Castleford inflicted a sixth straight Magic Weekend defeat on the Leeds Rhinos with a 38-10 win at St. James’ Park.
Both sides were looking to create chances early on but a sequence of errors and penalties prevented them from building up momentum.
However, it was Castleford who opened the scoring after 11 minutes. A penalty put the Tigers in a promising position before a slick move to the left allowed Jy Hitchcox to dive over in the corner. Jamie Ellis kicked the goal to make it 6-0.
Soon after Alex Foster scored his third try in as many games against his former club. Castleford started the set in their own half but made quick metres up the field and took advantage of a poorly organised defensive line to put the forward through a huge gap to record the four-pointer. Ellis kicked his second goal of the night to put his side in charge.
Leeds, who were without Richie Myler for a short spell of the first half while he underwent a head injury assessment, had opportunities to respond but were wasteful when close to the opposition line.
Castleford’s impressive defence then forced a handling error from Ash Handley which was followed by a penalty for holding down. With 6 minutes remaining before half time, Ellis successfully kicked a penalty goal to make it a three score lead.
That wasn’t the end of the scoring in the first half, though, as Junior Moors forced his way over despite the attention of three Leeds defenders to plant the ball on the whitewash on 38 minutes. The conversion was again added.
Ellis then kicked a 50 metre penalty goal on the stroke of half time to give Castleford a deserved 22-point advantage at the break.
The Tigers picked up where they left off and scored after just one minute of the second half. A break up field from Foster had Leeds on the back foot and just two passes later Michael Shenton was put through a gap and was able to roll to the line and ground the ball. Ellis’ sixth goal took the score to 28-0.
Leeds were denied their first points of the night when Matt Parcell had a try disallowed for obstruction after 54 minutes, but did manage to find a way through two minutes later when young Polish forward Mikolaj Oledzki shrugged off a defender and had a free run at the line to score his first Super League try.
Things soon got worse again for the champions as both Kallum Watkins and Jack Walker were forced off with injuries.
Adam Milner and Oliver Holmes then scored Castleford’s fifth and sixth tries of the night to rub salt in the wounds of their tiring opposition. Ellis kicked one and missed one of the conversions.
With the two competition points secured, the game began to fizzle out but Brett Ferres scored a consolation try for Leeds as the full time hooter sounded. Myler missed his attempt at goal with the final action of the game.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Tigers show their class
Castleford, missing a number of key players in important positions, put in a professional performance to take full advantage of a disappointing Leeds display.
Without being spectacular, the Tigers were ruthless in attack and just as impressive in defence as they once again convincingly beat their West Yorkshire rivals.
It will be a confidence boosting win for the Tigers after two straight losses, and with another clash with St. Helens coming up next Thursday that is just what they needed.
Leeds’ woes continue
That was Leeds’ fourth loss in sixth games as their season continues to stutter. They sit sixth in the table and could find themselves three points off the team in fifth should Hull FC win tomorrow.
With injuries to Kallum Watkins, Jack Walker and Nathaniel Peteru extending an already lengthy injury list, things could get worse before they get better for the Rhinos.
Man Of The Match- Alex Foster
Foster looked as though he had a point to prove and he did just that with a stand out performance. He ran a brilliant line for his try and contributed to a number of the others through his hard work and energy.
He was just as effective after moving to centre in the second half and caused problems for Leeds throughout the contest, and is really starting to show his true quality in this Castleford side.
Castleford Tigers 38
Tries: Hitchcox, Foster, Moors, Shenton, Milner, Holmes.
Goals: Ellis x7.
Drop Goals: n/a
Leeds Rhinos 10
Tries: Oledzki, Ferres.
Drop Goals: n/a
Castleford Tigers: Shenton, Minikin, Webster, Wardle, Hitchcox, Ellis, Trueman, Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Foster, McMeeken, Milner.
Replacements: Moors, Millington, Holmes, Massey.
Leeds Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins, Handley, Hall, Moon, Myler, Oledzki, Parcell, Peteru, Jones-Buchanan, Ward, Delaney.
Replacements: Cuthbertson, Dwyer, Ferres, Smith.
Referee: Chris Kendall.