How the Bookies See it
|Man of the Match||
Castleford Tigers won the League Leaders’ shield at a canter, finishing ten points ahead of Rhinos. They have lost just two of their last 20 games, with the home defeat to Hull coming after coach Daryl Powell rested a number of key players in anticipation of the play-offs. That said, Cas were seconds away from losing to St Helens in the semi-final, with Super League Man of Steel, Luke Gale returning to the Tigers side just two weeks after emergency appendix surgery to not only kick the last-minute levelling penalty, but also to land the decisive drop kick in golden-point extra time.
Leeds Rhinos have been there-or-thereabouts all term and finished with seven wins from their last ten games. They wrapped up their play-off place in good time whilst the sides below them continued to scrap it out and they boast recent experience of the Grand Final, having won it two years ago. Leeds nicked an 18-16 win at home to Hull in the semi-finals and will now try to make good coach Brian McDermott’s pledge to win the Grand Final, a prediction met with great derision when he made it following a 66-10 reverse to Cas in March.
Castleford are understandable favourites heading into Saturday’s showdown, following such a stellar season, and Betfred’s odds of 1/2 reflect their supremacy. In order to earn a little extra return, you might look at taking Ladbrokes up on 10/11 for them to prevail with a handicap of four.
However, Leeds have been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. Outgoing Rhinos captain, Danny McGuire has appeared in the season finale on eight occasions, winning seven times, and will be determined to end on a high before he begins his new adventure with Hull KR. If you think McGuire and retiring teammate Rob Burrow will emulate club legends Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Peacock and leave Headingley following a Grand Final win, William Hill will pay you 7/4, a very generous price for a side that are certainly capable of snatching victory.
Castleford’s Greg Eden is 7/1 to score the first try of the game, and his prolific record this term would suggest that is a decent bet. If you want to play it more carefully, Paddy Power has 4/5 on him going over at any time.
Luke Gale burst back onto the scene for Castleford last week, days after being told his season was over. With a try, five goals and then the match-deciding drop goal against Saints, it is no surprise that Betfred has him at 3/1 to be named man of the match to cap off a week in which his peers voted him player of the year. Elsewhere, it would certainly be fitting if Gale’s boyhood idol, Danny McGuire (7/1), bowed out of his Rhinos career with a glittering performance.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
|Man of the Match||
Luke Gale (CAS)