Castleford 10-18 Leeds: Rhinos defend magnificently to secure Super League win
Last Updated: 06/07/19 7:07am
Trent Merrin, Jack Walker and Robert Lui were on target as Leeds bolstered their Super League survival hopes with a hard-fought win at neighbours Castleford.
Merrin scored the only points of the opening 40 minutes with a close-range finish before Walker improved Leeds' lead with an effort four minutes into the second half.
Liam Sutcliffe, who converted both tries, then added a penalty to make it 14-0 before Castleford fashioned a spirited rally which earned them two tries in four minutes for winger James Clare.
That cut Leeds' advantage to four points but the Rhinos - who had not won at Wheldon Road since 2015 - secured victory through Lui's first try for the club, which lifted Richard Agar's side two points clear of the relegation zone.
It was a disappointing outcome for the hosts on a day when they announced that head coach Daryl Powell, linked with a return to Headingley as Dave Furner's permanent successor, had extended his contract with the club until the end of the 2022 season.
The hosts thought they had scored early on when Lui's pass to the right wing inside Castleford's 20-metre line flew straight into the arms of Tigers winger Greg Eden.
The speedy winger raced 80 metres clear to score down the left flank and over the line for a try given on the field by referee Ben Thaler before the video referee ruled there had an earlier knock on and no score was awarded.
Leeds steadied themselves and continued to look dangerous in attack but Clare almost broke away again down the right flank only to be hauled down by Ash Handley's vital try-saving tackle.
Scrum-half Cory Aston was then stopped just short of the line by some impressive defending before the Rhinos went upfield and opened the scoring in the 19th minute.
Merrin found Adam Cuthbertson with a neat short offload and then took the return pass to crash under the posts for a try which was converted to make it 6-0 to Leeds.
That poured confidence into the visitors and they went close to a second in the 27th minute when Castleford failed to clear their lines and Rhinos centre Konrad Hurrell grounded the loose ball from close range.
Again the incident went to the video referee and this time the try was ruled out for offside, much to Castleford's relief.
Four minutes into the second half, Leeds winger Tom Briscoe embarked on a surging run and then showed intelligence to send full-back Walker scampering clear under the posts.
Sutcliffe then added a penalty to make it 14-0 but Clare touched down in the right corner in the 61st minute and then finished off a deft handling sequence in the same spot three minutes later.
But Lui dummied his way through the home defence late on to confirm a second successive victory for the Rhinos.