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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Castleford value to gain Grand Final revenge on Leeds

Tigers arguably deserve to be favourites at Elland Road

Castleford's Ben Roberts looks on
1 of 1

Leeds v Castleford
Sky Sports Action & Mix, 7.45pm Friday

When the fixtures were published for this Betfred Super League season, anyone connected with Castleford Tigers will have been scouring the games searching for Leeds Rhinos straight away.

Last year’s Grand Final loss to Leeds still rankles at the Jungle and on Friday night Daryl Powell’s team get the chance to right the wrongs from that ill-fated October night at Old Trafford.

That evening, the Rhinos upset the odds to win 24-6 to end an extraordinary run of dominance by Cas in these derby fixtures.

Prior to the Grand Final, the Tigers had won the previous eight clashes. The four regular-season games last year were won by an aggregate of 156-64 and if the Old Trafford showpiece had never occurred, Cas may well have gone off favourites at Elland Road.

Instead, they start four-point underdogs and that has to be of interest despite the Rhinos' brilliant victory at table-topping St Helens a week ago.

Leeds are still without several first-teamers as they look to back up that big win. Forwards Brett Ferres, Mitch Garbutt, Stevie Ward, Adam Cuthbertson and Nathaniel Peteru are among the absentees.

The Tigers haven’t hit the heights of last season yet but they come in refreshed after last weekend’s scheduled match against Wigan was called off and they look a decent shout in receipt of an unconverted try.

On a busy night the best bet may be to back St Helens to bounce back from the loss to Leeds in style at Hull KR.

The layers may have overreacted to the Robins' win at Salford last time out and on all previous evidence a ten-point handicap should be well within the compass of Justin Holbrook’s team at Craven Park.

Saints have already won at Catalans, Huddersfield and Warrington this term.

Hull KR are above neighbours Hull FC in the table and the Black & Whites will be in serious trouble if they can’t see off cellar dwellers Catalans at the KCom Stadium.

It has been an indifferent start to the season for Lee Radford’s team but they have won both their home fixtures against Huddersfield and Warrington.

The Dragons haven’t won a regular-season away game for almost a year and Hull should cover the double-digit start.

The other two matches look tough to call from a betting perspective with Warrington six-point favourites at home to Wakefield and Wigan asked to concede a 12-point start to Huddersfield.

Castleford +4
2pts Evs Betfred, Hills
St Helens -10
4pts Evs Betfred
Hull -12
2pts Evs Betfred

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Leeds are still without several first-teamers as they look to back up a big win
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