NINE YEARS ago this week Castleford Tigers were the victims of one of the most spirited performances from Leeds Rhinos in the summer era
Leeds, the defending champions and Super League leaders, took a gamble by not calling for the round 19 fixture, on Saturday, June 28, 2008, to be postponed.
Fourteen members of Rhinos’ senior squad were unavailable – seven having played for England in France the night before and the rest due to injury.
Boss Brian McLennan was forced to dig deep into his reserves and forwards Michael Haley and Joe Chandler both took a place on their bench.
That proved to be their only game for the club and they were alongside two other rookies in Ben Kaye and Danny Williams.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan started at centre and Leeds fielded a half-back pairing of Danny Allan and Brent Webb.
Webb was one of four overseas players in Leeds’ 17 and the rest were academy products.
Castleford had no such issues and, inspired by Ryan McGoldrick, seemed to be cruising to victory when they led 10-0 with half an hour left.
Richard Owen scored the opening try and Craig Huby’s penalty goal made it 6-0 at the break.
That was probably better than most Rhinos fans in the 17,619 crowd were expecting, but Tigers seemed to be taking control when Joe Westerman scored at the start of the second half.
Cas would probably have gone on to win had Adam Fletcher scored soon afterwards, but he was shoved into touch by Williams.
That seemed to inspire Leeds and they got points on the board after 53 minutes through Lee Smith, who crossed from Simon Worrall’s pass.
Huby replied with a penalty goal 17 minutes from time, but Matt Diskin – Leeds’ acting-captain – set up a try for Webb and Smith added the extras.
That made it 12-10 on 66 minutes and three later Webb put Diskin over to edge Leeds ahead. Smith converted and completed an unlikely 18-12 win with a late penalty goal.