Castleford Tigers were left to reflect on another defeat in a close game at Headingley as they let a second half lead slip to lose 42-24 to Leeds Rhinos.
Daryl Powell’s men were 18-16 up in the tenth minute of the second half, but Leeds hit back and scored 14 points in the last seven minutes to end their four-game losing streak and give the final score a flattering look.
There was little between the teams for much of the match before having to defend so much saw the Tigers run out of steam.
In and end to end first half it was Leeds who struck first when 18-year-old winger Thomas Minns crossed for a try with just his second touch on his debut.
Back came Cas to score one of the tries of the season as Rangi Chase’s long pass set Michael Shenton away in his own half and the skipper then passed to Weller Hauraki, who superbly dummied Zak Hardaker before going over against the side he was playing for last year.
Ellis added the conversion, but the Rhinos were ahead again on 20 minutes after a period of pressure on the Tigers line, Jimmy Keinhorst charging over from Rob Burrow’s pass.
Sinfield goaled and was soon on target again after a second try in two minutes, former Featherstone Rovers full-back Hardaker scoring a superb solo effort from his own half.
Cas still looked dangerous in attack and were rewarded on 36 minutes when Jordan Tansey became a second-ex Leeds player to score for the visitors after being set up by Daryl Clark as he bounced out of two tackles to get free on half-way. Ellis converted.
It remained 16-12 to half-time, although the Tigers declined a chance to go for a goal after being awarded a penalty 30 seconds from the hooter. In the frantic plays that followed Chase went close then Kirk Dixon could not quite reach an Ellis grubbed kick for the corner.
The second half started well for Cas when Grant Millington made a clean break and Tansey backed him up to score his second try. Ellis’s goal made it 18-16.
But back came the hosts again as Ryan Hall collected Sinfield’s high kick and passed inside for Keinhorst to score his second.
Minns came close to another when putting a foot in touch before a replica move to the previous try brought another for Keinhorst as he gleefully ran in for his hat-trick from Hall’s catch and pass.
Sinfield’s conversion stretched the lead to 28-18, but back came Cas again when Ryan Boyle’s break led to good field position and Hauraki sent the hard working Craig Huby over for a try he deserved.
Ellis added the goal, but that was the last Tigers score as their opponents came on strong in the closing stages with Ian Kirke and Joel Moon crossing for tries and Sinfield kicking two more conversions plus a penalty.
Scorers - Leeds: Tries Minns, Keinhorst 3, Hardaker, Kirke, Moon; goals Sinfield 7. Castleford: Tries Hauraki, Tansey 2, Huby; goals Ellis 4.
Leeds: Hardaker; Minns, Keinhorst, Moon, Hall; Sinfield, Burrow; Leuluai, McShane, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Bailey. Subs: Kirke, Sutcliffe, Singleton, Achurch.
Castleford: Tansey; Clare, Shenton, Thompson, Dixon; Chase, Ellis; Walker, Milner, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Massey. Subs: Clark, Millington, Fleming, Boyle.
Referee: Tim Roby.