Leeds 66 Castleford 14: Walker exposes gulf in class with hat-trick

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Friday night's postponement proved merely a stay of execution as Castleford were put ruthlessly to the sword by their neighbours. Chev Walker led the way with a 13-minute hat-trick - his first tries of the season - as Leeds ran in their highest score against Castleford.

"It was well worth waiting for," said their coach, Tony Smith. "I could feel that one coming a bit. We were ready on Friday night and we were like caged tigers."

The other Tigers had encouraging moments with the ball but had no answers to the ferocity of the Leeds attack. Their coach, Terry Matterson, described their display as "embarrassing" but he hopes to be able to field a stronger team at Harlequins next week.

"We had some young kids out thereand defensively we were very flimsy," he said. "It was like men against boys out there."

The Rhinos took an early lead with tries from Rob Burrow and Willie Poching but then ran into unexpected resistance from a 12-man Castleford after Danny Sculthorpe was sent to the sin bin for interfering at the play-the-ball.

Far from falling apart, the Tigers performed splendidly for those 10 minutes, pegging Leeds back with a try from Tom Haughey and two Craig Huby goals. It all started to unravel, though, as Sculthorpe was waiting to come back on and Castleford were attacking the Leeds line. Paul Handforth's pass was picked off by Walker and he went 90 metres for the third Rhinos try.

Leeds rarely looked back after that, adding four more tries in the 10 minutes leading up to half-time. The substitute Ian Kirke scored a try on his Super League debut, Burrow dummied his way through for his second and Walker again went in from long range.

As the hooter sounded, Walker completed his hat-trick from Keith Senior's pass and Kevin Sinfield's seventh goal took the Rhinos over 40 points.

Castleford were out early for the second half but were soon further adrift when Danny McGuire scored from a break by Richard Mathers. To their credit the visitors got a second try through Ryan McGoldrick after Luke Dyer's long break. But Mathers got a deserved score with a lovely side-step, Ali Lauitiiti ploughed over after Matt Diskin had poached the ball and Ryan Bailey's individual effort pushed Leeds beyond the 62 points they put past Castleford as the Tigers' headed towards relegation two years ago.

"Maybe we should have played on Friday night," said Matterson. When there is such a gulf between the two teams, it makes little difference when you play.

Leeds: Mathers; Donald, Walker, Senior, Williams; McGuire, Burrow; Bailey, Diskin, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Poching, Sinfield. Substitutes used: Millard, Feather, Kirke, Ablett.

Castleford: Platt; Dyer, Shenton, Viane, Pryce; McGoldrick, Handforth; Sculthorpe, Henderson, Nutley, Huby, Whitaker, Haughey. Substitutes used: Bird, Kain, Blanch, Boyle.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).

* Leeds are interested in signing Richard Villasanti, the Australia forward who has been offered a release by the New Zealand Warriors as they try to address salary cap problems.

* The Catalans Dragons have signed Mick Dobson, Canberra's reserve scrum-half, as a short-term replacement for Stacey Jones.

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