Super League: Castleford Tigers 44-16 Leigh Centurions

Castleford celebrate
Castleford led 26-0 at the break on their opening night of the Super League season
Betfred Super League
Castleford (26) 44
Tries: Gale 2, Sene-Lefao, Minikin 2, Moors, Eden Goals: Gale 8
Leigh (0) 16
Tries: Hampshire, Dawson, Tickle Goals: Ridyard 2

Castleford highlighted their Super League title ambitions with a convincing seven-try victory over new-boys Leigh Centurions.

Leigh, in their first top-flight game since 2005, were blown away by four first-half scores and a Luke Gale penalty to trail 26-0 at the break.

Gale and Greg Minikin both picked up two tries apiece as the Tigers continued to exert their dominance.

Leigh rallied with three scores, but it came too late to challenge Cas.

Daryl Powell's Tigers are among the contenders in 2017 despite the loss of Denny Solomona, who scored 42 tries last season, in a high-profile defection to rugby union.

They showed they can cope without him with plenty of strike options - notably from Minikin, Jake Webster and Greg Eden.

The Centurions had dominated the second tier Championship over the past three seasons and were impressive in the Qualifiers with three wins against Super League opposition to book their top-flight place last term.

However, having survived a tight opening quarter, they could not live with Cas' movement, fluid handling and pace - particularly after Gale had crossed for the opening try.

Captain Gale kicked eight goals to add to his two tries, while there were debut scores for Jesse Sene-Lefao and boyhood fan Eden.

Leigh coach Neil Jukes will have been heartened by his side's refusal to give in on a tough introduction to Super League life, characterised by tries from former Tigers Ryan Hampshire and Danny Tickle as well as Matty Dawson.

Castleford head coach Daryl Powell told BBC Radio 5 live extra: "Once we got to grips with the game we were excellent, I was really happy with large parts of our attack and defence.

"It was always going to be a dangerous game, it was 0-0 for a while and it took a bit to break them down, the conditions are difficult. It's not summer rugby.

"We scored some smart tries, we looked dangerous and inventive and there were a lot of things to admire about our defence."

Leigh head coach Neil Jukes told BBC Radio 5 live extra: "We didn't get ourselves a chance to win the game, our kicking game was poor and three or four times we had seven tackle restarts, soft penalties with poor errors and some individual ones.

"If you defend your tryline as much as we did, certainly after 21 to 63 minutes, as good as you think your defence is, Cas are going to score points.

"Ultimately, we gave them too many opportunities. Across the board some individuals did some really good stuff and we did some poor stuff from 1-17. It's about getting the deficiencies out of us."

Castleford: Hardaker; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Chase, Gale; Lynch, McShane, Springer, Sene-Lafao, McMeeken, Massey.

Interchanges: Millington, Roberts, Moors, Cook

Leigh: Hampshire; Higson, Crooks, Brown, Dawson; Ridyard, Drinkwater; Hock, Hood, Tickle, Paterson, Stewart, Hansen

Interchanges: Pelissier, Vea, Green, Weston

Top Stories