Opposition Profile: Castleford Tigers

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 24/09/2020 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League - Castleford Tigers v Huddersfield Giants - Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, England - Castleford's Jack Sanderson is congratulated on his try against Huddersfield.

It’s a short turnaround for Leeds Rhinos in the Betfred Super League as Richard Agar’s side prepares to take on Castleford Tigers at Emerald Headingley on Monday night, kick off 7:45pm. The fixture was initially scheduled for the start of October but due to a number of positive Coronavirus tests in the Castleford camp, the match was rearranged to round 18.

Let’s take a closer look at Castleford here:


Overview

Having looked like they could be challenging for a top four spot early in the season, Castleford Tiger’s form post lockdown hasn’t been the same.

Wins over Wigan, Hull KR, champions St Helens and local rivals Wakefield Trinity in the first two months of the new season had Tigers fans excited. New signings Danny Richardson and Derrell Olpherts, plus experienced Super League names such as Liam Watts, were gelling well into Powell’s system and Castleford seemed close to rediscovering their 2017 class.

Castleford defeated the champions St Helens in one of the last matches before lockdown.

But, like most clubs, lockdown came at an unideal time and on Super League’s resumption, Castleford have only won twice in all competitions. A 29-16 loss to Hull FC saw the Tigers bow out of the Coral Challenge Cup early while in the league, a 37-30 win over Salford Red Devils at the start of September has provided the only points. A series of positive coronavirus tests at the start of October ruled Powell’s side out of action for two weeks and on their return the Tigers were once again defeated by Hull FC 48-6 at the KCOM Stadium. Against the Robins four days later, a number of players, including wingers Derrell Olpherts and Greg Eden, returned to Powell’s side; Eden scoring a hat trick in the 38-24 win.


Last Time Out in Super League

Greg Eden made a try scoring return for Castleford as Daryl Powell’s side picked up their second win since the restart against Hull KR at the Totally Wicked Stadium last Thursday night. After rushing into a 24 point lead, thanks to tries from Jacques O’Neill, Alex Foster, Adam Milner and Eden, a fightback by Rovers closed the scoreline to eight points at half time but two tries from Eden and a penalty goal from Danny Richardson sealed the win for the men in orange and black.


Key Players

MICHAEL SHENTON

Position: Centre

Played over 300 Super League matches while at Castleford and St Helens

2020 SL Tries: 7

Only needs eight points to reach 500 Super League points

Bio: Skipper Shenton, now in his second stint at the club following brief spell at St Helens, is one of Powell’s ‘go-to’ players for both his experience and consistent performances. His try scoring ability against Leeds can also be noted for Monday’s game as he is currently level with Greg Eden for most tries scored by a Castleford player against Leeds.

PAUL MCSHANE

Position: Hooker

2020 SL Tackles: 564 (2nd in the League)

Made 63 appearances for the Rhinos between 2009 and 2013

Overall Super League tries: 36

Bio: One of three Castleford players to be coming up against their former club on Monday night, McShane is an instrumental part of Powell’s attack and defence. He has made the second most tackles in competition and also sits in the top 20 try assisters, while also crossing the whitewash twice himself.


Previous Meetings

Over the last few years, this fixture between Leeds and Castleford has evolved into a highlight for supporters and neutrals. Brad Dwyer’s drop goal in Super League’s first ever golden point extra time match is just the latest in a number of memorable moments that have happened between these two sides at Emerald Headingley.

In 1999, a red hot Rhinos side inflicted a 50-22 result on their Play Off rivals. Winger Marvin Golden scored his first hat trick for the club in a great personal performance while Iestyn Harris extended his points tally for the season with 18 points (two tries and five goals).

Leeds would go on to post higher scorelines against the visiting Tigers over the next decade. Chev Walker scored four in a 64-12 result in 2004 and then a hat trick when the Tigers were promoted back to Super League in 2006, and youngster Jordan Tansey also crossed the whitewash three times in a 54-12 win two years later. Most Leeds fans won’t forget the 2009 meeting between the two sides though when Ryan Hall continued his epic try-scoring season with five against the helpless Tigers as Leeds continued their push for the League Leaders’ Shield.

Brad Dwyer’s golden point extra time drop goal against the Tigers last year was a highlight of the Super League season as Leeds took away a 21-20 result

Fresh after the Rhinos had beaten Castleford to be crowned Super League Champions in 2017, Elland Road hosted the rematch between the two clubs at the start of the 2018 campaign. A thrilling 25-24 contest followed as Leeds battled their way back from 25-10 down to come within one point of victory but Kallum Watkins’ couldn’t convert Hall’s 77th minute try as the Tigers took away the win.

Previous Meetings at Emerald Headingley

Leeds Rhinos 8 Castleford Tigers 30 (SLR15, 16/5/19)

Leeds Rhinos 21 Castleford Tigers 20 (aet) (SLR8, 28/3/19) 

Leeds Rhinos 24 Castleford Tigers 25 (SLR7, 23/3/18)*

Leeds Rhinos 12 Castleford Tigers 23 (SLR19, 23/6/17) 

Leeds Rhinos 12 Castleford Tigers 52 (SLR14, 12/05/16)

Leeds Rhinos 22 Castleford Tigers 29 (SLS8, 17/09/15)

Leeds Rhinos 24 Castleford Tigers 31 (SLR18, 11/06/15)

Leeds Rhinos 24 Castleford Tigers 24 (SLR21, 17/07/14)

Leeds Rhinos 42 Castleford Tigers 24 (SLR00, 07/06/13)

Leeds Rhinos 28 Castleford Tigers 12 (CCR4, 19/04/13)

*Played at Elland Road


Team News


Record against the Rhinos

Monday night’s game will be the 210th time in history that Leeds will play Castleford. 100 games have been played at Emerald Headingley exclusively, with Leeds winning 78% of them.

During Super League alone, both home and away, Leeds have won the most matches out of the two sides. The Rhinos have run out victors against the Tigers on 32 occasions, 18 of which have come on home soil. That includes an eight match winning streak between 2003 and 2009; Danny McGuire scoring in five of them.

Castleford’s league success against Leeds is more recent. From the 31-24 win for Daryl Powell’s side at Headingley, the Tigers won the next eleven encounters with the Rhinos in the League, including two at the Dacia Magic Weekend (29-18 in 2017 and 38-10 in 2018) and a one point thriller at Elland Road in 2018; Luke Gale’s drop goal proving the difference as Castleford avenged their Grand Final defeat.


Head to Head


Last Game Against the Rhinos

When Leeds and Castleford clashed for the second time at Emerald Headingley in 2019, the Tigers made up for their extra time defeat by winning 30-8, sending Leeds to their third successive defeat. Matt Parcell was the only try scorer for the Rhinos; Liam Sutcliffe adding a conversion and a penalty goal in what would be Dave Furner’s last match coaching the club.