DOUBLE act Luke Gale and Joel Monaghan both scored second-half hat-tricks as rampant Castleford Tigers maintained their stunning start to this Super League season.
The superb leaders strengthened their position at the top with another classy destruction, this time of hapless Huddersfield Giants.
England scrum-half Gale, on his 250th career appearance, led the way with 24 points, adding six goals to his treble, while Monaghan also reaped the rewards of some stunning attacking play..
Benny Roberts was to the fore for Castleford, his mesmerising footwork, upper body strength when swatting off defenders, acceleration and kicking game causing vanquished Huddersfield all sorts of problems.
But there was some fine displays up front, too, not least from loose forward Adam Milner and Junior Moors – before suffering a late injury – while Oli Holmes also made a welcome first appearance of the year.
Rangi Chase, too, came on to deliver some magic moments, not least an incredible assist for Monaghan’s second try, and classy Castleford will head to champions Wigan Warriors on Thursday intent on making it seven wins from their opening eight games. Castleford were 16-4 ahead at the break but, realistically, should have doubled that points total in the first period alone, Greg Eden botching a raft of chances.
That said, Castleford were still in control, Roberts having scored their opening try in the 20th minute after latching onto Gale’s smart grubber.
When Lee Gaskell fired the restart dead, Powell’s side were in again immediately.
This time Roberts bamboozled Giants with his footwork and found enough space to send Jake Webster, the veteran Kiwi centre, charging over from close range for a 10-4 lead.
Huddersfield had started brightly, Sebastine Ikahihifo’s thunderous charge and offload seeing Ryan Hinchcliffe stretch over for the night’s first try in the seventh minute.
With the home side initially struggling for their usual efficiency, Rick Stone’s side should have made more of their gains.
They did not and, though at first effectively shutting down Hardaker’s link play, once Castleford did get in front, this derby was only heading one way.
Mike McMeeken was the beneficiary as they crossed for a third try in just eight minutes although the artful Paul McShane was clearly the instigator.
Pressed on Huddersfield’s line on the last tackle, everything was set for Gale to kick – two blockers in place, chasers ready – only for McShane to switch in the opposite direction where the big second-row bullied his way over.
Powell’s side scored within seconds of the second period starting, Michael Shenton breaking to set Eden away from deep for Gale to pick up the first of his treble.
They scored back-to-back tries again as Milner quickly dummied his way over.
Although Ryan Brierley raced 90m direct from a scrum to score for Huddersfield it was only the briefest of respite as Webster stormed through to give Gale his second – the 100th try of his career – and then showed deft hands to lay on Monaghan’s first. Soon after, Gale completed his hat-trick before Chase’s genius moment delivered Monaghan’s second.
Gaskell got on the end of Brierley’s grubber for a consolation try that Brierley converted again but Monaghan had the last word with another assist from Chase.
Castleford Tigers: Hardaker; Monaghan, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Roberts, Gale; Sene-Lefao, McShane, Moors, Millington, McMeeken, Milner. Substitutes: Cook, Springer, Chase, Holmes.
Huddersfield Giants: McIntosh; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Mellor, Ormsby; Gaskell, Brierley; Ikahihifo, Hinchcliffe, Wakeman, Ta’ai, Ferguson, Clough. Substitutes: Rapira, Leeming, Smith, Dickinson.
Referee: Chris Kendall