TWO CONTROVERSIAL tries proved the difference as Castleford Tigers went down 24-16 to Huddersfield Giants at the Jungle.
Giants props Craig Huby and Eorl Crabtree were awarded touchdowns by the video referees, which on another day could easily have been ruled out.
The fact Richard Silverwood is refereeing two games this weekend highlights the crisis facing the sport’s match officials department.
The lack of officials is an issue the game needed to address. In fact, almost all the full-timers were on duty last night, with Silverwood in the middle, Robert Hicks and James Child as touch judges and Ben Thaler and Steve Ganson in the video refs’ van.
Silverwood might have wanted a quiet night, bearing in mind the fact he’ll be reffing Wakefield against Widnes on Sunday. He didn’t get one, awarding a total of 22 penalties, 14 of them to Tigers.
Denny Solomona, Tigers’ winger making his return from long-term, injury, touched down early on from Michael Shenton’s grubber, but the video referees said he’d knocked on.
At the end of the first quarter, after three successive penalties to Giants, Huby barged over between the posts against his former club.
Silverwood handed the decision on, both sets of players lined-up expecting a knock-on ruling, but the try was awarded.
Brough landed the first of his four conversions then his cross kick came loose – after Solomona and Jermaine McGillvary competed for it – and Aaron Murphy touched down.
Again the video refs gave the green light.
Tigers then received four straight penalties and Jake Webster shrugged off a couple of defenders, from Luke Gale’s pass, to get them back into the game.
That was just before the break, but there was still time for Tigers to concede a penalty and then clock off as Ukuma Ta’ai forced his way over for a touchdown he had no right to score.
Giants – who are being strongly linked with a move for alleged Leeds Rhinos target Sam Rapira – have the best defence in Super League, so 14 points was a huge gap to close.
They thought they had made a start when Ben Roberts got over the line on 44, but Joe Wardle got an arm under the ball and the video refs said no.
That was good work by Silverwood, because at first sight it looked like a try. Moments later, after Murphy had knocked on, Roberts threw a dummy from acting-half and ghosted through for a try out of nothing, improved by Gale.
With 13 minutes left Shenton finished strongly at the end of a flowing move and Gale’s goal cut the deficit to two points.
Giants finally got a couple of penalties with five minutes left and from the second Crabtree crashed over. Silverwood indicated a try, there was no clear evidence either way and the video refs gave it.
Castleford Tigers: Tansey, Gibson, Webster, Shenton, Solomona, Roberts, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Bailey, O Holmes, Mariano, Massey. Subs: Millington, Jewitt, Finn, McMeeken.
Huddersfield Giants: Grix, McGillvary, Murphy, Connor, Broughton, Brough, Wood, Mullally, Leeming, Huby, Wardle, Hughes, Ferres. Subs: Robinson, Crabtree, Kopczak, Ta’ai.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (Mirfield).