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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 12 Castleford Tigers 23

23rd June 2017

By Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos lost out to Castleford Tigers at Headingley Carnegie with the home tries coming from Ash Handley and Adam Cuthbertson.

The Tigers came into the game with a six point lead at the top of the Betfred Super League table and the visitors dominated the early exchanges as they looked to bounce back from their Challenge Cup exit five days before.
 
Daryl Powell’s side started well and had a big spell of pressure on the Leeds line after back to back penalties against the home side. Leeds defended well though and an error by McShane turned over possession.
 
The Rhinos managed to gain some field position after that and crossed for the opening try after nine minutes. Matt Parcell thought he had scored when he desperately tried to get his finger tips to McGuire’s kick. Referee Hicks said play on and the Tigers attempted to attack from deep only for Ben Roberts’ pass wide to be intercepted by Ash Handley. The young winger had to think quick and got the ball down before he went out of play. Liam Sutcliffe added the conversion to put his side 6-0 in front.
 
Leeds had to produce some top draw defence to keep the league leaders out after that firstly when Zak Hardaker broke through and then McGuire grabbed hold of Greg Minikin and took the centre into touch.
 
However, as the home side came away from their line, the ball was spilled and Castleford had the chance to attack again. Former Rhino Paul McShane appeared to lose his grip on the ball but referee Hicks was happy to wave play on and give the Tigers another set after the ball came off a defenders legs.  The visitors made the most of their fortune and spread the ball wide for Greg Eden to dive in at the corner. Luke Gale added the conversion to level the score after 15 minutes. 
 
There was a double blow for Leeds as skipper Danny McGuire was sin binned for his protestations to the official and the Rhinos faced a massive period against a fired up Castleford side with just 12 men.
 
In truth, they managed the period brilliantly with Moon happy to kick to the corners and use up the clock as intelligently as possible. Just after McGuire had returned, the Rhinos were penalised on their own line and Gale opted to kick the points to put his side in front for the first time after 33 minutes.
 
Leeds got a big let off as the first half drew to a close after Tom Briscoe had spilled a high kick and Eden had slid in at the corner but the chasers were offside when the original kick came in and the score was chalked off by video referee Phil Bentham.
 
The Rhinos thought they had scored on the hooter through Parcell only to see referee Hicks and his officials leaving the field as the hooker went over. The referee said the hooter had gone before Jamie Jones-Buchanan had played the ball, leaving the score at 6-8 at the interval.
 
The last time the two sides met at the Dacia Magic Weekend, it was 6-6 at the break and the Rhinos were undone but an early blitz. They knew they needed to keep Castleford at bay after the break however the Tigers soon crossed for their second try when Hardaker broke through inside his own half and then rounded Sutcliffe to score. Gale added the conversion to give his side a 14-6 lead after 47 minutes.
 
The next score looked like it would be crucial given how tight the game was and it was Castleford who crossed. Like their first try, they made the most of their good fortune as the ball was dropped when Watkins was taking the Tigers man into touch, bounced off his legs backwards and Gale was quickest to react to kick through for Millington to chase through and score. Gale converted again to stretch the lead to 22-6.
 
Leeds did get a try back when Paul McShane and Jy Hitchcox ran into each other and Adam Cuthbertson was on hand to pick up and touch down. Sutcliffe adding the conversion.
 
However, any hopes of a late fight back were extinguished by a late drop goal from Gale to seal the 23-12 victory for the league leaders. 
 

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