Super League Magic Weekend - Saturday review as Castleford thrash Leeds

Castleford's Jesse Sene-Lefao after the Magic Weekend win over Leeds
Castleford's Jesse Sene-Lefao after the Magic Weekend win over Leeds

A review of the latest round of matches in the Betfred Super League, with Magic Weekend taking place at St James' Park...

Castleford 38-10 Leeds

Castleford added a touch of sparkle on the opening day of the Magic Weekend with a 38-10 thumping of reigning champions Leeds in front of a crowd of 38,881 at St James' Park.

Rhinos captain Kallum Watkins was among their injury victims as Leeds suffered a fourth defeat in their last five matches to lose more ground on the top four in Betfred Super League.

The Tigers looked more the 2017 vintage as they overcame the continuing absence of Luke Gale to secure a second win over the Rhinos since their Grand Final defeat to them last October.

Leeds lacked punch up front in the absence of Brad Singleton, Anthony Mullally, Carl Ablett and Mitch Garbutt and were no match in defence for a Castleford side who are beginning to show some real belief after a difficult start to the season.

Leeds actually created the first chance, with stand-off Joel Moon breaking through the Tigers defence, but it came to nothing and a handling error deep inside his own half by winger Ryan Hall gave Castleford a perfect attacking position.

Winger Jy Hitchcox made the most of the opportunity, capitalising on an overlap to touch down at the corner for the opening try, to which Jamie Ellis added the first of his seven goals.

The champions suffered major disruption when scrum-half Richie Myler went off for a concussion assessment and it was during his absence that Castleford extended their lead.

Leeds Rhinos' Brian McDermott
Leeds Rhinos' Brian McDermott

Paul McShane and Jake Trueman combined to get makeshift centre Alex Foster through a gap for a try against his old club and Ellis's second goal made it 12-0.

A brief rally saw hooker Matt Parcell and prop Adam Cuthbertson both held up over the line as the Tigers defended heroically before demonstrating their clinical play on attack as prop Junior Moors forced his way through a two-man tackle to plant the ball on the line.

Ellis kicked two penalties either side of the try, one of them from halfway, as Castleford built up an unassailable 22-0 interval lead.

There was no way back for Leeds when skipper Michael Shenton added another try within two minutes of the re-start, twisting out of full-back Jack Walker's tackle to put the ball on the line.

Castleford's enterprise in attack was matched by their ruthless streak in defence, amply illustrated when McShane got back to haul Parcell short of the line following a clean break.

Parcell also had a try disallowed for obstruction before prop Mikolai Oledzki powered over for his first Super League try, which was converted by Watkins.

Watkins went off shortly afterwards after hurting a knee and Walker also limped off while prop Nathaniel Peteru aggravated an old biceps injury as things went from bad to worse for the Rhinos.

Loose forward Adam Milner and second rower Oliver Holmes both went through some poor defence for tries for the rampant Tigers, who ended the game with 12 men after England forward Mike McMeeken was sin-binned for preventing a quick restart.

The Rhinos finished a well-beaten side but at least had the final say when substitute Brett Ferres scored a last-minute try.

Widnes 18-38 St Helens

Ben Barba turned on the style at the Dacia Magic Weekend to help St Helens consolidate top spot in the Betfred Super League with a 38-18 win over Widnes.

A spectator at St James' Park 12 months earlier, the mercurial Australian full-back took centre stage this time, scoring his 19th try of a wonderful season as Saints overcame a gritty Vikings side.

It was a seventh successive defeat for Widnes, who remain entrenched in the bottom four, but they made Saints work for their anticipated victory in a game that marked the anniversary of coach Justin Holbrook's first match in charge, a fairytale 45-0 rout of Hull in Newcastle.

The points feast followed an opening 13-try spectacular in which Toronto beat Toulouse 43-30 to establish a five-point lead at the top of the Betfred Championship.

Wigan 38-10 Warrington

Wigan underlined their Super League title credentials with their best performance of the season to record a convincing 38-10 win over Warrington in an absorbing Magic Weekend encounter.

In a meeting between the competition's form teams at St James' Park, Wigan were clinical with ball in hand and scrambled superbly in defence to end Warrington's 10-game winning run and stretch their own to eight matches.

Sam Tomkins' four goals were the difference as the Warriors took a 16-10 lead into the break, with in-form Harry Livett and Stefan Ratchford touching down either side of efforts from Sam Powell and Tomkins.

John Bateman and George Williams scored back-to-back tries before Liam Marshall and Tom Davies crossed late on to complete a miserable afternoon for the Wolves.

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