Super League semi-final: Castleford Tigers 23-22 St Helens

Betfred Super League semi-final
Castleford Tigers 23
Tries: Hardaker, Gale, Milner Goals: Gale 5 Drop-goal: Gale
St Helens 22
Tries: Grace, Knowles, Makinson, Percival, Morgan Goal: Percival
HT 8-10, FT 22-22, Castleford won in golden-point extra time

Luke Gale’s drop-goal in golden-point extra-time settled an enthralling semi-final against St Helens and sent Castleford Tigers into the Super League Grand Final for the first time.

Gale landed a last-gasp penalty to force a 22-22 draw before kicking the decisive drop-goal for the hosts.

They will face either Leeds Rhinos or Hull FC at Old Trafford on 7 October.

Castleford had led 20-10, but three late Saints tries looked set to deny them until Gale’s intervention.

Saints, who lost in a Super League semi-final for the third season in succession, outscored the League Leaders’ Shield winners by five tries to three.

But while Gale was perfect with his five kicks from the tee, St Helens’ Mark Percival failed with four of his five attempts at goal.

Gale’s golden return

England half-back Gale had surgery to remove his appendix less than three weeks before his side’s semi-final and was instrumental on his return to the Castleford team.

The Tigers were runaway winners of the League Leaders’ Shield, finishing 10 points clear of second-placed Leeds and 17 ahead of semi-final opponents Saints.

Rarely have they been tested so fiercely this season, but Daryl Powell’s team showed huge resolve to secure an historic win for their club.

Zak Hardaker crossed for Castleford’s opening try after 48 seconds but tries from Regan Grace and Morgan Knowles gave Saints a 10-8 half-time lead.

After weathering a spell of St Helens pressure, Castleford went 20-10 up with scores from Gale and Adam Milner, before a thrilling climax.

Tommy Makinson and Percival brought the visitors back within two points and Justin Holbrook’s side looked destined for Old Trafford when Ryan Morgan touched down with three minutes left to play.

However, they gave away a cheap penalty a few seconds before the hooter and Gale held his nerve – on two occasions – to seal a famous victory.

Castleford: Hardaker; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Roberts, Gale; Massey, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Foster, McMeeken, Milner.

Replacements: Millington, Moors, Cook, Springer.

St Helens: Barba; Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Smith; Douglas, Roby, Thompson, Knowles, Taia, Wilkin.

Replacements: Walmsley, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Peyroux, Fages.

Referee: James Child

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