Super League: Castleford add to Leeds frustrations with crushing five-try 30-8 win
|Betfred Super League|
|Leeds (2) 8|
|Tries: Parcell Goals: Sutcliffe 2|
|Castleford (12) 30|
|Tries: Sene-Lefao 2, Eden, Clare, Trueman Goals: Mata'utia 5|
Castleford Tigers ended their four-game losing run with a five-try Super League thrashing of struggling Leeds Rhinos at Headingley.
Having been dumped out of the Challenge Cup by Championship side Bradford, the onus was on Leeds to bounce back in front of a newly-opened North Stand.
However, Castleford's two-try opening 40, followed by another three scores after the break, ensured their win.
Matt Parcell scored the try for Leeds, who have now lost four in five games.
Victory lifts Cas up to third, although the rest of Super League is yet to play, while Leeds remain just two points behind bottom side London Broncos, who they play at Magic Weekend next weekend.
While Leeds have rebuilt their famous Headingley home to the very highest standards, with new South and North stands gleaming, it is now their team which looks most in need of redevelopment.
They enjoyed periods of possession, but were wasteful in their execution at times - notably when Harry Newman and Kallum Watkins sliced the Cas defence open but the final pass, with the line beckoning, went to ground.
Their visitors were not particularly in form either coming into the game, but the ease in which they peeled the hosts open for tries, not to mention the penalties which preceded some of them, will be of concern to the Rhinos interim boss Richard Agar.
Another concern will be the fitness of back Tui Lolohea, who left the ground in a protective boot and is a doubt for Magic.
Leeds went in front from the tee when Liam Sutcliffe knocked over a penalty, but Jesse Sene-Lefao prised his way through from Paul McShane's dummy-half pass and, after Watkins was sin-binned for a tip-tackle, Jake Trueman looped a pass wide to Greg Eden to set up a 12-2 half-time lead and a 100th Super League try.
Sene-Lefao raced over again following the break, after Mike McMeeken's ball-steal on Newman created the position, but Parcell's dive over narrowed the deficit.
It was only a temporary reprieve, as James Clare pounced on a spilled chip in-goal and Trueman scorched through the defence to dot down and blow out the score.
Leeds Rhinos interim coach Richard Agar:
"It's probably important to point out that there are people within the group who want to do something about it and care about it. We asked for an improved effort and I thought we got that in some areas but a lack of quality in other areas is hurting us badly.
"The resilience in defence is just not good enough in terms of staying in the game and our kicking game was way off so we spent a lot of time defending in our own half.
"There is still plenty of time to turn this around and get some positives out of this year. We're getting some feedback from the boys and hopefully a 10-day turnaround to our next game will help refresh us."
Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell:
"We'd lost four games on the spin so I was a bit nervous tonight, but I thought we played some great stuff in the second half. There were two teams who really needed a win and thankfully we were good enough to get away from them in the second half.
"I still think we can improve massively but there were some positive signs and we're getting a few players back which is always handy. We got some good responses - Greg Eden was left out last week and I thought he played really well. There were some strong performances out there and, as a team, we were more resilient.
"When Leeds scored in the second half it could have gone either way but we hung tough."
Leeds Rhinos: Lolohea; Handley, Watkins, Newman, Briscoe; McClelland, Myler; Singleton, Dwyer, Peteru, Smith, Sutcliffe, Merrin
Interchanges: Seumanufagai, Oledzki, Donaldson, Parcell
Castleford Tigers: Mata'utia; Eden, Blair, Minikin, Clare; Trueman, Aston; Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey
Interchanges: Milner, Cook, Clark, Rankin