
— Leroy Cudjoe (@Elroy_cudj) September 24, 2020
In a gripping finish to the game, Huddersfield captain Aiden Sezer converted McGillvary’s second try from the touchline to bring them to within a point and levelled the scores with a drop goal.
The Australian scrum-half then came up with the all-important try 11 minutes from the end and McGillvary applied the finishing touches by completing his hat-trick.
“I don’t think we played that well,” Robinson added. “From the kick-off, we looked a bit nervous and a bit disfunctional in attack. We’ve played a lot better and lost games.
“I’m proud we showed a bit of steel and resilience. From 10-0 down, we kept fighting for each other and I’ve just told them that, if we keep turning up with same attitude and show the same character, we will progress this year.
“At 19-12, I was a little bit frustrated. I still felt the game was there to be won. I felt we just needed a bit better execution and we would cause them some problems, fortunately we did.”
It meant a sixth defeat in seven league and cup matches since the resumption for Castleford, whose top-four hopes are now hanging by a thread.
“I thought we were really good for large parts of the game,” said coach Daryl Powell. “There were some real swings in the game and we on the wrong end of those.”
Without both regular half-backs Jake Trueman and Danny Richardson because of injury, Powell was forced to play a makeshift pairing in Calum Turner and Gareth O’Brien.
“It’s a nightmare, losing both your half-backs,” Powell said. “We’re cobbling together teams every week.
“The whole world is tough at the moment but we’ve probably been affected as much as anybody.
“We’re battling our way through quite a few things at the moment. As a result, we have limited consistency in what we’re doing as a team.
“We’re just hurting ourselves too much at times. We’re doing a good job for large periods but we lose concentration a little bit too often in games at the moment.
“The one thing I will say, since lockdown we’ve been in all the games. It’s frustrating but we’ve just got to keep working hard.
“We will keep being positive and keep striving to achieve something. We will need to win all our games to have a shot at it and I think we’re capable of that.”
Listen to The Final Hooter podcast, featuring exclusive interviews, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on Apple Podcasts.