Greg Eden scored a second half hat trick as Castleford pulled away from Leeds in the early part of the second half to go 2 points clear of Salford at the top of the Betfred Super League.
Castleford are head and shoulders above the rest
Castleford put together complete second half performance against Leeds maintaining their solid defence and scintillating attack. Before the match, some had billed this one as the Grand Final rehearsal – which it looked to be after St Helens put Hull to the sword the day prior. Leeds came out with a fitting attitude and stuck with the Tigers for 40 minutes, but the Tigers showed too much class in the second half for the high flying Leeds outfit, with Greg Eden clinching a 17-minute hat-trick. Castleford dominated the second half in what was rightly the finale of the Magic Weekend. The performance epitomised everything that is good about Castleford; they offloaded effectively, played expansively when appropriate, and were clinical in the red zone. The Tigers are a side that seem to have an endless supply of points in them, so unless that dries up, they’re going all the way this season.
Shenton is on fire
Michael Shenton had scored 3 in his last 4 going into the Magic Weekend; while he didn’t score in this one, he still had the assist for 4 of the 5 Castleford tries – one of which, he created with a sublime flick on for Greg Eden to score in the corner. Although Watkins got the better of him on one occasion to go over for Leeds’ first try, Shenton’s performances of late undoubtedly render him the form centre in England at the moment and he’s showing no signs of stopping.
Eden to top Solomona
Castleford are well on their way to having the Super League top try scorer for a second year in a row in the form of Greg Eden. In the Super League, Eden is converting at well over one try per game with 18 in 14 games, and as a result is on track to challenge Denny Solomona’s 40-try record. He is a finishing machine and has some of the best providers inside him, so he will have plenty of opportunity to extend his lead at the top of the try-scoring table. Without doubt, Castleford lost out with Solomona’s controversial move to Sale, but they now look to have found an apt replacement for the moment.
Leeds are on their way back to the top
After a rather underwhelming 2016 season, Leeds went back to the drawing board and came into the 2017 season with a strengthened side. Whatever they did in the off-season, its worked. They now sit fourth in the table after a strong performance against the best side in the competition this year in Castleford, a stark contrast to where they were 12 months ago; a long way off the top four on the back of a 40-8 hiding from Wigan. They look to have rescued and steadied the ship after coming to terms with Kevin Sinfield’s retirement at the end of the 2015 season. Judging by their performance in Newcastle, they’ll feature heavily in both the Challenge Cup and Super League; there is certainly more to come from the Rhinos this season.
Castleford Tigers 29
Tries: Gale, Eden (3), Holmes
Goals: Gale (4)
Drop Goal: Gale
Leeds Rhinos 18
Tries: Watkins, Moon, Sutcliffe
Goals: Sutcliffe (3)