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Castleford Tigers 6-26 Leeds Rhinos: Paul Momirovski and Lachlan Miller power visitors to victory

Off-season recruits Paul Momirovski and Lachlan Miller got their first tries for Leeds Rhinos in the Betfred Super League Rivals Round clash at Castleford Tigers; the match at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle was 0-0 at half-time; watch every match of Rivals Round live on Sky Sports

Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos - Betfred Super League - Mend-A-Hose Jungle
Leeds Rhinos' Lachie Miller (centre left) celebrates scoring his side's third try of the game with team-mates during the Betfred Super League match at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, Castleford. Picture date: Thursday March 28, 2024.
Image: Lachlan Miller celebrates a try for Leeds against Castleford

Paul Momirovski and Lachlan Miller's doubles set Leeds Rhinos on their way to a 26-6 derby win over Castleford Tigers in the opening match of the Betfred Super League's Rivals Round.

The hosts dominated the possession and territory in the first 40 minutes at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, including forcing five goal-line drop-outs, but were unable to make the most of those opportunities as the sides went in at half-time with the game still scoreless.

Danny Richardson saw a seventh-minute penalty kick to put the Tigers in front rattle off the posts as well, but Momirovski made them pay for those wasted chances with his first try in a Leeds shirt two minutes after the restart.

Castleford Tigers vs Leeds Rhinos match stats
Image: Castleford Tigers vs Leeds Rhinos match stats

The former Sydney Roosters centre was in again 10 minutes later, with fellow off-season signing and player of the match Miller getting in on the act as well with his first two scores for the Rhinos either side of Josh Simm's consolation for Castleford, who have now lost all six of their Super League games so far in 2024.

Story of the game

The Tigers had stretched the Leeds defence early, with Richardson rattling an early penalty against the woodwork, and he along with half-back partner Jacob Miller forced a string of goal-line drop-outs as the visitors struggled to emerge from deep.

Liam Watts made good ground after an interception on halfway, while Liam Horne and Innes Senior also came close for Castleford, whose eagerness to get on the scoresheet almost cost them when Momirovski came within a fingertip of a crucial interception.

Bentley and Harry Newman combined to shut the door on Jack Broadbent, and Sam Hall came close under the posts, but it was a different story after the break with Momirovski central to the momentum switch as he outstretched Senior to tap down from Brodie Croft's clever kick for a try which was confirmed by the video referee.

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Leeds Rhinos' Paul Momirovski scores his side's second try of the game during the Betfred Super League match at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, Castleford. Picture date: Thursday March 28, 2024.
Image: Paul Momirovski grabbed two tries for Leeds in the win over Castleford

Rhyse Martin booted the first of his eight points to take Leeds clear, and after withstanding a tough repeat set in their own 10, the visitors pushed further ahead after Croft sent James McDonnell through a gap and Momirovski surged over to take the Rhinos into double figures.

With Miller, signed from Newcastle Knights, clearly growing in influence, Leeds looked likely to increase their lead and Martin nudged them further clear from in front of the posts after Richardson fluffed a goal-line drop-out.

Miller got the try he deserved on 65 minutes when Ash Handley batted back a high kick from Matt Frawley, then after Simm had got his side on the scoresheet, the Australian rounded off a memorable individual display by blazing onto the end of a move sparked by Jarrod O'Connor's clever switch-pass.

What they said

Leeds Rhinos full-back and player of the match Lachlan Miller:

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Miller spoke to Sky Sports after his man-of-the-match display

"That was a really tough game in that first half. They played some really good footy and credit to our boys, we just dug deep.

"We spoke about intent all it was a really good team effort, and I topped it off with a couple of tries.

"This is a work in progress. Tonight was a big step forward, but we've got a lot to work on and we know that."

Castleford Tigers head coach Craig Lingard:

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Craig Lingard felt the biggest disappointment was not turning the first-half possession into points in Castleford Tigers' defeat to Leeds Rhinos

"We dominated field position in that first half and had a lot of repeat sets, but just lacked a bit of cutting edge and quality to get some points on the board.

"It's really frustrating. We talked about starting the first 10 minutes of the second half as well as we finished the first half...and I think pretty much every try was a kick or people switching off and not quite tying in or working from the short side.

"We've got to take our hat off to Leeds as well. They defended their line really well; they saved tries and scrambled really hard for each other."

Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith:

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Rohan Smith said the Leeds Rhinos bench had to 'dig deep'

"I thought our defence for 80 minutes was outstanding. They had a lot of possession in that first half and we kept turning them away, and when that roll started in the second half we were very hard to stop.

"I thought we played well and in most of the games we've had some patches of strong performance. Our best is very good and we're chasing the consistency of that and stretching those blocks out longer.

"We're not too far away. For a team who are 4-2, you'd think we're 2-4 the way some people are carrying on."

What's next?

Castleford Tigers are at home again in Round 7 of the 2024 Super League season on Friday April 5 when they face Salford Red Devils (8pm) in a match live on Sky Sports Arena.

Leeds Rhinos host Warrington Wolves on the same night (8pm) live on Sky Sports Action.

Watch every match of the 2024 Betfred Super League season, including Rivals Round, Magic Weekend, the play-offs, and men's, women's and wheelchair Grand Finals, live on Sky Sports. Also stream with NOW.

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