Tigers Fall In Grand Final
Posted: Saturday 7th October 2017 - 8:43 PM
Castleford Tigers’ remarkable 2017 season ended in disappointing fashion on Saturday night, as the league leaders were humbled 24-6 by Leeds Rhinos in the Betfred Super League Grand Final.
The Tigers were made to pay for their handling errors at Old Trafford, as Danny McGuire put on a finals masterclass in his last game in a Leeds shirt.
As expected, the final got off to a lively start in the Theatre of Dreams, though there was very little to split the two sides in the early exchanges.
Greg Eden, operating at full-back for the Tigers, had the first chance of the game, but his break was pulled back after a knock-on.
Old Trafford saw driving rain throughout grand final day, so it was of surprise to no one that handling errors were plentiful. Even the Tigers’ mercurial hooker Paul McShane was guilty in the first ten minutes.
The first points of the game came soon after, Tom Briscoe poaching a four-pointer for the Rhinos after a kick from Danny McGuire. England centre Kallum Watkins added the extras.
It looked as if the Tigers’ start had gotten worse a few moments after, as Watkins appeared to touch down himself.
However, the video referee chalked off the effort, handing possession back to Castleford.
The Tigers failed to get themselves on the board off the back of this boost, but they did add a level of stiffness to their defence. Leeds continued to knock at the door, and each time they were repelled.
With ten minutes to go in the first half, Eden once again came up with a Tigers’ chance, but a last-ditch effort from McGuire stopped a potentially historic try. Then, it was Hitchcox’s turn to go close, only for his diving effort to be turned down for an obstruction in the build-up.
Things appeared more promising for Castleford as the half drew to a close, but McGuire used his experience to make it a two-score lead on the hooter, knocking over a drop-goal.
Whoever scored the first try of the second period were clearly going to gain a major advantage for the remainder of the final.
Hence, the battle was by tooth and nail when the two sides re-emerged from the Old Trafford sheds.
The first ten minutes took the shape of an end-to-end battle of the forward packs – each attempting to dominate the other in the Manchester haze.
Errors continued to hinder the Tigers’ chances though, and the seemingly all-important first score of the half went to Leeds, via McGuire.
Castleford aimed to bounce back, but the ball simply would not stick to hand.
The Tigers kept inviting pressure, so it was only a matter of time before Leeds had their third of the evening. A clear forward pass in the build-up, but Briscoe had his brace.
It was going to take something Herculean from Castleford from here, and time was never going to be on their side.
Finals experience made all the difference in the end for the Rhinos, and they capped off their win in style as McGuire finished his Leeds career with a second try of the evening, before the deserved Harry Sunderland Trophy winner landed a drop goal.
Alex Foster got over for the Tigers at the death, but the result had been sealed for some time.
A disappointing end to what has been a phenomenal 2017 for the Castleford Tigers. Not our day, but there’s little doubt that Daryl Powell’s side will be right back in the hunt next season.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 6-24 Leeds Rhinos
Eden, Minikin, Shenton, Webster, Hitchcox, Roberts, Gale, Massey, McShane, Sene-Lefao, O. Holmes, McMeeken, Milner
Interchange: Millington, Moors, Cook, Foster
Conversions: Gale (1/1)
Walker, Briscoe, Watkins, Sutcliffe, Hall, Moon, McGuire, Singleton, Parcell, Garbutt, Jones-Buchanan, Ward, Cuthbertson
Interchange: Burrow, Ablett, Ferres, Mullally
Tries: Briscoe (2), McGuire (2)
Conversions: Watkins (3/4)
Drop Goals: McGuire (2)
Harry Sunderland Trophy winner: Danny McGuire
*Match Report by Ross Williams
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