Leeds Rhinos put up a brilliant defensive performance to beat West Yorkshire rivals Castleford Tigers 18-10 at the Mend A Hose Jungle on Friday night.
It was a close first half, but it was Leeds who drew first blood as Trent Merrin, in his second game as captain, dove over from short range in front of the travelling fans. Liam Sutcliffe converted to make it a six point lead for Leeds.
It stayed like this until the break, it was a penalty laden first half andit was a story of missed opportunites.
The first try of the second half was crucial and it was the visitors who got it as Jack Walker, not even named in the 19 man squad, was put through after a brilliant break by Tom Briscoe. Sutcliffe scored the conversion and then added a penalty to make it a 14 point lead for the unfancied Rhinos.
But just as it seemed Castleford were out of it, they got back in it after a good move put James Clare through to score. Peter Mata’uita missed the conversion but the Tigers were on the board.
All of a sudden, the home side had the momentum as Clare grabbed a second out wide. Jordan Rankin scored the conversion to bring the Tigers back to within four points.
But Leeds would not be denied and their win was confirmed when Rob Lui went over for his first try as a Rhino. Liam Sutcliffe missed the conversion, meaning it was a nervy ending, but the Rhinos held on for a crucial victory.
It is back to back wins now for Leeds since their new recruits have come in. They will hope to take their momentum into their next game when they host Hull KR at Headingley next Friday.
As for Castleford, it is another blow for them as they try to get into the playoffs. They have another West Yorkshire derby to prepare for as they travel to Wakefield Trinity next Friday.