THE man who kicked Castleford to a famous victory over world champions Leeds wasn’t even supposed to have the job for the local derby.
Just two weeks before their world title goes on the line against Melbourne at Headingley, the Rhinos were stunned 14-10 by “little brothers” Castleford, with 9,103 fans braving freezing conditions and rain at Wish Communications Stadium.
After missing an earlier penalty shot which would have tied the game 12-12, halfback Jamie Ellis landed one at 72 minutes and then slotted home the decider in the final 120 seconds when referee Tim Roby caught Leeds players out of position at marker in front of their own posts.
But coach Ian Millward said 23-year-old Ellis was no shoe-in to be doing the kicking.
“You don’t just show up on game day and kick,” he said. “We look at players’ percentages during the week and Jake Webster actually had a better percentage that Jamie.
“But Jamie kicked very well in our last game.”
Former Sydney Rooster Jordan Tansey scored the first try off a kick from man of the match Rangi Chase, Millward lavish in his praise of the fullback afterwards.
“We talk about how sport is good for young people and Jordan 12 months ago wasn’t wanted by any Super League clubs and was on the scrapheap,” he said.
“There’s not many kids who, on their CV, have played for Leeds, gone to Hull, played for the Sydney Roosters and he’s still only 24 years of age. He begged me to play here and I just liked the way he kept ringing me up last year.”
Leeds halfback Danny McGuire initiated and finished a movement for the first of Leeds’ two tries at 12 minutes for 6-6, with centre Jake Webster’s touchdown off a Chase pass five minutes later bringing up the halftime score of 10-6.
Cas replacement Nathan Massey was sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements in the 45th minute and when Leeds winger Ryan Hall crossed not long afterwards and captain Kevin Sinfield goaled from the sideline, it looked like the champs would hang on in terrible conditions.
Ellis’ two goals from three attempts changed that; one got the impression the crowd would have been pleased with a draw. Millward, predictably, was happy with Roby’s big call.
‘The referee could have bottled it but he didn’t so I’ve got to give him a rap there,’ he said.. ‘I think he’ll get a lot out of the game because at least it shows he’s got the balls to stand up for his rights.’
Prop Ryan Bailey (knee) and centre Brett Delaney appears to be in doubt for the World Club Challenge, centre Brett Delaney (hamstring) was also hurt, while the Chase shoulder charge that gave Zac Hardaker concussion was a bone of contention for coach Brian McDermott.
“If there’s head contact, there’s head contact,” he said. “I’m not saying Rangi Chase’s is – I have to look at that to see if it is or it isn’t – but he’s knocked the kid out clean.
“We’ll keep shoulder barges but if the shoulder makes contact with the head, it needs to be seen like that as well.”
CASTLEFORD 14 (J Tansey J Webster tries J Ellis 3 goals) bt LEEDS 12 (D McGuire R Hall tries K Sinfield 2 goals) at Wish Communications Stadium. Referee: T Roby. Crowd: 9103.
CASTLEFORD: Jordan Tansey; Richard Owen, Michael Shenton, Jake Webster, Justin Carney; Rangi Chase, Jamie Ellis; Oliver Holmes, Weller Hauraki, Lee Gilmour, Craig Huby, Adam Milner, Jonathan Walker. Res: Daryl Clark, Grant Millington, Nathan Massey, Jordan Thompson.
LEEDS: Zak Hardaker; Jimmy Keinhorst, Kallam Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall; Kevin Sinfield (c), Danny McGuire; Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett, Brett Delaney, Jamie Peacock, Rob Burrow, Ryan Bailey. Res: Paul McShane, Ian Kirke, Chris Clarkson, Mitch Achurch.
Halftime: Castleford 10-6