O’Brien’s golden touch

Gareth O’Brien admits he doesn’t know why he seems to nail winning golden-point drop-goals at KCOM Craven Park.

O’Brien struck in the 99th minute of Friday’s Challenge Cup tie against Hull KR, with his field-goal finally winning the game 33-32 for Castleford in the fourth period of golden point.

It came five years after the 29-year-old kicked the winning field-goal in golden point at the same ground for Salford that ended up relegating the Robins in the Million Pound Game.

“Drop goals are an important skill, which I need to keep working on,” says O’Brien.

“I do seem to end up putting them over here. This one wasn’t as important as the one in 2016, but it is important in getting us into that next round.

“We’re into the quarter-finals, so with two more wins we’re into the Challenge Cup Final. But there are lots of things to address because we weren’t at our best.”

Castleford were behind 22-6 at half-time and then trailed 32-18 with ten minutes left, but we fought back both times to tie the score up right on full-time.”

The Tigers then fought in extra time to sensationally steal the victory in the 99th minute after both sides had tried and failed to settle the outcome with a series of drop-goal attempts.

Asked to sum it up, O’Brien said: “I’ve no idea how long we played, but we need to be miles better than we were tonight, especially in the first half.

“We rectified a few things in the first quarter of the second half, but then we slacked off again. Danny (Richardson), Truey (Jake Trueman) and I need to practise our drop-goals as it was my sixth attempt.

“We were 22-6 down, but we didn’t roll over, so that’s the main positive. We’ve just to touch up on a few things. I wasn’t happy with a few things in my game, but getting into the next round is the main thing.”

The Robins impressed in the first half, scoring four tries and leading by 16 points at the break, but O’Brien says a spray from Tigers coach Daryl Powell spurred his team into action in the second half.

“Powelly gave it to us after that first half.

“It was probably the worst half of football he’d ever seen and he said so. We had to take a good look at ourselves, roll our sleeves up and put things right.

“To come back and eventually get the win… the middle boys playing 100 minutes is just unheard of. I’m sore, so I don’t know how they feel. Credit to them for digging in.”

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