The culmination of the opening day of the Magic Weekend saw Castleford Tigers take on the Leeds Rhinos in a repeat of last seasons Old Trafford Grand Final.
There were a number of changes for both sides since their last outings as fifth took on sixth for the honour of overnighting in fourth place ahead of Hull FC playing tomorrow afternoon.
The Rhinos lost out by a solitary point when the two sides met at the end of March but the Rhinos were the victors when it counted, in last season’s Grand Final. Both sides had something to redress in front of a pretty full St James’ Park in Newcastle.
It took eleven minutes for the Tigers to open the scoring when Jy Hitchcox stooped to pick up a low pass and fend off Kallum Watkins to ground one-handed. Jamie Ellis kicked the conversion for a 6-0 lead.
The second came on nineteen when Alex Foster found a gap in the Leeds defence running against the directoin of play to dove over from five metres. Ellis added the extras and the Tigers were in control of the game.
After the Rhinos delayed the play-the-ball on thirty-four Elllis accepted the invitation for a twenty metre penalty goal for 14-0.
Two minutes before the interval Junior Moors span out of a Cameron Smith tackle to ground on the line, directly under the Leeds cross-bar, for the third unanswered Tigers try. Ellis added the extras.
Matt Parcell stole the ball on the half way line on the hooter and as Ellis added the extras it was Castleford who had played the perfect first half, and who went into the interval with a 22-0 advantage.
With just sixty seconds on the second half clock Michael Shenton went over from ten metres out, thanks to a poor defensive effort from the Rhinos who looked to be rapidly losing interest in the game. Ellis kicked the extras for 28-0.
Some good work from Matt Parcell got Leeds close on forty-six but the Tigers defence held him up in goal.
On fifty-three Parcell appeared to have gone over for the Rhinos opening try but the referee handed it to the video referee as a no try for obstruction and the fourth official agreed denying the Leeds hooker.
On fifty-six the Rhinos did finally register their opener when Mikolaj Oledzki pushed off two tacklers and run fifteen minutes to ground by the right upright. Kallum Watkins added the extras but they were still twenty-two points adrift.
Just after the hour it was normal service resumed as Adam Milner walked through the Rhinos defence to ground under the sticks off a Laim Watts pass. Ellis added a simple kick and there was no way back for the Rhinos.
On sixty-five Oliver Holmes went between two uninterested tacklers to cross in the left corner. For once, Ellis was unable to add the conversion but the Rhinos had taken another big beating at the hands of their near neighbours.
Brett Ferres got a last minute consolation, the conversion missed by Richie Myler but it counted for nothing.
This was a simple victory for the Castleford Tigers as the Leeds Rhinos put up little resistance to their relentless attack, and could do nothing against their comprehensive defence. The Rhinos took a number of injuries during the game but failed to gel as a unit and were totally outplayed. It is the Tigers who will overnight in fourth spot in Super League and the Rhinos who are looking to have an increasingly difficult path to the play-offs.
Tigers: Shenton (T), Minikin, Webster, Foster (T), Hitchcox (T), Ellis (7G), Trueman, Watts, McShane, Sene-Lafeo, Wardle, McMeeken, Milner (T). Subs: Millington, Moors (T), Holmes (T), Massey.
Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins (G), Handley, Hall, Moon, Myler, Oledzki (T), Parcell, Peteru, Jones-Buchanan, Ward, Delaney. Subs: Cuthbertson , Ferres (T), Dwyer, Smith.
Referee: Chris Kendall.