The last time that these two sides met was back in round seven when the Tigers came back from a sixteen point deficit to level the scores at full time, only to be beaten by the Rhinos in Golden Point thanks to a Brad Dwyer drop goal, the first of his career.

While the Tigers have had their problems since that loss, including last weeks cup exit to Hull FC, they are nothing compared to the Rhinos sacking their coach before they exited the Challenge Cup at the hands of Championship side, the Bradford Bulls.

The Tigers are now seventh in Super League, with the Rhinos languishing in twelfth. A Castleford win could see them up into third spot while a win for the Rhinos, in front of a newly opened North Stand at Headingley, would lift them above the Giants and into ninth.

After last weekends poor showings, both sides appeared to have redoubled their defensive efforts in the early exchanges with numerous attacks thwarted by stalwart defending. The Tigers conceeded a penalty on twelve after a ball strip on Liam Sutcliffe by Jacob Trueman and Sutcliffe elected to kick the two points to edge the Rhinos ahead.

After tapping a penalty themselves on seventeen, when Richie Myler picked up a loose ball in an offside position, Jesse Sene-Lefao eventually managed to ground the ball after crashing over from first receiver. Peter Mata’utia added the conversion, and the Tigers were 6-2 ahead.

When Kallum Watkins was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on twenty-five the skipperless Rhinos had to play the next next ten with a man less. On the next set Greg Eden found space in a stretched Leeds defence to go over in the left corner and extend the lead. Mata’utia added the conversion for 12-2, the visitors starting to pull clear.

The Rhinos managed to weather the storm until Watkins returned from the sin-bin but after a fantastic break from Harry Newman, who found Watkins in support, Matt Parcell put the pass down with the line beckoning. It was the Rhinos best scoring opportunity of a half which ended with they trailing by ten points to an improved Castleford.

Four minutes into the second half Sene-Lefao grabbed his second as the Rhinos defence opened up to allow the second rower to pile through the broken line and stoop to score. Mata’utia hit the target for the third time and were now 18-2 ahead.

After an intricate and expansive passing move the Rhinos finally opened their try account when Matt Parcell found a gap to ground under the uprights after taking a Myler offload. Sutcliffe added the two points but Leeds were still ten adrift.

Trent Merrin was penalised for backchat when Leeds were in possession on fifty-nine and at the end of the subsequent set of six, Jordan Rankin put in a high kick which  was tapped back by Mike McMeeken into the hands of James Clare for a simple touchdown. Mata’utia hit th target and Merrin’s side had paid the ultimate price for his indiscretion.

The game was won on sixty-five after a Greg Eden break found Jake Trueman in support to go over to score, referee Kendall accidentally impeding the Leeds cover tackler Parcell as he came across to intercept. Mata’utia added the two for a 30-8 win.

The Tigers have halted their losing streak and find themselves third in the table with their hopes of a play-off place well and truly alive. It could have been a tricky visit to Headingley against a Rhinos side who must have been hoping for a bounce back from last weeks disappointment but who instead find themselves descending into even more trouble at the foot of the table. While they won’t end the weeken in bottom spot, the game against London next weekend at the Magic event now looks crucial for Leeds.

Rhinos: Lolohea, Handley, Watkins (SB on 25), Newman, Briscoe, McLelland, Myler, Singleton, Dwyer, Peteru, Smith, Sutcliffe (2G), Merrin.   Subs: Seumanufagai, Oledzki, Donaldson, Parcell (T).

Tigers: Mata’utia (5G), Eden (T), Blair, Minikin, Clare (T), Trueman (T), Aston, Millington, McShane, Watts, Sene-Lafao (2T), McMeeken, Massey.  Subs: Milner, Cook, Clark, Rankin.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

Half-Time: 2-12.

Full-Time: 8-30.

Attendance: .


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