Kevin Sinfield fails to prevent Leeds Rhinos crashing to eighth successive defeat

If Kevin Sinfield was not already aware of the size of the challenge in transforming the fortunes of the stuttering Super League champions, he was handed a ruthless indication here.

The final scoreline was miserable for Leeds, this comprehensive defeat a record-extending eighth in succession in the league. While there were visible improvements on the final days of Brian McDermott’s reign, the nature of how Leeds collapsed to concede 36 points without reply after half‑time underlined the task for Sinfield.

The greater challenges for Leeds in their battle to avoid the Qualifiers are still to come but, with the club two points adrift of the eight, they may now need to win all three of their remaining games to stand a chance. The nature of this collapse does not suggest that is at all likely. “I’ve got the full picture now,” Sinfield said.

Perhaps the greatest compliment that can be paid to this Castleford side is they find a way to capture the headlines. Pre-match this was all about Sinfield’s return but Castleford are now all but guaranteed a top‑four finish ahead of the Super 8s. That means an extra home game as opposed to finishing fifth – and for a side such as Castleford, who are notoriously tough to beat at home, that cannot be underestimated on the run to the play-offs, and indeed, the Grand Final.

On Sinfield’s first day as a coach, how envious he must have been watching the prowess of Castleford’s Jake Trueman. Daryl Powell, the Tigers coach, said of half-back: “He’s an outstanding player.”

With Castleford ahead by only six at half-time it was the teenager’s individual brilliance which took this game away from Leeds – namely two stunning tries of his own before two assists for Jesse Sene-Lefao’s brace.

Leeds earlier led on two separate occasions, both times via tries for Tom Briscoe, before Castleford eventually forged a half-time lead courtesy of tries from Greg Eden, Quentin Laulu‑Togaga’e and Matt Cook. At that point the game was in the balance, before the imperious Trueman took control.

Castleford Laulu-Togaga’e; Clare, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Ellis, Trueman; Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Moors, Millington, Milner. Interchange Holmes, Massey, Cook, Clark.

Tries Eden, Laulu-Togaga’e, Cook, Trueman 2, Sene-Lefao 2. Goals Ellis 7.

Leeds Golding; Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Moon, Hall; Lilley, Myler; Oledzki, Parcell, Singleton, Ward, Ferres, Cuthbertson. Interchange Walker, Delaney, Mullally, Walters.

Tries Briscoe 2. Goal Sutcliffe.

Referee Liam Moore. Attendance 9,557.


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