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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 18 Castleford Tigers 12

28th June 2008

By Leeds Rhinos

The Champions have produced one of the most heroic wins in the clubs history to beat Castleford 18-12 at Headingley Carnegie. Leeds were without 14 first team players and fielded a team that included 13 players from the club's academy system plus the four overseas players. Matt Diskin, captain for the day in the absence of Kevin Sinfield, inspired his troops, setting up one try for Brent Webb and scoring another to cap a man of the match winning performance. Leeds Rhinos returned to Headingley Carnegie with a completely new look side just eight days since their last game. Jordan Tansey the latest player to miss out on the clash after being ruled out following a late fitness test on a shoulder injury and the Rhinos did not include any of the seven players who played in the Gillette Fusion Test in Toulouse the previous night however Castleford included their inspirational young star, Joe Westerman, amongst their replacements.

The Rhinos made a fantastic start and enjoyed a five minute spell on the Tigers line with the visitors penalised four times by referee Phil Bentham as they tried to slow Leeds down. It looked like they would get the opening score when Ali Lauitiiti powered over the line however good defence from Cas prevented him from grounding the ball and the chance was gone. Leeds then had to produce some tremendous defence to keep Castleford out. No matter what the Tigers threw at the home side, the Rhinos seemed to come up with an answer with Ali Lauitiiti and Ben Jones-Bishop both coming up with notable pieces of play. The game was being played at a good pace in an even contest that only saw the flow of the game interupted by the whistle of referee Bentham. It was not until the 19th minute that the deadlock was broken and it inevitably came from a penalty. Leeds were penalised just inside their half and Cas kicked deep into Rhinos territory. The Tigers moved the ball quickly through Brent Sherwin and Luke Dorn to create an overlap outwide for Richard Owen to score in the corner. Craig Huby missed the conversion so it remained 4-0. The young Rhinos kept their heads up afte that set back and continued to ask questions of the Tigers defence. Danny Allan burst through after 24 minutes and look set to score only to get hauled down short of the line. As Leeds looked to spread the ball wide, a Castleford defender deliberately blocked the pass to stop the try. It seemed a sin binning was certain to follow, Cas had already been warned twice, but referee Bentham deemed otherwise, much to the bemusement to most inside Headingley Carnegie. Leeds were dealt another blow after 28 minutes when full back Ben Jones-Bishop was helped from the field with a shoulder injury. With no backs on the bench, Ben Kaye was drafted in, however Cas paid the Rhinos a back handed compliment two minutes later when they elected to go for goal from a penalty in front of the posts. Huby kicked it to extend the lead to 6-0 but the Rhinos had been allowed time to reshape their backline. Cas were left to rue a number of missed chances as they knocked on when they seemed certain to score. The Tigers were getting desperate so much so that Sherwin attempted a drop goal from straight in front of the posts from 15 metres out just before half time, and missed it, leaving the young Rhinos trailing by just six points at half time.

WP – Home MPU

The Rhinos came out determined at the start of the second half and had a good spell of pressure on the Castleford line. However, they were unable to get over the line and the Tigers punished them with a classic piece of counter attack play. Joe Westerman came off the bench to break clear and run 80 metres before being tackled by Webb and Williams. However, two tackles later a hanging bomb from Luke Dorn was plucked out of the air by Westerman ahead of Webb to score. The conversion was missed so the lead remained 10-0 after 46 minutes. Williams produced a fantastic piece of defensive play to deny Adam Fletcher in the corner. The winger looked certain to score from Shenton's through kick but Williams pushed him into touch on the corner flag at the moment he would have touched down. The game entered a crucial stage with Leeds needing to hit back quickly. They did just that when Simon Worrall produced a great offload to Lee Smith, who burst down field to score in the corner. The winger was unlucky not to convert his try when his effort just pulled to the right of the posts to leave the score 10-4 after 53 minutes. Unfortunately, the Rhinos were unable to build on that momentum as there was a knock on from the kick off. However it appeared as if they had weathered the storm when the Tigers knocked on on the fifth tackle but incredibly referee Bentham awarded the visitors a penalty. Justice was done though when Sherwin missed his attempt at goal. However, after 63 minutes Huby was able to extend the lead when Worrall was penalised for interference although Michael Korkidas went unpunished for twice throwing an arm into the face of Worrall right in front of the official. Spurred on by what they seem to feel were injustices, the Rhinos came firing back. Matt Diskin had taken over the captain's armband in the absence of Kevin Sinfield and he led by example. He spotted a gap twenty metres out. He burst through before passing instinctively back inside to the supporting run of Brent Webb who scored his 11th try of the season. Smith added the conversion to make it 12-10 after 66 minutes. Headingley Carnegie was brought to it's feet three minutes later when Diskin himself cut through the Tigers defence to score between the posts. Smith again converted and the home side now led 16-12 with ten minutes remaining. Castleford came firing back at the Rhinos and it took two pieces of brilliant defence by Jones-Bishop, who bravely came back off the bench after his first half injury, and Ali Lauitiiti to keep them out. The Rhinos made sure of the points with a penalty three minutes from time by Lee Smith to secure one of the most heroic wins in the history of the club.

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