The opening day of the Super League Magic Weekend concludes with the second derby clash of the day as the Leeds Rhinos look build on a huge win last week when they take on local rivals Castleford Tigers in a good looking curtain closer.
Leeds Rhinos head to the Magic Weekend on the outside of the top six looking in and they will want to strengthen their chances of getting in that zone over the last couple of months of the campaign. Castleford are already in that position and will want to consolidate it.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Mix channels. The build-up begins after the second game of the day and kick off comes at 7pm.
After the terrible start they made to the season it was always going to need something extremely special from the Leeds Rhinos to be anywhere near the top six this season, but to their credit they haven’t given up hope of that happening but they know they need to put a bunch of wins together if they are to make that happen. The Rhinos have won five of their last eight matches and are clearly improving under Rohan Smith but you sense this is a big match.
Leeds can’t be going into the game with much more confidence after absolutely battering Hull FC last week. They put up 60 points on their opponents on that day and although there is a sense that Hull are there for the taking at the minute, the likeable thing about Leeds in the game is that they weren’t prepared to settle when the game was won. They kept their pedal on the metal and put out a bit of a statement with that margin of victory.
When we went into the season it wasn’t really known how well the Castleford Tigers would go when you consider the natural transition period that comes when a new coach is appointed. That period tends to be even longer than normal when the outgoing coach has been in place as long as Daryl Powell had been. Castleford did take a month or so to get to grips with life under Lee Radford but they are certainly settled in now and have some really appealing results on their ledger recently.
The Tigers head to Newcastle having won their last three matches and two of those wins came against Catalans Dragons and the Huddersfield Giants, neither of whom lose too many matches, so they are very good results. Their defence is improving the longer the season goes on and we know whenever we watch a Castleford side we are going to get a good showing from them in attack. This pitch could be a perfect one for their exciting attacking players to show their skills.
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Leeds Rhinos are without some key players for this match, as they seem to have been throughout the season. Kruise Leeming will be on the sidelines here, as will Harry Newman, Bodene Thompson and Zane Tetevano.
Castleford will be buoyed by the return of Alex Mellor and Liam Watts to their squad but they too are without a trio of big players. Paul McShane and Nathan Massey are suspended and Jake Trueman is done for the season which isn’t ideal.
It isn’t ideal that both these teams are missing players for this match but I think the Leeds Rhinos have the upper hand there because their injuries are in positions which they have some depth and to players who while they wouldn’t want to lose they are in a position to replace. That isn’t the case for the Castleford Tigers where Paul McShane and Jake Trueman are two huge losses, particularly with Gareth O’Brien injured as well.
That means that Castleford are going to have to do some mixing and matching within the key positions on the pitch so that makes me think the Leeds Rhinos are the ones to be with here. The only player they are missing here who played in that emphatic win at Hull last week is Kruise Leeming but in Brad Dwyer they have a perfect replacement for him. Leeds are clearly getting better with each week and although they have lost two of their last five matches they were against St Helens and Huddersfield who are two of the harder teams to beat. I’ll take the Rhinos to cover a try here.
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