Castleford Tigers 6 Leeds Rhinos 28: Captain Courtney Winfield-Hill's brace inspires champions to win at the Jungle in Women's Super League play-offs

Champions Leeds Rhinos turned on the style in the second half of a 28-6 victory at Castleford Tigers which maintained their 100 per cent winning record in Betfred Women’s Super League.

By Peter Smith
Sunday, 22nd August 2021, 11:34 am

The final scoreline was tough on Castleford who led early on and were level at the break, before conceding 22 points without reply.

Tigers defended spiritedly throughout, in the opening match of the top-five play-offs, but Leeds’ class showed in the final 40 minutes, after a rapid brace of tries by captain Courtney Winfield-Hill put them in charge.

It was the sides' first meeting since the 2019 Grand Final and Rhinos coach Louis Forsell was “glad to get the win” in wet conditions at the Jungle.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Rhinos captain Courtney Winfield-Hill scored two tries against Castleford. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

She said: “After a mid-season break and with the heavens opening, it made it tough, but I was really impressed with their togetherness and willingness to work for each other to get the win.”

Tigers struck first through Hollie Dodd who finished off a kick by Georgia Roche.

Tara Stanley booted the conversion and the only other try in the first half came when the impressive Keara Bennett forced her way over from acting-half, Winfield-Hill adding the extras.

Rhinos did most of the attacking, with Aimee Staveley and Fran Goldthorp going close and Beevers making 60 metres on an outstanding kick-return, but Tigers’ defence stood up magnificently.

Sophie Robinson was among Rhinos' try scorers. Picture by Isabel PearceSWpix.com

Roche made a stunning tackle at the corner to keep Tara Moxon out just after half-time, but Leeds went ahead on 47 minutes when Winfield-Hill got the ball down from Caitlin Beevers’ kick, for a try which she also improved.

The skipper extended Rhinos’ lead with an unconverted try in the next set, dummying over from close-range off Bennett’s pass.

A penalty goal from Winfield-Hill put a two-score gap between the sides with 17 minutes left and Leeds finished with a flourish.

A strong run by Lucy Murray, who had a fine game for Leeds, allowed Fran Goldthorp sent Moxon speeding over for a well-worked try, which Winfield-Hill improved, and then Sophie Robinson crossed off Eloise Hayward’s pass.

Forsell added: “When they got to the points we asked them to get to and played the way we wanted, they were really good.

“We have got to get to that point a bit sooner, but after a long break it was a good win.”

Castleford Tigers: Stanley, Varley, Owen, Swann, Lamb, Roche, Eastwood, Lumley, Pursglove, Watts, Hoyle, Dodd, Bell. Subs Wallace, Duffield, Priestley, Vaigalu.

Leeds Rhinos: Beevers, Nuttall, Goldthorp, Hayward, Robinson, Butcher, Winfield-Hill, Priim, Bennett, Lockwood, Kerrigan, Murray, Staveley. Subs Gaines, Frain, Moxon, E Johnson.

Referee: Liam Staveley (Bradford).

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.