Castleford 14 – 8 Leeds
Castleford Tigers pick up their first points of the season as they beat Leeds Rhinos 14-8; Bureta Faraimo scores two tries to fire up Castleford’s Super League campaign; Derrell Olpherts fumbled a last-minute chance at the try-line for the visitors
By PA Media
Last Updated: 16/03/23 10:38pm
Bureta Faraimo belatedly set Castleford’s Betfred Super League season alight with two tries as Andy Last’s men clung on to claim their first points of the new campaign with a 14-8 home win over Leeds Rhinos.
Heading into the clash on the back of four straight defeats, the hosts proved full value for their win but rode their luck in the dying minutes when Derrell Olpherts fumbled a chance for the visitors with the try-line at his mercy.
With pre-match speculation swirling over the future of absent Kruise Leeming, Leeds chiselled a two-point advantage at the interval but looked increasingly scrappy as the game went on and two penalties from the boot of Gareth Widdop helped Cas home.
Whether Leeming’s impending departure proved a distraction in the build-up was unclear, but it was his replacement at number nine, Jarrod O’Connor, who spurned the first chance of the match after the Rhinos piled on the pressure from Blake Austin’s 40-20.
The home side were shaping up well and after a period of sustained pressure they made their breakthrough on 17 minutes after Olpherts had been penalised for going in high on Jason Qareqare.
Swiftly spreading the ball out to the right, it found winger Faraimo to dash over in the corner and give his side the lead.
The United States international was front and centre again moments later when he flattened Harry Newman and forced the knock-on, then the same player mishandled at the end of a near carbon-copy move that could have put Castleford two scores up.
Almost inevitably they were made to pay just two minutes later when the impressive Cameron Smith barged through two tackles and passed to Austin, whose neat lay-off sent Richie Myler in for Leeds, with Rhyse Martin’s extras putting them in front.
Widdop kicked Cas level after James Bentley went in late on Jacob Miller, but Leeds ended the half strongly, pinning Cas back after Mahe Fonua’s mistake at the play-the-ball, and Martin restoring the Rhinos’ two-point lead just before the interval after a home drop-out failed to reach the 10.
A muddle between Smith and Bentley cost Leeds the chance to take a clearer lead in at the break and after a competitive first quarter-hour of the second half Cas made them pay when Widdop farmed the ball out right from a scrum and Greg Eden’s neat pass sent Faraimo in for his second.
Widdop stretched his side’s lead to 12-8 and Cas immediately pressured the Rhinos line again as Adam Milner burrowed his way within inches of extending their advantage.
Leeds had another let-off when Alex Mellor fumbled a potential match-winning opportunity with Qareqare in the clear to his left, but after Widdop booted the hosts further in front, Olpherts missed an even better opportunity to salvage something for the visitors.