Leeds Rhinos vs Castleford Tigers: Team news, match preview and score prediction

This West Yorkshire derby is always big but as both teams come into the game on the back of big wins, it’s takes on added significance.

Castleford are looking to solidify their play-off spot whilst Leeds’ huge win over Hull FC last week showed that Leeds can still be a dangerous team in 2022 and could still make the top six.

They’ll have to win here though to give themselves the best chance of doing so.

Team News

The Rhinos have only been able to name a 20-man squad following Jack Walker’s loan departure to Hull FC and skipper Kruise Leeming’s absence due to a foot injury meaning we could see Brad Dwyer for the first time in weeks or Corey Johnson. Should Leeds need an extra man, they will recall Levi Edwards from his loan.

Castleford have lost both Nathan Massey and Paul McShane to one-match bans after last week’s win. Kenny Edwards could be a doubt after picking up a knock last week but is still in the squad. Hull FC bound Jake Trueman of course isn’t after an ACL injury. The Tigers expect to have Niall Evalds available and will have Liam Watts back after a ban. Former Rhino Alex Sutcliffe is back in the squad after injury whilst he’s joined by another former Leeds man in Alex Mellor who is set to play against his former club just weeks after leaving. Cas were also only able to name a 20-man squad.

Match Preview – Key Battles:

Niall Evalds vs Richie Myler: Niall Evalds, after tormenting Leeds at Headingley in the Challenge Cup, will likely make his long awaited return tomorrow in a battle of two former Lance Todd trophy winners as the 2021 winning fullback takes on the 2020 winning fullback. Last week at Hull, Richie Myler showed what he can do at fullback notching five assists and a try. Another performance like that here could give Leeds the advantage.

Joe Westerman vs Cameron Smith: Like Evalds, Westerman helped dismantle Leeds at Headingley so Leeds will have to shut down his threat. However, the Rhinos have a similar player in Cameron Smith who could look to outshine Westerman who may end up playing in the halves but will likely still offer a similar threat to usual.

Alex Mellor vs James Bentley: Just weeks ago, Alex Mellor was a Leeds player now he’ll be lining up against the man who took his number 11 shirt at Headingley in James Bentley. Two very athletic second-rowers, it should be an intriguing battle.

Where the game will be won and lost:

Leeds have shown since Rohan Smith took over that they can shine in attack as they did last week but to do so they have to limit the damage the opposition pack does which is easier said than done against a brilliant Cas pack which has squared up against two top packs in Catalans and Huddersfield recently. Having won those big games, the Tigers have shown they have what it takes to cement themselves within the top six.

Score Prediction: Castleford Tigers 24-18 Leeds Rhinos

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