Castleford Tigers easily defeated the Leeds Rhinos at Emerald Headingley on Thursday night. Here’s what happened.
Leeds opened their new North stand with fireworks and pyrotechnics but the performance on the field was far less eye-catching. Mistakes and poor discipline were consistent throughout the eighty minutes.
Leeds took a 2-0 lead early on after Liam Sutcliffe slotted over a penalty. However, the lead was short-lived as Jesse Sene-Lefao crossed for the Tigers.
Leeds suffered further disappointment as captain Kallum Watkins was sin-binned for a tip tackle. The Tigers extended their lead through Greg Eden, who caught a looping Jake Trueman pass to put down in the corner.
Shortly after the break, Sene-Lefao scored his second after Mike McMeeken stole the ball from young centre Harry Newman.
Matt Parcell squeezed over to give the Rhinos some hope but this was quickly extinguished when James CLare scored on a chip into the corner before Jake Trueman completed the dominating performance.
The Rhinos will be worrying about the fitness of Tui Lolohea, who suffered a leg injury in the first half, leading to Liam Sutcliffe having to fill in at full back. Just one week away from Magic Weekend, and arguably the biggest game of the Rhinos season against London Broncos, the injury could not come at a worse time.
Leeds need help
The struggles of the Leeds Rhinos have led to many calling for the appointment of former enemy Shaun Wane. Wane could be just what the Rhinos need as the team look at their weakest defensively and seem to lack motivation and drive.
Cas back to winning ways
The win ended the Tigers four game losing streak and moved them up to third in the table. However, this may highlight the competitiveness of the league this season, as Castleford have currently won eight whilst losing seven. Daryl Powell’s men have looked like Grand Final contenders in some games and mid-table sides in others. They are a side in need of some consistency and this win may just kick start that.
Refereeing not the problem
Referee Chris Kendall was faced with a difficult task on Thursday, with the game being highly physical and a lively atmosphere from the crowd but he handled the occasion well. Whilst there were complaints from the Rhinos fans about Kendall giving Castleford a penalty for dissent, the anger should be given to the player who caused the penalty, Trent Merrin, as opposed to the referee. Similar decisions were a result of the Rhinos poor discipline as opposed to referee bias.
New North stand at Headingley
The Rhinos heavily marketed the opening of the new North Stand before Thursday’s game and whilst the stand looked amazing, it was disappointing that it was not full. This is a real shame as it did take away from the occasion of opening the new stand as well as the flag-waving that had been planned. Hopefully, the Rhinos form can pick up and the stand will be filled or this was just the result of a Thursday night fixture.
Leeds Rhinos 8
Goals: Sutcliffe 2
Drop Goals: n/a
Castleford Tigers 30
Tries: Sene-Lefao 2, Eden, Clare, Trueman
Goals: Mata’utia 5
Drop Goals: n/a
Leeds: Lolohea, Handley, Watkins, Newman, Briscoe, McClelland, Myler, Singleton, Dwyer, Peteru, Smith, Sutcliffe, Merrin.
Interchanges: Seumanufagai, Oledzki, Donaldson, Parcell
Castleford: Mata’utia, Eden, Blair, Minikin, Clare, Trueman, Aston, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey
Interchanges: Milner, Cook, Clark, Rankin