DARYL POWELL has explained just what pain Jy Hitchcox went through to score the hat-trick that won Castleford Tigers a remarkable game.
The winger, who joined from Featherstone Rovers last winter, claimed the last of his treble in the 75th minute as the depleted hosts earned their fourth win of the season.
Missing regular wide men Denny Solomona and Joel Monaghan among 10 first teamers injured, Australian Hitchcox has made his mark this term.
But Powell revealed: “He’s been having around 25 injections in his hand over the last two weeks to play so it’s a real tough effort from him.
“He dislocated three fingers against Leeds that went back in – it’s not broken – but his hand is black.
“He hadn’t trained all week and has to have painkilling injections just to train so to finish in the way he did was impressive.”
Castleford, having also lost Grant Millington to an early thigh injury, looked destined for a fifth loss in six games when Huddersfield prop Sam Rapira powered over for Danny Brough to make it 30-22 after 62 minutes.
With Giants’ greater experience, the visitors looked readied to finish them off.
However, Powell’s side, with 20-year-old stand-off Tom Holmes impressing in his first start, hit back in style with three tries in seven minutes.
Adam Milner ripped possession from Rapira for Luke Gale to send out a long pass for Hitchcox’s second try and then Jake Webster powered through Giants full-back Ryan Brierley to give Castleford the lead.
Hitchcox added his third after some quality out wide from full-back Ryan Hampshire and it proved crucial as Huddersfield’s England winger Jermaine McGillvary completed his own treble in the dying stages to leave them just four points behind at the end.
“It was a crazy game,” admitted Powell, who saw second-row Mike McMeeken (2) and winger Greg Minikin get their other tries, Gale adding five goals.
“And it was a massive win. I said to (assistant) Danny Orr before the game about whether we’d have enough to beat them but we did, just about.
“Galey came up with some key plays at the end and I thought young Tom Holmes did well.
“To beat Leeds and Huddersfield here despite being down on troops is big for us and for some of the young kids to get experience was great.
“There’s a couple of clubs who’ve responded well to new coaches such as Wakefield and Hull KR – and the competition is real tight, so it’s an important victory.
“It wasn’t a great spectacle; there were a lot of errors and high drama with the ending, but from a coach’s point of view, it wasn’t one for the purists.”
Huddersfield’s England centre Leroy Cudjoe scored a brace with Brough slotting five goals but last season’s Super League semi-finalists remain rooted to the bottom of the table with just one win from nine games.
Castleford head to Widnes Vikings on Sunday with Powell hoping to have Junior Moors and Monaghan fit once more.
Castleford Tigers: Hampshire; Minikin, Crooks, Webster, Hitchcox; Holmes, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Jewitt, McMeeken, Millington, Massey. Substitutes: Cook, McShane, Mayher, Boyle.
Huddersfield Giants: Brierley; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy; Brough, Connor; Rapira, Hinchcliffe, Huby, Lawrence, Ta’ai, Roberts. Substitutes: Crabtree, Patrick, Mason, M Wood.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).