Tigers Topple Leeds in Round Two Win

Posted: Friday 2nd April 2021 - 5:00 PM

Tries from Jordan Turner, Oliver Holmes, and Niall Evalds were enough for the Fords’ to secure two wins from two on a sunny Good Friday at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens.

With Gareth O’Brien sustaining a head knock in the win over Warrington in Round One, Danny Richardson stepped in to play scrum half, whilst there was a return to the starting line up for Liam Watts. Elsewhere, Tyla Hepi and Jesse Sene-Lefao were named on the bench in line for their first appearances of the Super League season.

It was also a special day for a number of Tigers, Captain Michael Shenton playing his 400th career game, whilst Paul McShane was representing Cas for the 150th time. Elsewhere, Watts and Peter Mata’utia were playing their 300th and 150th career games respectively.

After masterminding an opening victory over Wakefield, the Rhinos’ Head Coach Richard Agar was forced into some rejigging of his starting line up, with Richie Myler sidelined through a hamstring injury, 19-year old Jack Broadbent slotted in at fullback. 2021 arrival Zane Tetevano headed out the pack at 13, whilst former Tiger Luke Gale paired up with Liam Sutcliffe in the halves.

Cas received the kick off to get the game underway and gained good yardage in their early sets, allowing them to pepper young fullback Broadbent with bombs off the boot of Richardson, but he was equal to the test. Leeds did force an early error in Tigers’ territory which pressed the Fords into some stern defence through milestone men Watts and Mata’utia. Jordan Turner continued to impress from his new home on the wing, taking to the air to claim a swirling crossfield kick.

Leeds being offside helped relieve some of this early pressure on Daryl Powell’s side, before a wraparound move down the left edge looked to have put Turner in but it was called back for an adjudged forward pass. Shortly after, Tetevano showed he was going to be headache all afternoon long, laying a crunching hit on Olpherts and forcing a knock on 10 yards from Cas’ line.

On 13 minutes, Mata’utia found a gap in the Leeds line and took Cas 20 yards out. A phase later the ball was shifted to Cas’ vaunted left edge and Trueman was able to find Oliver Holmes for his second try in as many games! The returning Richardson took up the kicking duties and duly converted from out wide.

The game was beginning to flow after a somewhat stop-start opening period, Leeds themselves almost going over through debutant Hall, it was referred to the video ref, but a foot in touch gave Castleford a reprieve.

As they searched for a second score and some breathing room, some excellent link up play gave the Tigers exactly what they deserved. Trueman continued his blistering start to the season with some fine footwork to work a gap in the defensive line, before finding Smith and then he was able to fix the fullback before passing to a surging Evalds who crossed straight under the sticks, doubling the advantage.

Back-to-back penalties on Leeds’ subsequent set however gave Cas work to do defensively and then Luke Briscoe was able to evade covering defenders and score in the corner to give Leeds their first points of the afternoon.

As interchanges worked their way into the game, there was nearly a freak try-scoring contribution off the bench as Jesse Sene-Lefao received a pass straight to the head, and Derrell Olpherts reacted quickest to collect the loose ball and weave his way to the tryline. However the score was referred upstairs after protests from the Leeds' players and disallowed for an apparent knock on, leaving Castleford with a 8 point lead at the half.

The second half began with both sides trading sets between the twenties, as in a tight game it looked like the next score might prove crucial. Luke Gale’s ever probing boot was giving the back three a workout however Olpherts, Turner and Evalds were holding firm.

It was Holmes who helped the Tigers get started in the first half and it was him again who helped breathe life into the Fords’ second 40: Finding the gap between Tom Briscoe and Hall, before the second-rower feeding Richardson inside. Leeds conceded a six again as the Tigers were camped on their line but Trueman’s raking kick was gathered safely to keep the Rhinos in the game.

It looked increasingly like a mistake would decide victory in a tight and cagey affair and with just over 20 minutes left in the game and both sides failing to get through their sets with a series of knock ons and balls being stripped, Cas went close down the right edge, Olpherts dragging three defenders with him before being held up on the line for the turnover.

Conceding a penalty at they looked to pin their opposition in their half proved to be the Tigers’ undoing, handing Leeds momentum and it was Kruise Leeming from dummy half who fed Matt Prior on a short line and the prop crashed into the line, before reaching over the line at full stretch to cut the lead to just two points.

In the nervy final stages, Castleford were making metres and with little under 10 minutes to go, Niall Evalds joined the line on the left hand side and found his winger to continue his formidable try-scoring partnership with Jordan Turner, who grabbed his third try in just two league games. Danny Richardson also an exceptional day with the boot, nailing his third straight kick to give Cas some breathing room and allow them to return across the M62 with a win.


Full Time: Leeds Rhinos 10-18 Castleford Tigers 

Leeds Rhinos

Broadbent, L. Briscoe, Hall, A. Sutcliffe, T. Briscoe, L. Sutcliffe, Gale, Oledzski, Leeming, Prior, Mellor, Martin, Tetevano


Dwyer, Smith, Thompson, Donaldson                   

Tries: L. Briscoe, Prior

Conversions: Martin (1/2)


Castleford Tigers

Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Turner, Trueman, Richardson, Millington, McShane, Watts, Holmes, Blair, Massey


Milner, Hepi, Sene-Lefao, Smith

Tries: Holmes, Evalds, Turner

Conversions: Richardson (3/3)


*Match report by Sam Armstrong

** Photography by Melanie Allatt Photography

Share this article: