HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS will be hoping for a repeat of their 2009 Challenge Cup heroics when they face Castleford Tigers at the PROBIZ Coliseum on Sunday.
It’s just two years since the Giants savoured their last Cup success against Castleford – in the quarter-final of the competition as Huddersfield went all the way to Wembley!
So head coach Nathan Brown will obviously be hoping this proves a lucky omen when they face Castleford again at the last-eight stage this weekend.
And there’s no question that when it comes to the Cup confrontations Huddersfield hold the edge over their West Yorkshire rivals.
In fact, it’s not since 1935 that Castleford last savoured Cup success over the men in claret and gold, with an 11-8 victory in the final at Wembley.
Overall, head-to-head history is very much in favour of Huddersfield as they have only been knocked out twice by Castleford in the competition’s 115-year history, with the last meeting between the sides in 2009 bringing back some very fond memories.
On that day the Giants snatched a 16-14 triumph in what was an magnificent effort by Nathan Brown’s men as Danny Kirmond’s late try helped them set up a semi-final showdown against 2008 winners St Helens in a repeat of the 2006 Twickenham final.
The 16-14 scoreline against the Tigers didn’t reflect the true nature of the game, as Huddersfield’s dominance was there for all to see, with Stephen Wild having one of his best games in a Giants jersey.
Although they did trail for long periods, as a try from Michael Shenton and a penalty from the boot of Kirk Dixon gave the Tigers a 14-6 lead, after Kevin Brown touched down in the first half to cancel out an early Brett Ferres score, they finished the tie strongly.
It wasn’t until the 69th minute when Wild, who had been shifted into the centres after an injury to Jamahl Lolesi, went over after collecting an off-load from Luke Robinson.
The momentum from that score led to Brown putting Kirmond through a gap in the 76th minute to seal a vitally-important victory.
For head coach Brown, the win gave his reputation in the English game a huge boost, with people starting to take notice of his Giants and the superb job he had done.
From a side that finished seven points off a play-off place in a disappointing 2008 campaign, they had secured a top-four Super League finish, as well as a place in the Wembley Challenge Cup final where they were beaten by Warrington.
As a result, Brown was named Coach of the Year, Brett Hodgson was the Man of Steel and the Giants the Super League Club of the Year.
So could a repeat quarter-final triumph over Castleford this weekend make that all possible once again?