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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Eliminated Huddersfield may be in the mood to make a point

Castleford name a strong side

Castleford prop Junior Moors
1 of 1

Castleford v Huddersfield
Sky Sports Action, 7.45pm Thursday

The Betfred Super League playoffs kick off in three weeks but until then the competition will have the feel of a phoney war.

Barring a mathematical miracle, St Helens have already clinched top spot and Wigan are long odds-on to finish second, which will earn the Warriors a home semi-final. 

Castleford and Warrington are guaranteed to complete the top four. 

So the conundrum for the quartet of coaches is how to approach the final three fixtures in the Super 8s, which ultimately may count for very little. Some coaches will opt to rest their star players. Others will aim for consistency in selection.

Castleford boss Daryl Powell has named a strong side for the home game against Huddersfield. Jesse Sene-Lefao replaces Oliver Holmes who suffered a hamstring injury in the 28-8 victory at Hull.

It was a third straight win for the Tigers but they weren’t overly impressive against injury-hit, out-of-sorts opponents who were losing for the eighth consecutive match. 

Huddersfield’s flickering top-four hopes were finally extinguished by the 26-24 loss at Warrington where they were agonisingly close to a draw as Danny Brough missed two late shots at goal. 

The Giants rewarded their handicap backers and can do so again in receipt of a handy 16-point buffer. 

Simon Woolford’s side were big underdogs on their previous trip to the Jungle in July but they took the Tigers apart in a 32-18 win. They’re 5-1 to repeat that feat. 

Only 11 of the 17 on duty that night will be on show for Huddersfield and internationals Jermaine McGillvary and Leroy Cudjoe who scored four of the Giants' tries are among the absentees.

However, that duo weren’t in action a week ago at Warrington and Jake Mamo and Kruise Leeming, who didn’t play in the previous win at Cas, are available this time. 

Perhaps the layers believe the air will go out of the Giants' balloon now the playoffs are an impossible dream and maybe it will but at the prices it’s worth chancing that the visitors are in the mood to put up a fight. 

Huddersfield can boast a win at St Helens this year and have lost only once on the road by more than the handicap for this game since Woolford arrived from Australia in mid-June.

Huddersfield +16
3pts evens bet365
1pt 5-1 general

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Huddersfield’s flickering top-four hopes were finally extinguished by the 26-24 loss at Warrington
E.W. Terms
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