SUPER League champions Leeds Rhinos and beaten Grand Finalists Castleford Tigers emerged victorious following two absorbing West Yorkshire derbies yesterday.
Leeds edged home 28-26 at Wakefield Trinity with captain Kallum Watkins’ touchline conversion of Josh Walters’ 75th minute try proving decisive.
It was an enjoyable afternoon for the England centre – who also scored two tries on his 200th Super League appearance – given Rhinos have fallen in some close games recently due to missed goalkicks.
Leeds were also 20-12 down going into the final quarter and head coach Brian McDermott admitted: “It was a hard-fought win. There were so many ebbs and flows in the game, I should imagine it would have been a really good game to watch.”
However, Wakefield have now lost five successive games although defeats continue to be by fine margins; this narrow loss followed the 27-26 defeat at Hull FC on Easter Monday and an 11-6 reverse against Castleford at the start of the holiday period.
Castleford, meanwhile, returned to winning ways with a 40-28 victory at troubled Huddersfield Giants who remain second bottom with only two victories so far.
Castleford, though, were far from convincing as they almost blew a 28-6 interval lead, their hosts fighting back to 30-22 going into the last nine minutes.
Injury-hit Huddersfield saw homegrown 17-year-old twin brothers Innes and Louis Senior start on the wings, playing together at senior level for the first time. Innes, who only debuted in the Easter Monday defeat at Catalans Dragons, showed great finishing skills for his second-half brace but caretaker coach Chris Thorman’s side ultimately could not pull off their great escape.
Last season’s Super League top-tryscorer Greg Eden made his return after missing the last four games for Castleford with a hamstring injury.
However, he suffered a recurrence when scoring his side’s fifth try and did not reappear for the second half.
Reports: Pages 6-7