Stats Pack: Castleford Tigers
Rd2.Rhinos v Tigers. Fri2ndApr2021.© MATTHEW MERRICK PHOTOGRAPHY
The Rhinos travel to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle tonight to take on Castleford Tigers, kick off 7:45pm. Rhinos Season and Flexi members can watch via the OurLeague app.
Before the teams run out, here are some of the key stats, figures and facts about both Richard Agar and Daryl Powell’s sides.
Team Head to Head
Tonight, Leeds travel to face Castleford for the 60th time in the Super League era. Leeds have won 33 times since the sides first met in 1996, most of which have come on home soil (19), while the Tigers have won 23 times, with six of those victories coming in the last ten league meetings. At the Mend-A-Hose, both clubs have 12 wins each and two draws, which came in 1997 and 1999.
Castleford come into the clash as one of the best teams statistically in the league. Although they are currently sixth in the league, thanks to consecutive defeats to Hull KR and Warrington, Daryl Powell’s side have made the second most metres and carries in the competition, thanks to the work of their outside backs Derrell Olpherts, Jordan Turner and Peter Mata’utia. Only St Helens in metres and Warrington in carries outrank the black and ambers. Mata’utia and prop Liam Watts (10 each) have contributed to most of Castleford’s offloads too (85 overall), where they rank third in the League, and the club also have made the least amount of errors out of any Super League team this year (77).
Leeds, on the other hand, are coming off the back of another tight defeat in the league against Hull FC. A win over Castleford would move the Rhinos onto level points with Huddersfield and Hull KR in the table and only two points behind tonight’s rivals. Recent form against the Tigers is on Leeds’ side, as the Rhinos have won three of the last five meetings, including a golden point extra time win in 2019 thanks to Brad Dwyer, and after pushing their local rivals close in round two, the Rhinos will be out to avenge that defeat at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Key Head to Head
Two players that are coming into tonight’s game with the opportunity to go head to head will be Liam Watts and Mikolaj Oledzki, who are both having great seasons so far.
Now in his fourth year with the Tigers, prop Watts continues to command the Castleford forwards and is set to make his first appearance after serving a two match ban. Statistically, he is one of Castleford’s hardest workers in defence and attack. He has made a total of 130 tackles in the five games he has played in 2021and has 30+ tackles in three games so far (30 against Leeds, 30 against Wigan and 35 against Salford). Against the Red Devils, he also made 128 metres from 17 carries which is his most in both metrics this season. He is also the joint leader for the Tigers on offloads with Peter Mata’utia (10 each).
Still only 22-years-old, it’s quite easy to forget how young Mikolaj Oledzki is when he’s playing big minutes for the Rhinos. A product of the Rhinos Academy, Oledzki has been ever present so far in 2021, notably featuring in every minute against Wigan a month ago and posting some of his biggest numbers this season (188 metres, 22 carries, 44 tackles). Against Hull FC last Sunday, it was a similar performance from Leeds number eight as he made over 140 metres from 20 carries and over 30 tackles to put himself up with some of the Rhinos’ top performers in the game.
One to Watch: Castleford Tigers
Now in his second year with the Tigers, winger Derrell Olpherts is in his finest form. So far he has five tries in seven games, which is the second best at Castleford behind Jordan Turner, but he has excelled especially in metres and carries, ranking fifth in metres (1003) and second in carries (133) out of all Super League players. He also ranks in the League top ten for tackles busts. Last week against Warrington, he was reduced to 83 metres for the second consecutive week, having made over 100 metres in his first five matches (including 241 against Leigh in round three).
One to Watch: Leeds Rhinos
For the first time since joining the Rhinos, captain Luke Gale will make his return to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle tonight. So far in 2021, the half back has moved Leeds around the field and has pinned the opposition back with his kicking game, making 21 attacking kicks (the twelfth best in the League) and 36 overall kicks in general play. Against Hull FC, going up against Marc Sneyd, Gale made more kicks in play than the Ireland international, made his highest amount of metres this season (48) and produced a try assist for his half back partner Liam Sutcliffe to score the games opening try.
In his second year with the Tigers, prop George Griffin is set to make his 150th Super League appearance. Since debuting for Hull KR in 2012, Griffin has made most of his Super League appearances over four years with Salford Red Devils (91), where he played with his brothers Darrell and Josh in 2015. He also featured for the Robins (18), London (19) and Castleford’s derby rivals Wakefield on loan (5).
After making his 100th appearance for Castleford against Warrington last week, winger James Clare could make his 150th career appearance against the Rhinos tonight. Clare surmounted his 100 apps in black and amber over two spells at the club between 2012-15 and 2018-21 and has also played for Leigh Centurions (5) and Bradford Bulls (30). He also has four appearances for Halifax, seven for York City Knights and four for Doncaster all on dual registration.