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Posted: Saturday 9th July 2022

Cas suffer defeat at Magic Weekend

The Tigers were defeated by Leeds Rhinos at St. James' Park on Saturday.

Castleford Tigers’ three-match winning run came to an end at the hands of Leeds Rhinos in Newcastle on Saturday night.

It would have been a welcome sight for Lee Radford to have his star full-back Niall Evalds being able to start the contest to make his 200th career appearance after a period out through injury. With captain Paul McShane and Nathan Massey suspended, along with Jake Trueman’s unfortunate season-ending injury, the Castleford pack had to be shuffled slightly. Adam Milner stepped in at hooker, George Lawler came in at prop, and Greg Eden was selected in the halves.

Former Tiger Zak Hardaker got the fixture underway in perfect conditions and it was the Tigers who had the first look at the opposition line. Centre Jake Mamo ripped the ball brilliantly inside the Rhinos half which set up the opportunity but after efforts from Lawler and Kenny Edwards, Danny Richardson was forced out of play as he tried his luck out wide.

The Fords continued their early stronghold on the contest and found themselves deep in Leeds territory on a couple of occasions. Richardson’s high boot in the first instance was claimed well by David Fusitu’a and that was followed by Mamo leaping high but the #4 couldn’t quite bring it under his spell.

After managing to keep Castleford at bay for the first ten minutes or so it was Leeds who opened the scoring. A Richie Myler burst through the middle of the field was followed by a six again call which put the Tigers defending their own line and it was Matt Prior who spun his way over from close range. Rhyse Martin was once again on kicking duties for the Rhinos, and he duly slotted the conversion to put his side 6-0 up with 14 minutes gone.

It took Castleford nine minutes to respond with a delightfully worked score. The play was shifted right as Evalds found Bureta Faraimo charging down the right, the winger then placed the perfect kick inside to find Mamo who was in the right place to gather and skid over. Richardson lined up the conversion and put it through the posts to level the game.

With around 15 minutes of the first half remaining a break up the field from Martin put Leeds within range. After gradually making their way up to the Cas line Jarrod O’Connor decided to go himself with an opportunistic scoot and the hooker thought he had smuggled the ball over but after going to video referee, he was found to be held up by Evalds.

Castleford’s defence was called into action again after Liam Watts was penalised for a high shot inside the 10-metre mark. Leeds took the play left but Richardson was on his toes to intercept and race downfield. The scrum-half passed to Mamo on his inside but the Aussie’s attempted kick forward wasn’t executed correctly as he was being closed down by Ash Handley.

The Tigers did finish the half the stronger of the two sides and were stopped just short after a Mamo dig for glory. However, some quick thinking from the Fords’ #5 Faraimo to pick up the ball and he dived under a challenge to put the ball down. Richardson wasn’t able to find the target from the tee on this occasion, but Castleford took a 10-6 lead into the sheds.

An incorrect play of the ball from Mahe Fonua provided Leeds with the first opening of the second 40. Cas then put themselves under more pressure after Ben Thaler called for a six again late in the tackle count and Rhinos took their opportunity. Aidan Sezer fired the ball wide left, and Ash Handley was the man to stroll in by the corner post. Martin converted to put his team back into the lead seven minutes into the half.

Rhinos now had the momentum and had Castleford under the pump, and they extended their advantage through Sezer who skipped away from Lawler and placed the ball down under pressure from Evalds. Martin’s kick was successful to give Leeds an eight-point lead.

After a Richardson high kick was claimed by Leeds on the right-hand side a mazy run from Liam Sutcliffe opened up the field and the centre kicked through to Richie Myler for him to sprint over unopposed. Martin’s conversion came back off the right upright to keep the Tigers within two successfully converted scores.

Any hope of a Fords comeback took a considerable dent with 17 minutes of the match to go after a well-timed pass into the hands of James Bentley allowed the second-row to burst through under the posts. Martin made no mistake from in front to give Rhinos a comfortable lead.

The Tigers’ disappointing second half was compounded further with Sutcliffe barging through Mamo and Faraimo to dot down. Martin found the target from out wide.

Castleford crossed twice in the final few moments with Faraimo going over in the corner for his brace and Fonua bulldozing through, but the damage was already done as the Tigers suffered their first-ever defeat at St. James’ Park.

Full-time: Leeds Rhinos 34–20 Castleford Tigers

 

Leeds: Myler, Fusitu’a, Hardaker, Sutcliffe, Handley, Johnson, Sezer, Prior, O’Connor, Oledzki, Bentley, Martin, Smith

Interchanges: Dwyer, Gannon, Walters, Donaldson

Tries: Prior, Handley, Sezer, Myler, Bentley, Sutcliffe

Goals: Martin (5/6)

Sin bin: Sezer

 

Castleford: Evalds, Faraimo, Mamo, Fonua, Olpherts, Richardson, Eden, Griffin, Milner, Lawler, Mellor, Edwards, Westerman

Interchanges: Watts, Smith, Matagi, Martin

Tries: Mamo, Faraimo x2, Fonua

Goals: Richardson (2/4)