Leeds Rhinos 14-8 Castleford Tigers: Player ratings and five major talking points

Aidan Sezer scores the Rhinos match winning try. Picture by Bruce Rollinson/SWpix.com - 03/09/2022 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League Round 27 - Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers - Headingley Stadium, Leeds, England -

Another big game and another big try to win it late on through a halfback this time Aidan Sezer the one to get over and seal the most unlikeliest play-off finish given the start to the season endured by the Rhinos.

Major Talking Points:

Oledzki top tier
It feels like I say this every year about Mikolaj Oledzki, but he is without a doubt one of the best props in the league and is getting better and better. He was at times impossible to stop with a nice bit of footwork coupled with power taking him through tackles like he was covered in butter.

All style no substance
I think it would be a gross oversimplification to say that Leeds attacked poorly despite the number of errors they made which did make the first 40 minutes dreadful to watch but you could see the potential in the attack whenever they sped the game up a notch. They punched holes in the Castleford defence, weren’t afraid to run at the Tigers and looked to pass perhaps a little too much at times. It’s perhaps a reminder of where Leeds are at the minute. Though in a play-off battle, they’re very much a developing team especially in attack and that’s where Rohan Smith comes in.

Lessons to learn
Speaking of which, it became very clear early on that no matter what the eventual result that Leeds would have to learn plenty of lessons from the game. With the pressure on in what was essentially a play-off game they were expected to win, it was a terrific taste of where Leeds want to be consistently. Equally, the frustrating way the game panned out will show Leeds what needs to change next week but more importantly next season and beyond.

Not enough strike
Leeds’ execution was off today that much is certain but once Ash Handley and Brad Dwyer picked up injuries it was hard to see where the points were going to come from for the Rhinos. People have questioned whether bringing in a centre like Nene MacDonald is the best use of a quota spot with many wanting the spot to go to a forward but the forwards did their job today but it was in turning possession into tries that was the problem needing a break away try created by Zak Hardaker to draw level.

All the strike in the world
Or maybe we have all the strike we need? After so many missed chances, the fact we scored two break away tries was very impressive and showed the attacking potential I referenced earlier and proved the quality of Mikolaj Oledzki. It’s also a reminder of the new found character in this Leeds squad.

Player Ratings:

16 Richie Myler – 8
20 Tom Briscoe – 7
33 Zak Hardaker – 8
4 Liam Sutcliffe – 7
5 Ash Handley – 6
6 Blake Austin – 6
7 Aidan Sezer – 7
8 Mikolaj Oledzki – 9
9 Kruise Leeming – 7
10 Matt Prior – 7
11 James Bentley – 8
12 Rhyse Martin – 7
13 Zane Tetevano – 7
14 Brad Dwyer – 6
17 Cameron Smith – 7
21 Morgan Gannon – 7
24 Jarrod O’Connor – 7

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