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Craig Lingard blasts Castleford Tigers after “awful” defeat

Castleford Tigers

Castleford Tigers head coach Craig Lingard has slammed his team’s performance in their 32-4 Super League defeat to Leeds Rhinos, describing it as a ‘2 or 3 out of 10’. 

The Tigers barely threw a punch in their heavy defeat at Headingley, and only scored their first try in the final quarter of the game; which was a far-cry from their 30-22 win over Hull FC last weekend.

Speaking to the media after the game, Lingard said the defeat, shown live on BBC Two, highlights where his team are: “I think it highlights exactly where we are as a group. We’re either a 7 or an 8 or a 2 or 3. Last week I thought we were probably a 7 or an 8, but pretty much all the way through the game today we were round about a 2 or 3.”

Inconsistency has plagued the Fords this season. Solid wins over Hull FC, Salford Red Devils and London Broncos have been marred with heavy defeats to Wigan Warriors, St Helens and now Leeds Rhinos too.

Quiz: Can you name all these former Castleford Tigers players?

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Castleford Tigers “have to get bettter”

Castleford Tigers

Credit: Imago Images

“We’ve got to get better,” said Lingard. “We’ve said all season, we’ve got a group of players that at the minute are not ready to be consistent Super League players in the top six, that’s just where we are. It’s frustrating.

“It’s frustrating as a coach and as a staff and I’m sure it’s frustrating for the fans to watch. We’re good, then we’re poor, then we’re awful and then we’re good again.”

“We’re missing some quality players, we know we’re missing some quality players. We’re missing some punch in the middle and some aggression in the middle as well to win games like that. When you’ve got big middles from Leeds that are carrying through the defence, we need some big middles to come through and do the same for us and whack some people.”

As Lingard alluded too, they are particularly light in the front-row. George Lawler is currently out of action, and players like George Griffin and Sylvester Namo are only now getting back up to full fitness following lengthy spells with injury.

They now prepare for a break for the Challenge Cup final, which Lingard said he’ll use to get some bodies back.

“A bit of rest and recuperation over the next few days. We’ve got quite a few niggles out there so I think it’s come at a decent time for us to patch a few bodies up and then we’ll come back and we’ll prep for Wigan as we normally do.”

Leeds Rhinos 32-4 Castleford Tigers: Full report

Castleford Tigers

Credit: Imago Images

Leeds Rhinos put Castleford Tigers to the sword with a comfortable 32-4 victory at Headingley, easing the pressure on Rohan Smith in the process. 

A brace from Rhyse Martin, alongside other scores from Ash Handley, Brodie Croft and Matt Frawley guided Leeds to their first win since early May.

Leeds nearly got off to the perfect start. Ash Handley swatted Matt Frawley’s kick into the grateful arms of Cam Smith, however it was chalked off for a knock-on.

They kept the pressure on though. A floated pass from Brodie Croft nearly sent Alfie Edgell through a gaping hole, but the youngster couldn’t hold onto the ball and the chance went begging.

Leeds did eventually make their early dominance count, as Handley dived over in the corner. A well-worked move down Leeds’ left edge found the England international in space, and he made no mistake with the finish.

Momentum was still very much with the hosts. Breaks from Mikolaj Oledzki, Edgell and Smith threatened the Castleford line, however they finally crossed through Croft. A clever dummy from the former Salford man opened a gap in the Tigers defence, and he scampered through to dive under the sticks.

They could easily have had a third too. A powerful surge from Smith drew in the Castleford defence, leaving the line begging for either Handley or Harry Newman, but he couldn’t get the pass away and the chance went begging.

After some fairly stagnant play, the boot of Rhyse Martin gave the Rhinos a 14-point buffer. It was already looking like a long way back for the Tigers.

Leeds looked to finish the first-half with one final flurry, but Castleford stood tall.

The Rhinos didn’t let off in the second-half either, as they scored two tries in the opening five minutes. Matt Frawley was hand for the first, as he sneaked over from short range. The half-back turned from scorer to creator for the second, as his pass sent Martin powering through the hapless Castleford defence.

Castleford finally began to claw their way back into the game with some half-chances. A break from Elie El-Zakhem broke through the Leeds defence, however his offload wasn’t cleanly taken by Hall and the attack came to a grinding halt.

A sting of penalties gifted them a set just 10 meters out from the Leeds line too, but despite the best efforts of Tex Hoy and Innes Senior they were unable to break through the Leeds defence.

They weren’t held out for long though, as El-Zakhem crossed out wide. Quick hands through the Tigers right edge found the ball in the back-rowers hand’s, and he dotted down under pressure from three Leeds defenders.

The Rhinos responded instantly, as Martin notched his second try of the half. A delayed pass from Croft created a gap in the Tigers defence, and the PNG international steamed through to score.

A late tussle between Liam Horne and Sam Lisone brought some excitement into the latter stage, however Leeds held onto a resounding victory.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Anthony Booth

    June 2, 2024 at 10:31 am

    How many tries have Cas conceded from dummy passes on there line, they are so frightened to tackle they take the soft option

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