Tigers beaten by Rhinos
Posted: Sunday 7th July 2019 - 6:00 PM
A late try from Robert Lui ended hopes of a Tigers comeback as Cas were beaten 18-10 by Leeds at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Looking to build on last week’s victory over London and a positive week of announcements from the club, the Tigers recalled Peter Mata’utia and Greg Eden to the squad in place of Jake Trueman and Tuoyo Egodo who both missed out with a concussion.
Despite being named in the halves, Jordan Rankin lined up at full back once again following his man of the match display in that position against the Broncos, with Mata’utia lining up in the unfamiliar position of stand off alongside Cory Aston in midfield, but it proved to be the story of the opening 40 minutes that the trio couldn’t quite find the key to unlock a resolute Rhinos defence despite some promising build-up play.
The game almost got off to the best possible start for the Tigers when Eden plucked a pass from Leeds new boy Lui out of the air and raced 90 metres to touch down, only to be called back on review by the video referee.
James Clare and Aston were both then stopped inches short of opening the scoring as the Tigers continued to pile on the pressure which made it all the more frustrating when Rhinos skipper Trent Merrin crashed over under the posts for the game’s first try in the 19th minute to give the visitors a 6-0 lead against the run of play.
That was the way it remained right up until half-time despite some more half chances for the Tigers, but a lack of fluidity in their passing in the final third hindered their play.
The message at the break would surely have been that calmer heads and greater accuracy was needed from the playmakers in midfield and it was certainly a more direct set from Cas first off in the second half, with Rankin unfortunate to spill under pressure when outjumping opposite number Jack Walker to a high ball on the last.
However, once again it was Leeds who were the more clinical of the two sides and they punished an error from Grant Millington with their second try of the game as Tom Briscoe broke through in midfield before handing onto Walker to finish, another conversion from Liam Sutcliffe and then a penalty quickly taking the score out to 14-0.
A response was needed from the Tigers and it brought about a switch of position for Mata’utia and Rankin as they exchanged roles for the final 25 minutes. It brought about a change in fortune for Daryl Powell’s men and a lovely flick pass from Cheyse Blair gave his side hope as he sent Clare in for an unconverted score in the right corner.
The hope grew stronger a couple of minutes later when Clare crossed for his second in quick succession after Leeds had put their kick off out on the full, some slick hands creating the overlap. Rankin took over the kicking duties to add the extras and cut the deficit to 14-10 with 15 minutes remaining.
A sensational run through the middle from Clare turned defence into attack as the Tigers went again, a brilliant tackle on the next play needed to deny Liam Watts a potential try, and the crowd sensed a killer blow was coming.
Unfortunately for Cas, it went to the Rhinos as a poor long pass from Eden inside his own red zone turned the ball over in good field position and Lui struck on the resulting set, skipping inside Aston’s tackle to give his side an eight-point lead with the clock ticking down.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 10-18 Leeds Rhinos
Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Blair, Eden, Rankin, Aston, Watts, Milner, Smith, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey
McShane, Millington, Cook, Clarkson
Tries: Clare (2)
Conversions: Rankin (1/1), Mata’utia (0/1)
Walker, Briscoe, Newman, Hurrell, Handley, Lui, Myler, Seumanufagai, Dwyer, Cuthbertson, Ferres, Sutcliffe, Merrin
Martin, Donaldson, Singleton, Smith
Tries: Merrin, Walker, Lui
Conversions: Sutcliffe (2/3)
*Match report by Matt Holden
**Photography by Melanie Allatt Photography
*** Golden Gamble winner: 0835
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