Leeds Rhinos: Tries: Tom Briscoe, Ryan Bailey, Carl Ablett (2). Goals: Kevin Sinfield: 4/4
Castleford Tigers: Tries: Michael Shenton, Weller Hauraki, Nathan Massey, Grant Millington. Goals: Marc Sneyd: 4/4.
Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers played out an entertaining draw on Thursday night as Rhinos captain, Kevin Sinfield was sent off.
Castleford captain Michael Shenton and former Leeds man Weller Hauraki scored for the visitors either side of tries from Tom Briscoe and Ryan Bailey for Leeds. Carl Ablett then crossed for the hosts before Nathan Massey replied for Tigers as the sides went in level at the break. Ablett added his second to give the home side a six point lead which they held until Sinfield’s dismissal with eight minutes remaining, and Cas exploited the man advantage to grab a late leveller through Grant Millington.
Despite ideal conditions, both sides looked vulnerable to attacking kicks early on, with the first three tries of the night all coming from the boot.
Shenton put the visitors in front in the first minute, latching on to a knock down from Justin Carney after a pinpoint kick from Marc Sneyd.
Leeds replied with a quickfire double as Tom Briscoe beat Justin Carney in the air to ground wide on the right and then Ryan Bailey crossed for a rare try, capitalising on Castleford’s indecision under a high bomb from Kevin Sinfield.
But, the buoyant visitors were soon back on level terms. Kirk Dixon cut in off the touchline and offloaded to Hauraki who finished powerfully from close range for Tigers’ second of the night.
But, in this tight and entertaining clash, more tries were inevitable and another came soon after.Carl Ablett restored his side’s six-point lead, showing good strength and footwork to manufacture a gap in the defence and finish from 18 metres out.
But the Tigers would not back down and levelled the scores once again through Nathan Massey who showed good vision to stroll through a gap from dummy-half. Then, the much-maligned obstruction rule came into play, with Justin Carney having a try harshly ruled out for the visitors.
The next score came on the hour mark, with Carl Ablett showing ability with his feet to dribble the ball past two defenders before touching down just before the ball went out of play.
The Rhinos looked to be in control of the match and went in search of a decisive drop goal as the final ten minutes approached. But it never came and minutes after Sinfield’s dismissal, prop Lee Jewitt showed his ball-playing skills to tip the ball on to Grant Milington who raced clear to secure a deserved point for Cas.