Leeds Rhinos 8-30 Castleford Tigers: Jesse Sene-Lafao's double helps pile misery on Super League strugglers
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 17/05/19 6:24am
Two tries from Jesse Sene-Lefao helped Castleford Tigers snap their four-game losing streak and heap more misery on Leeds Rhinos with a 30-8 win at Headingley in Thursday night's Super League game.
Liam Sutcliffe kicked Leeds ahead from a penalty in the 15th minute, but Castleford hit back swiftly and went ahead through a converted try from back row Sene-Lefao.
Then when Rhinos captain Kallum Watkins was sin-binned, the visitors took advantage when Greg Eden finished off a lightning attack for a second converted score which put them 12-2 up at half-time.
Sene-Lafao added his second soon after the restart and although Matt Parcell's try gave Leeds a glimmer of hope, further scores from James Clare and Jake Trueman made certain of the win.
The win, which gave the Tigers sweet revenge for their golden-point defeat at Headingley in March, lifts the Tigers back into the top five but Leeds remain in trouble at the other end of the table, just two points above bottom club London Broncos, their next opponents at the Magic Weekend.
Leeds were still smarting from the humiliation of a Challenge Cup exit at the hands of part-time neighbours Bradford and this crushing defeat did little to lift the gloom.
The Rhinos, who gave a Super League debut to teenage stand-off Callum McLelland against his home-town club, suffered an early blow with the loss of Tui Lolohea with an ankle injury, although Sutcliffe, who had been switched from stand-off to the second row, proved a useful deputy at full-back.
It was from his break that Leeds opened the scoring, Sutcliffe putting over a penalty on 14 minutes after Castleford half-back Trueman was pulled up for a ball steal.
When the Tigers received a penalty from a similar position, they opted to run the ball and their confidence was justified when Sene-Lefao crashed over from Paul McShane's pass close to the line, although slow-motion replays cast some doubt over the grounding.
Peter Mata'utia added the conversion to make it 6-2 and Leeds were reduced to 12 men for 10 minutes when centre Watkins was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Eden.
Castleford immediately took advantage of the extra man, with Eden taking Jake Trueman's cut-out pass to cross for his 100th Super League try, and Mata'utia made it 12-2 with the touchline conversion.
It was a half-time score that accurately reflected the visitors' superiority, although Leeds missed a glorious chance to pull a try back just before the break when Watkins got on the end of a break by McLelland and looked to be clear only to fall to Eden's last-ditch tackle.
The introduction from the bench of front row trio Ava Seumanufagai, who was on home debut, Mikolaj Oledzki and hooker Parcell gave the home side fresh impetus, but Castleford struck first after the break to stretch their lead.
Trueman's short pass close to the Leeds line got Sene-Lefao romping over for his second try and Mata'utia's third goal made it 18-2.
Parcell gave Leeds hope when he took Richie Myler's pass to cross for their only try on 51 minutes but Castleford simply went up a gear.
Winger Clare was gifted a try when centre Harry Newman fumbled Jordan Rankin's towering kick and Eden skipped past Tom Briscoe to get Trueman over for his side's fifth try, to which Mata'utia added his fifth goal.
The unveiling of the new North Stand, which completed the redevelopment of the famous old ground, helped draw a crowd of 13,286, but it was the visiting fans who had most to cheer.
Castleford half-back and try-scorer Jake Trueman was named as man of the match following his impressive display.
Leeds interim coach Richard Agar believes his side need to show defensive improvements if they are to turn around their fortunes and start climbing up the table.
Castleford head coach Daryl Powell was pleased to see his side playing with a bit of confidence after a recent run of losses.