Derby delight for Tigers!
Posted: Friday 6th August 2021 - 9:57 PM
Castleford Tigers put in an incredible performance against Leeds Rhinos at Emerald Headingley Stadium to come away with a 32-18 derby victory on Friday night.
Daryl Powell was boosted by the return of a considerable amount of first team regulars who missed out on selection against Huddersfield due to Covid-19 player return protocols. Grant Millington, Oliver Holmes, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Adam Milner, Gareth O'Brien, Jordan Turner and Peter Mata'utia all returned to the Castleford starting 13. There was also a welcome return for Greg Eden who came back into the side after a spell out with an injury.
Liam Sutcliffe’s right boot got the game underway, and it was Leeds who put the pressure on Castleford early on as a Rob Lui kick was caught by Niall Evalds and the full-back was forced behind the try line by a Konrad Hurrell tackle to force a drop out.
The resulting set ended in a pass out wide to Ash Handley coming off a Cas hand which gave Rhinos a fresh set. Lui and Harry Newman both attempted to crash over from close in but a monumental defensive effort from the Fords kept Leeds out.
Leeds kept the tempo high in the first ten minutes of the fixture and a Danny Richardson handling error presented them with 6 tackles inside the Cas 20. Tom Briscoe made a burst round on the right touchline only to be denied by a great Turner recovering tackle. More unbelievable last-ditch defence from the visitors denied Leeds Rhinos once again.
After soaking up plenty of Leeds attacking play, it was the Tigers who got themselves into the lead. An accurate kick into the corner from Richardson put Leeds under pressure inside their own 10 metre line and a spill from a Rhinos player handed Turner the ball. The centre flicked the ball over the top for Eden to stroll over to score on his first start in months. Richardson then added the extras from the kicking tee to give Cas a 6-0 lead.
Rhinos tried to respond after they were awarded a penalty around half-way which was kicked into touch inside the 20, however, Castleford forced the hosts into an error as they knocked on.
A fantastic bulldozing break from Suaia Matagi with his first touch of the ball after coming onto the field got his side right up inside Leeds territory. McShane and O’Brien took the play out to the right-hand side through the hands but Evalds’ pass to Derrell Olpherts was patted out of play by a Leeds hand.
Cas were given back possession of the ball and forced a penalty which Richardson elected to kick and slotted the ball through the posts to extend the Tigers’ lead 22 minutes in.
Just moments later Castleford were in for their second try of the night. After a Leeds kick-off was booted straight out of play, the visitors were gifted the ball back and made the most of it. Evalds made a burst through on the right and offloaded brilliantly to Mata’utia who raced over from 15 metres out. Richardson was accurate again with his kick for the scores to read 14-0 to the Fords.
Another excellent piece of goal line defending followed with Leeds looking to get on the scoreboard, this time it was Rhyse Martin being held up on the line.
Castleford found themselves a man down with half an hour gone after Mata’utia tackled his man in the air and was sent to the sin bin
Rhinos took advantage of having a man extra as Lui was able to get on the outside of Holmes and scooted over from close range. Martin made no mistake with his conversion to cut into the Tigers’ advantage.
With the first half drawing to a close the Rhinos weren’t taking their foot off the gas and a late shot from Sene-Lefao was penalised by the ref which got Leeds into touching distance of the line. Hurrell made one of his trademark charges for the line and offloaded but some terrific scramble defending stopped the hosts inches short.
The hooter went for half-time with the visitors leading by 14 points to 6.
It was a Rhinos error that handed Castleford the first opening of the second half and a Matagi barging run got the visitors centre metres from the try line. Unfortunately for the Tigers they couldn’t execute as McShane’s pass bounced forward off Nathan Massey.
The momentum switched one way then the other as this time Lui broke the line to get Leeds into a strong position to attack from. Brad Dwyer picked up the ball and decided to go himself on the last with a pick and go but was tackled well by the Cas defensive unit.
Cas couldn’t keep Leeds at bay the next time the Rhinos attacked as some quick hands on the left edge opened up the space for Ash Handley to dive over by the corner flag. Martin kicked his conversion from out wide to get Leeds within two points of the Tigers with 50 minutes on the clock.
The Tigers looked to restore their strong advantage and were clinical in the 58th minute as they gave themselves some breathing space. A dynamic break forward from Man of Steel McShane brought his team up inside the Leeds 20. The hooker then kicked out to the left on the last, Eden caught brilliantly and produced a remarkable scoop offload to Turner who skidded over in the corner. Richardson did well to convert the extras from out on the touchline to give the Tigers an 8-point lead.
It took some resolute scramble defence from the visitors soon after to stop Leeds from getting themselves back in the game. Zane Tetevano looked clear to score after a Myler pass inside the 20 put him through, however, McShane sprinted back just in time to challenge the loose forward.
With ten minutes to go it looked like Cas had got their fourth try of the night as Mata’utia flew over but unfortunately for Castleford the referee signalled a forward pass from O’Brien in the build-up.
Castleford did get the crucial late score they were looking for and it was that man Eden who was on fire on the wing. Richardson booted high on the final tackle and Evalds rose highest to pat the ball back into the hands of the #23 who bounced off the post and managed to get the ball down. Richardson kicked the conversion from in front of the posts to make it 26-12 with five minutes to go.
Leeds did get a try with the clock ticking closer to the final whistle after a late tackle by Massey on Lui gave the Rhinos a penalty in the Cas half. Brad Dwyer was the man to step away from the tackle and sprint over unopposed to score. Martin kept his 100% record from the tee to narrow the scores to 18-26.
Rhinos were trying to force the issue as their time was running out and a loose pass was picked up by Evalds in the Cas 20. The full-back almost went all the way to the line but was tackled just in front of the goal line, however, he recycled the ball quickly and Olpherts was able to pass over the top to interchange Jimmy Keinhorst to score his first try in Castleford colours. Richardson added the extra two points for the match to finish in a fantastic derby win for the Tigers!
Full-time: Leeds Rhinos 12 – 32 Castleford Tigers
Leeds: Myler, T. Briscoe, Hurrell, Newman, Handley, L. Sutcliffe, Lui, Vuniyayawa, Leeming, Thompson, Donaldson, Martin, Tetevano
Interchanges: Holroyd, Dwyer, Gannon, Smith
Tries: Lui, Handley, Dwyer
Goals: Martin (3/3)
Castleford: Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Turner, Eden, O’Brien, Richardson, Smith, McShane, Millington, Holmes, Sene-Lefao, Milner
Interchanges: Massey, Foster, Matagi, Keinhorst
Tries: Eden x2, Mata’utia, Turner, Keinhorst
Goals: Richardson (6/6)
Sin bin: Mata’utia
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