ARCH-RIVALS Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers met twice in six days five years ago and the Headingley outfit came out on top on both occasions, but in contrasting styles.
On August 7 the West Yorkshire neighbours squared off in a Challenge Cup semi-final at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium and Leeds edged through 10-8 after sudden-death extra-time.
Leeds were favourites for a return to Wembley, having lost to Warrington Wolves in the previous season’s final, but Rangi Chase went close to making it a miserable afternoon for Brian McDermott’s men.
Tigers had tried to convince Leeds that Chase would be unavailable for the tie due to a court case in Australia, but he started and scored a stunning solo try.
Two penalty goals from Kirk Dixon made it 8-2 with seven minutes left, but Kallum Watkins went over for Rhinos and Kevin Sinfield added the conversion to an earlier penalty.
Chase sent a drop goal attempt wide with 15 seconds remaining and Sinfield landed a penalty – following Ryan McGoldrick’s high tackle on McGuire – to secure a Wembley meeting with Wigan Warriors.
There was none of that drama when the teams met in Super League at Headingley the following Friday, August 12, as Leeds ran in 10 tries to rout Tigers 56-0.
Chase had flown to Australia after the semi-final and Dixon, Paul Jackson, Ryan Hudson and Brett Ferres were also missing from Tigers’ Doncaster line-up.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan was on top form for Leeds and they never looked back after he had crossed to give them an 18th-minute lead.
Ryan Hall and Watkins crossed in a three-minute spell in the second quarter and Rhinos, who led 20-0 at the break, cut loose in the second half.
Brent Webb, Ben Jones-Bishop and Ali Lauitiiti touched down in the first 10 minutes after half-time, Rob Burrow scored twice in two minutes around the hour mark and McGuire and Webb added tries in the final 10.
Sinfield kicked six goals and Burrow added two.
McDermott described his team’s performance as “pretty special”.
He said: “We looked hungry for it in the second half and it was pretty impressive stuff from our players to still tackle as though it was 0-0.”
Leeds Rhinos 56
(Tries: Burrow 2, Webb 2, Jones-Buchanan, Hall, Watkins, Jones-Bishop, Lauitiiti, McGuire. Goals: Sinfield 6, Burrow 2)
Castleford Tigers 0
August 12, 2011, Super League
Leeds Rhinos: Webb, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Ablett, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Hauraki, Jones-Buchanan, Clarkson. Subs: Burrow, Lauitiiti, Bailey, Kirk.
Castleford Tigers: McGoldrick, Youngquest, Isa, Arundel, Owen, Widders, Orr, Parker, Milner, B Davies, Jones, Holmes, Aspinwall, Subs: Massey, Thompson, J Davies, Clark.
Referee: Thierry Alibert.