Going into Friday night's fixture, Castleford Tigers has won five, drawn one and lost one in their last seven games. Huddersfield, meanwhile, had lost just two of their last ten games, giving them the chance of securing a top-eight spot with victory over the Tigers on Friday night. But, regardless of how Huddersfield are playing, Castleford were at home and had a major incentive to defeat their visitors; a victory would mean the Tigers would go second for the first time this season.

In the end, the Tigers went down 18-32 to deserved winners Huddersfield.

But, it was one of the worst performances of the season from Castleford, and if they are to secure a home semi-final play-off or even a top four spot, they will need a huge improvement going into the Super 8s.

Past results

Though the Tigers have lost just seven Super League games in 2018, some of those defeats have been heavy. St Helens have beaten Castleford twice in the league - at Langtree Park, Saints thrashed the Tigers 46-6 and hammered them 18-40 at the Jungle. The Tigers have also been heavily beaten by Hull FC 36-12 and the Catalans Dragons 44-16. Despite the seven losses being outweighed by the 15 victories and one draw, Castleford are still not at their best and Friday's showing against Huddersfield was firm evidence of that.

Needing to move on

But whenever Castleford have suffered defeat this season, the response from the players has always been good: St Helens' 18-40 drubbing of the Tigers in late May was forgotten a week later when Castleford hammered Hull KR 14-42. Likewise, their 44-16 loss away to Catalans was followed up with a 42-10 thrashing of Leeds.

It is perhaps not the defeats that define a team; it is how that team responds. And, the Tigers have lost just two on the bounce in 2018 - clear evidence that losses are quickly forgotten about.

The loss against Huddersfield was incredibly frustrating from a fan's point of view - the Tigers raced into a 12-0 lead only to be pegged back at half-time at 18-18.

The Giants scored 14 unanswered points in the second half to secure their place in top eight for the first time since 2015. Castleford were bitterly disappointing and, although injuries to Grant Millington, Matt Cook, and Jesse Sene-Lefao left them three substitutes down, they were simply not good enough.

But why was this? Was it complacency? Almost all of the Rugby League fraternity had Castleford down as winners, and while players are professionals, the mentality of playing Huddersfield is just not the same - although it should be - as when Wigan or Leeds rock up at the Jungle. And, when the Tigers raced into a 12-0 lead, you could sense a feeling amongst the crowd that the game would be easy - a feeling which seemingly transferred onto the field as Huddersfield clawed their way back.

'The worst game'

Castleford head coach Daryl Powell called the second-half one of the worst he had witnessed while he had been at the club, despite the fact that barely three weeks earlier the Tigers had been hammered by Catalans in humiliating fashion. Castleford cannot afford any more of this kind of slip-ups if they want to be challenging for silverware.

The Tigers had a chance to go second, but are now back in the fourth position; as things stand, they would go away to St Helens in the semi-final play-offs - the tie which all Castleford fans want to avoid.