Scrum-half Liam Finn marked his recall with a brace of tries as Castleford got the better of below-strength Huddersfield in a 13-try feast.
Ireland’s World Cup captain was dropped for the previous game at Widnes but proved a point on his return with a man-of-the-match performance as the Tigers strengthened their positionby going third in the First Utility Super League with a 44-30 victory over last year’s league leaders.
Huddersfield could hardly have made a better start, with makeshift hooker Chris Bailey forcing his way over from dummy half for the first of his two tries after front rower Antonio Kaufusi had hauled down short of the line just four minutes into the game.
Leroy Cudjoe added the conversion but the Tigers struck back five minutes later with the first contribution from Marc Sneyd, who had an accomplished game at full-back.
He collected Luke Robinson’s harmless kick deep inside his own half and scythed through the fragmented visitors’ defence to get second rower Oliver Holmes over for a try.
Sneyd was wide with the conversion attempt and Huddersfield extended their lead on 12 minutes when Cudjoe picked off Finn’s pass and sprinted 90 metres unopposed for his side’s second try, which made it 12-4 with his second goal.
Blockbusting winger Justin Carney grabbed a trademark try, proving unstoppable from 15 metres out after taking a pass from skipper Michael Shenton.
Just 17 seconds were left on the clock in the first half when Castleford took the lead for the first time as Huddersfield failed to deal with Finn’s high kick on the last tackle and allowed the former Featherstone scrum-half to regather and touch down.
Sneyd’s second goal gave his side a four-point lead interval lead and it took them just four minutes of the second half to build on it as replacement hooker Adam Milner burrowed his way over from dummy half.
The game was completely turned on its head three minutes later when Finn’s pinpoint kick to the corner found Dixon with the space and time to touch down – and the Tigers made it three tries in 10 minutes when the immaculate Shenton broke clear to get Finn over for his second.
Huddersfield scored two quickfire tries to give themselves hope.
Centre Joe Wardle took acting captain Brett Ferres’ pass to produce a strong finish and Bailey went over in copybook fashion to his first score to claim the Giants’ fourth try.
Cudjoe kicked his fourth conversion to cut the gap to eight points and Huddersfield thought they had scored again when teenage full-back Jake Connor carved out an opening for winger Jodie Broughton, who finished off the 90-metre break but had the try disallowed for putting a foot in touch.
Castleford second rower Frankie Mariano finally made sure of the win when he twisted out of Wardle’s tackle to go over for a seventh try and, although Huddersfield scored again through prop Eorl Crabtree, Grant Millington had the final say for the home side.
Castleford: Sneyd, Dixon, Webster, Shenton, Carney, Ellis, Finn, Lynch, Clark, Huby, Holmes, Mariano, Millington. Subs: Milner, Massey, Wheeldon, Jewitt.
Huddersfield: Connor, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Broughton, Wood, Robinson, Kaufusi, Bailey, Mullally, Ferres, Patrick, Lawrence. Subs: Crabtree, Kopczak, Ta’ai, Leeming.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (RFL).