Leeds Rhinos 24-26 Castleford Tigers: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

Leeds Rhinos have been stunned by Castleford Tigers to wrap up Magic Weekend Game One.


Olpherts opens scoring against former club
Leeds started the better of the two sides heaping early pressure on the Tigers and the Rhinos scored first after a lovely move left created the space for Derrell Olpherts to stroll in at the corner off a lovely wide ball from Blake Austin.

Cas hit back
After early Leeds pressure, a nice move to the left by the Tigers allowed Jordan Turner to carve through. His offload then allowed Jacob Miller to score under the sticks.

Tigers make it two in two minutes
Then Castleford doubled their money with a lovely try from Elliot Wallace. The young winger got on the outside of Nene MacDonald and went in and out to score.

Leeds retake the lead before the break
A lovely bit of improve from James McDonnell as the second-row cut inside and stabbed a kick forward. Cameron Smith and Gareth Widdop chased it, missed but James Bentley was on hand to score as he did in 2022.

Martin slices through
Rhyse Martin added to Leeds’ lead at the start of the second half as he hit a perfect line and Blake Austin hit a perfect pass to the second row turned centre.

Mellor strikes against former club
Against his former club, Alex Mellor, also playing at centre, squeezed in at the corner to make a real game of it.

MacDonald try saver in the corner
Cas were building plenty of pressure in the second half as Leeds made a series of errors and the Tigers looked like they could have gone in at the corner but the video referee showed that Nene MacDonald had pushed his opposite number out into touch.

Leeds absorb the pressure and strike at the other end
After absorbing the pressure at their own end, Leeds struck down the other end of the field. Blake Austin was again at the heart of things. He turned James Bentley back inside. The backrower showed great power before offloading to Mikolaj Oledzki to score.

Mellor gives Tigers hope
Alex Mellor was again given space out wide and again made his old side pay bouncing through the tackles and smuggling the ball to the line.

Cas level it
A minute later, the Tigers went down field and found the numbers down the right again and a lovely move saw Jason Qareqare put in at the corner.

Talking Points:

Rhinos worry
At the Magic Weekend last year Leeds made a statement as they beat Castleford. A year later and the Rhinos are in a really worrying spot. It was one of their worst performances of the season today and they do not look like a play-off side.

Ball in Wakefield’s court
Wakefield have to win a game and soon otherwise it is effectively game over at the bottom of the table.

Back to the drawing board at Headingley
There will be big changes at Headingley not just going into 2024 but you feel that this is a long term rebuild.

Player Ratings:

Leeds Rhinos
5 Ash Handley – 6
4 Nene MacDonald – 7
24 Luis Roberts – 5
12 Rhyse Martin – 6
16 Derrell Olpherts – 5
6 Blake Austin – 6
1 Richie Myler – 5
8 Mikolaj Oledzki – 7
14 Jarrod O’Connor – 6
22 Sam Walters – 6
19 James McDonnell – 6
25 James Donaldson – 6
13 Cameron Smith – 7
11 James Bentley – 8
26 Corey Johnson – 5
23 Liam Tindall – N/A
17 Justin Sangare – 6

Castleford Tigers
6 Gareth Widdop – 7
31 Jason Qareqare – 7
12 Alex Mellor – 8
3 Jordan Turner – 7
26 Elliot Wallace – 7
17 Jack Broadbent – 7
7 Jacob Miller – 7
32 Liam Watts – 6
9 Paul McShane – 6
23 Suaia Matagi – 6
11 Kenny Edwards – 7
8 George Lawler – 6
13 Joe Westerman – 8
25 Brad Martin – 6
20 Muizz Mustapha – 6
28 Sam Hall – 6
10 George Griffin – 6