Castleford Tigers registered a resounding victory at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle tonight, defeating Leeds Rhinos 66-10 in a totally one-sided encounter with wingers Greg Minikin and Greg Eden both scoring try hat-tricks in front of a sell-out crowd of 11,500.
The Tigers were without halfback Rangi Chase who had been suspended following an internal investigation into an incident that apparently took place away from the club. He was replaced by Paul McShane at stand-off half, after the former hooker completed his suspension. The only other change for the Tigers was the inclusion of Will Maher to replace Joel Monaghan, who had suffered an injury in training.
Leeds had lost second-rower Carl Ablett to suspension and prop Mitch Garbutt with a pectoral tear, while Tom Briscoe was left out and Rob Burrow pulled out on the day of the match through illness.
Winger Ash Handley and backrow forwards Josh Walters and Brett Delaney all came into the starting lineup after playing recently for Featherstone, while Liam Sutcliffe also came from the bench into the scrum-half position to replace Burrow, leaving the Rhinos with an inexperienced bench.
In the first half the Tigers led 30-0, scoring six tries, including two from Eden and Minikin’s hat-trick, with Mike McMeeken also scoring. Luke Gale added three conversions.
In the second half the Tigers continued their assault on the Leeds defence, scoring six more tries through Zak Hardaker, McShane, Jake Webster, Eden, Gale and Michael Shenton, with Gale adding six more goals.
Leeds did manage to get on the scoreboard with tries to Mullally and Joel Moon, while Sutcliffe converted one of them.
The Tigers retain their position at the top of the Betfred Super League, while the Rhinos will return to Headingley in a state of shock.
Castleford: Hardaker, Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden, McShane, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Springer, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey; Subs: Millington, Moors, Cook, Maher
Leeds: Golding, Handley, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Sutcliffe, Singleton, Parcell, Cuthbertson, Keinhorst, Delaney, Walters; Subs: Ormondroyd, Mullally, Baldwinson, Lilley