Hall double helps sink Castleford

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Published: Friday 3rd April 2015 by The News Editor

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Leeds showed they are in good shape to cope with Kevin Sinfield’s retirement as they claimed a 26-12 derby victory over Castleford in front of a sell-out crowd at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

The First Utility Super League leaders were without their inspirational captain, who this week announced he is to switch codes at the end of 2015, for the third successive game on Good Friday, but they continue to thrive without him.

The Rhinos had beaten Wigan and Catalans Dragons in Sinfield’s absence and added Castleford to that list thanks to an excellent team performance, with young winger Ash Handley particularly impressive up against the formidable Justin Carney.

Ryan Hall was sent to the sin-bin for the first time in his career in a frenetic opening but Castleford failed to take advantage and it was the Rhinos who struck first as Joel Moon scored his first try of the season.

Hall made amends by extending Leeds’ lead and Stevie Ward’s converted try cancelled out Michael Shenton’s effort to give the Rhinos a 16-6 half-time lead.

There were chances aplenty at the start of the second period but brilliant defence by both sides meant there was no further addition to the score until the 63rd minute, when Hall completed his double.

Adam Cuthbertson then crossed for a try his performance deserved and despite Shenton’s late second, Leeds extended their unbeaten run against the Tigers to six matches.

Brian McDermott warned the Rhinos to be wary of a fast start by Castleford and although it was Leeds who came out of the blocks quickest, the Tigers were handed an early advantage when Hall was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul.

Leeds youth product Luke Gale failed to exploit the gap in the Rhinos’ left side when his pass to James Clare from the resultant penalty floated forwards.

Liam Sutcliffe was next to fluff his lines as he spilled the ball reaching for the tryline, but Leeds did not have to wait much longer for their first try of the afternoon.

The Rhinos rolled downfield after a knock-on by Scott Moore, and Danny McGuire exchanged passes with Brad Singleton before putting Moon through a hole to score.

Hall had returned to the field just in time to congratulate his team-mate and he was celebrating a try of his own soon after.

McGuire was hauled down just short of the line after Moon’s break but Cuthbertson kept his cool on the next play to give Hall an easy finish in the corner.

Sutcliffe landed the touchline conversion to give Leeds a 10-0 lead.

The Rhinos went in search of a crucial third try – with Brett Delaney just held up over the line – but their lead was cut to four points when Shenton reacted quickest to Liam Finn’s dab through and Gale kicked a goal from out wide.

The momentum was suddenly with Castleford as they probed for another try to level up the contest, but such was its nature that Leeds re-established their 10-point lead.

Kallum Watkins played a big part in taking the Rhinos close to the Tigers’ line and Sutcliffe’s neat reverse kick sat up nicely for Ward to get downward pressure on the ball.

Good defence by Sutcliffe denied Shenton his second try at the start of the second half before Cuthbertson was held up over the line at the other end.

The excitement continued as Carney picked up a loose Leeds pass well inside his own half and raced clear seemingly destined to score, only for McGuire to slow him down with an ankle tap before Handley hauled him down.

Carney then turned try-saver when he stopped Zak Hardaker finishing off a Rhinos break and Leeds were denied by more impressive Castleford defence as Singleton was held up.

The visitors finally broke through for a fourth time when McGuire spotted his side had numbers on the left and found Moon, who gave Hall another simple task in the corner.

Australian forward Cuthbertson continued his fine first season in England with a powerful finish, but the Tigers had the last word as Shenton exchanged passes with Carney to score.

Published: Friday 3rd April 2015 by The News Editor

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