Luke Gale brushed off emergency surgery to clinch Castleford their place in the Grand Final for the first time.
The halfback was a major doubt before the game after being forced to have appendix surgery, but he took to the field and kicked a penalty goal after the hooter before landing the decisive field goal deep into Golden Point territory to ensure Cas’ place at Old Trafford.
It brought to an end one of the most dramatic matches in recent history, with St Helens more than playing their part in the match and looking like they had won the match when Ryan Morgan scored with just three minutes remaining to put them ahead.
However, Morgan subsequently conceded the penalty which resulted in Gale’s late, late show.
Castleford had stormed into an early 8-0 lead, with Zak Hardaker scoring in the opening 60 seconds before Luke Gale added a penalty.
But Regan Grace and Morgan Knowles scored to give Justin Holbrook’s men a 10-8 lead at the break, before they dominated the early stages of the second-half.
But Gale regained the lead for Cas after Greg Eden’s stunning break, and Adam Milner scored minutes later after Paul McShane’s 40/20.
However, Saints weren’t done. Tommy Makinson and Mark Percival scored to cut the deficit to two, before Morgan’s later try looked to have secured Saints’ place at Old Trafford.
But then, the late drama.
Castleford: Hardaker; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Roberts, Gale; Massey, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Foster, McMeeken, Milner. Subs: Millington, Moors, Cook, Springer.
Tries: Hardaker, Gale, Milner
Goals: Gale (6)
St Helens: Barba; Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Smith; Douglas, Roby, Thompson, Knowles, Taia, Wilkin. Subs: Walmsley, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Peyroux, Fages.
Tries: Grace, Knowles, Makinson, Percival, Morgan
Goals: Percival (1)
A full report will be in Monday’s League Express.