Castleford refused to explain the absence of Man of Steel Rangi Chase from the team that lost 40-22 to reigning Stobart Super League champions Leeds on Sunday.
The England stand-off was named in coach Ian Millward's initial 19-man squad but was missing from the team sheet amid rumours that he had been dropped for disciplinary reasons.
The former Maori international also continues to be the subject of much transfer speculation, with Huddersfield the latest club to be linked with a big-money move for him.
"I don't want to talk about Rangi Chase," Millward told the post-match media conference at Headingley. "I'm not here to talk about people who aren't here.
"I'm here to talk about today's game and the 17 players that played here. They're the people who represented the club today."
Castleford sorely missed Chase's creative skills as they lost for the fourth time in five matches against an improving Leeds team that put together back-to-back wins for the first time since March.
Wingmen Ryan Hall and Ben Jones-Bishop both touched down twice as the Rhinos ran in seven tries at Headingley for the second time in seven days before easing off towards the end.
"For 60 minutes I thought we were very good," said Leeds coach Brian McDermott.
"For the final 20 minutes I'll need to have a think about it because I'm caught between being disappointed and recognising that a lot of the blokes have played three games in eight days."
Castleford were trailing 40-6 when they had full-back Richard Owen sin-binned on the hour for punching but a late rally brought two tries for centre Brett Ferres and one for prop Craig Huby as they added some respect to the scoreline.
"I thought we were a bit passive on attack in the first half," added Millward. "We lacked a bit of confidence but at 16-6 I was really positive.
"I thought I could correct a few things on attack but the try on half-time really costly for us.
"I thought we would finish strong and that was the case. The guys didn't give up and that gives me great heart going into the next game."
Zak Hardaker failed to get on the scoresheet for the Rhinos but he caught the eye with some breath-taking attacking skills as a stand-in full-back.
Leeds have confirmed an interest in Australian Tim Moltzen as they look to replace Brent Webb next season but McDermott admits Hardaker, was was signed from Featherstone as a three-quarter, could be the answer.
"He's played full-back for the last three weeks and done some very good things," he said.
"We're also mindful that we're in a recruitment process. We're not making any decisions just yet but we do know he's a good full-back."