Brilliant Castleford Tigers ran in 12 tries as they inflicted the biggest defeat on Leeds Rhinos in the Super League era with a remarkable 66-12 victory.
In front of a sell-out 11,500 attendance Daryl Powell’s men were simply superb throughout as they maintained their outstanding start to the season in spectacular style.
It was a special first half display from the Tigers as they ran in six unanswered tries to lead 30-0 and played some scintillating rugby.
Just about everything seemed to come off with attacks from all angles, offloads aplenty and quality moves the like of which are rarely seen in Super League.
Cas got the start they wanted after Rhinos full-back Ashton Golding knocked on just 10 metres from his own line from his side’s first set. The hosts made their opponents pay as Luke Gale and Zak Hardaker combined to send Greg Eden diving over in the left corner.
Andy Lynch came within inches of a second try, but two tackles later the Tigers had their second try when Paul McShane’s ball over the top gave Greg Minikin a fairly easy run in on the right flank. Gale’s touchline goal made it 10-0.
Eden’s superb break off a free play after another knock-on by Leeds put the home team in good position again and they made it 14-0 as Minikin produced a strong finish after Mike McMeeken’s pass had been a bit behind him.
Leeds briefly rallied as Kallum Watkins’ grubber kick went just over the back line. But they were soon defending and conceding again on 22 minutes when a top class left side move involving Gale, Hardaker, Michael Shenton led to Eden diving over for his second try.
Gale’s kick forced a drop-out as Cas stayed on top and Matt Cook was inches short of a try after just coming on for Lynch, who had a big first half-hour.
But a fifth try was to come on 32 minutes as McMeeken went over following another classy move involving McShane, Jake Webster and Minikin.
The Tigers saved the best for last in the half as Junior Moors made the initial break in his own half and offloaded to Gale, who made a further 30 metres before kicking on the run to the corner where Minikin collected to complete his hat-trick. With Gale kicking the touchline goal it was 30-0.
Cas began the second half where they off in the first with another score within three minutes as Hardaker got the try he had been looking for, following a lovely short pass by Gale.
Four minutes later another former Leeds man McShane spotted a gap near the line and shot through for it for a try converted by Gale.
Leeds replied to get their first points on the board as Eden dropped a high kick from Jordan Lilley and Anthony Mullally kicked the ball on then pounced on it after it had hit the post.
Liam Sutcliffe converted, but it was back to Tigers domination on the hour as Jake Webster raced over after collecting McMeeken’s great offload.
Mullally was inches short of a second try for the Rhinos before Cas got back on top. Gale forced another drop-out, Nathan Massey was held up over the line then Eden completed his hat-trick with another try in the corner after taking Hardaker’s pass.
From the next set, Eden charged clear from his own half and Gale backed up to finish off possibly the most spectacular try of the evening.
Gale’s purple patch saw him kick a 40-20 and from the resulting attacking set Shenton gleefully raced over for the 99th try of his career. Gale’s ninth goal completed the Tigers scoring.
Leeds managed a late consolation, if that was what it was, when Joel Moon scored on the left edge, but they were well beaten long before the final hooter.
Scorers - Castleford: Tries Eden 3, Minikin 3, McMeeken, Hardaker, McShane, Webster, Gale, Shenton; goals Gale 9. Leeds: Tries Mullally, Moon; goal Sutcliffe.
Castleford Tigers: Hardaker; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden; McShane, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Springer, McMeeken, Sene-Lefao, Massey. Subs: Millington, Moors, Cook, Maher.
Leeds Rhinos: Golding; Handley, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Sutcliffe; Singleton, Parcell, Cuthbertson, Keinhorst, Delaney, Walters. Subs: Ormondroyd, Mullally, Baldwinson, Lilley.
Referee: Ben Thaler.