There was drama at Headingley tonight as Leeds failed to score a single try for 73 minutes as their attack seemed disconnected for much of the game.
They trailed 8-0 going into the final seven minutes until they were awarded a penalty and opted interestingly to take a shot at goal to trim the Tigers’ lead down to just six points and at the time it looked like the only way Leeds would notch some points.
Then suddenly Leeds came to life when Zak Hardaker broke down field from a long Castleford kick teeing up skipper Kruise Leeming for a try that levelled the game which looked to be slipping away from Leeds along with the play-offs and any dream of Old Trafford just minutes earlier.
A draw would’ve been enough for Leeds to get into the top six but to hang onto a point they’d have had to survive the rest of the regular game and golden point and it was clear Castleford were determined to notch a drop goal to send them into the play-offs with Greg Eden having an effort at the one-point after a terrific set up field.
Shortly after that miss, Leeds came up with the decisive points, not a drop goal but a try. After a short ball from Cameron Smith put Mikolaj Oledzki through half a gap before he offloaded to Richie Myler who teed up Aidan Sezer for a winning try to secure fifth spot for Leeds and a trip to Catalans next week in the play-offs.
That might not have happened had Leeds opted to take the two points seven minutes earlier as Rhyse Martin continued to nail his efforts at goal. That was his 34th consecutive goal kick and by the time he converted the winning score from Aidan Sezer having levelled the game with the boot earlier in the afternoon, he’d nailed his 36th consecutive goal in Super League equalling the record of Mason Lino at Wakefield recorded last season.
So one more would see Martin set a new Super League and NRL record but Liam Finn and Jamie Ellis still hold the overall record with 41 in the Championship so six more would equate to a world record and Martin now has the chance to do that this season now that Leeds are on their way to the play-offs.
It’s reminiscent of when Kevin Sinfield did something similar in the play-offs a decade ago as Leeds headed to Super League glory. He nailed 21 consecutive goals in play-off rugby, can Martin follow suite.