Leeds Rhinos 24 Castleford Tigers 24: Brian McDermott calls for sympathy for Kevin Sinfield after he is sent-off for headbutt on Luke Dorn

McDermott agrees that referee Ben Thaler made the right decision but defends Sinfield for his 'momentary lapse in discipline'

Leeds coach Brian McDermott admits his captain Kevin Sinfield is hurting after being sent off for the first time in his career and called for sympathy over his "momentary" lapse in discipline.

The Leeds and England captain was shown the red card for an uncharacteristic head-butt on Castleford full-back Luke Dorn eight minutes from the end of a gripping First Utility Super League derby at Headingley.

"We had a few heated words," Dorn told Sky Sports. "You could probably see from the look on my face I was quite shocked."

The Rhinos were leading 24-18 at the time but their 12-man defence cracked two minutes later to allow loose forward Grant Millington to score a try that levelled up the scores.

McDermott had no complaints over the decision of referee Ben Thaler but insisted his skipper's dismissal did not cost his side the win.

"He's played hundreds upon hundreds of games and he's noted for his discipline and his leadership," McDermott said. "In all of those games Kevin has played he gets attacked and gets singled out. He's had to deal with that throughout his career and he's never breached his own discipline once.

"He lost it for half a second, it happens. He has moments of frustration but we've never ever seen that. I think we can all afford him a little momentary lapse, can't we?

"It was a flash in-the-pan incident. I don't think Dorny is going to be walking about with bandages on his head all week is he? It wasn't the worst thing but at the same time it was the right call from the referee.

"There is nobody hurting any more at the moment than Kev. He absolutely didn't cost us the game. We conceded too many easy yards in the first half but I thought Castleford were great. They're the real deal. That was a tough game to play in."

Castleford coach Daryl Powell, who gave Sinfield the Leeds captaincy when he was in charge at Headingley a decade ago, admitted he was taken aback by the 33-year-old's actions.

"It surprised me a little bit," Powell said. "It's not like Kev. Obviously the game creates a bit of tension and feeling. It was a pressure game for both sides.

"But it's not like him at all. I wouldn't imagine he'd do that too many times in his career again to be honest."

Two opportunists tries from Leeds second rower Carl Ablett were overshadowed by the Sinfield controversy but they were enough to secure a point that takes the Rhinos back to the top of the table.

Castleford would have gone top themselves with a victory and Powell was delighted with the efforts of his side.

"I was a little bit frantic at times," Powell said. "Either side could have won it at the end.

"I imagine it was an outstanding game to watch if you are a neutral. I'm really pleased to be involved with games like that , although it tests your heart-rate a little bit.

"I thought we were superb from start to finish. We caused Leeds a lot of trouble but panicked when we made line breaks."

Powell was critical of the decision of video referee Phil Bentham to disallow a try by winger Justin Carney, ruling that Tigers captain Michael Shenton had obstructed defender Kallum Watkins in the build-up.

"It was a try every day of the week," Powell said. "I've no idea what they're doing. The game's a joke when they're doing things like that.

"There was no impact made. It was a ridiculous decision.

"At the moment it is a joke the way they're making decisions on those things. I think they're losing respect. I don't think there is a coach in Super League who agrees with the way it's being refereed and they need to change something. To disallow that was preposterous."

PA

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