Monday, 22 September 2014

Dragons Late Charge Stuns Rhinos

Week one of the Super League play offs had been billed as a close set of games but only the eliminators saw the build-up lived up to as the qualifiers saw a 98-4 aggregate score.

Wonderful Warriors Crush Giants

Wigan looked to have made a perfect start when a Joe Burgess collected a high kick out wide and offloaded to Dan Sarginson but unfortunately the Warriors centre knocked-on with the try line in sight but it served as a warning of things to come as the next Wigan set saw them awarded a penalty in a dangerous position. Matty Smith elected to kick for goal and did so successfully for a 2-0 lead.

Huddersfield responded well as Brett Ferres looked to have crossed for a try but the decision was dependant on a video review which eventually saw a 'NO TRY' displayed on the big screen after the Giants had knocked-on.

The first try of the evening came in the 23rd minute and began life with a pass from Anthony Gelling finding Josh Charnley out wide with the winger crossing in the corner meaning a tough angle for Matty Smith to attempt to convert from and a decent effort travelled the wrong side of the posts at 6-0.

Wigan extended the lead from the restart as a superb run from Josh Charnley put the Warriors in a great position which resulted in a stellar dash from Matty Smith who crossed for a try under the posts which he duly converted with ease for a 12-0 lead which soon became 18-0 when Tony Clubb battled over the line after a minor slip and Matty Smith duly converted.

Huddersfield were in danger of being out of the game before half-time as Wigan scored again just after the restart as a stunning run from Dan Sarginson saw him pick out Joe Burgess out wide who sprayed a pass inside to Liam Farrell who crossed for a well-worked try and gave a good angle for Matty Smith to convert from for a 24-0 lead.

Wigan's scoring spree looked to continue even further before the interval as the combination of Dan Sarginson and Joe Burgess looked to have broke through the Huddersfield defence again as the latter crossed for a try but after a video review the effort was chalked off leaving the score at 24-0.

Huddersfield needed to score first in the second half to have any chance of a comeback and they did just that with just two minutes on the clock as a high kick found the arms of Leroy Cudjoe who crossed for a try which Jake Connor was unable to convert at 24-4.

However, Wigan responded with a famous try as with his brothers Logan and Sam watching on from the stands, Joel Tomkins crossed for his first try in Cherry and White since his return from Rugby Union and Matty Smith's conversion made it 30-4.

The right side of the Giants defence seemed to be a weakness as Wigan's left wing duo of Dan Sarginson and Joe Burgess exploited the open space with the former crossing for a try which Matty Smith converted well for 36-4.

Wigan breached the 40 point mark in the 54th minute as a clever run and offload from Eddy Pettybourne saw him pick out Joe Burgess who in turn threw a pass to Matt Bowen who crossed for a superb try which allowed Matty Smith to convert successfully for 42-4.

The previous meetings between the sides this season saw Wigan out muscled by Huddersfield but with 58 minutes on the clock, revenge seemed to be a certainty as a superb dash from Josh Charnley saw him power through the Huddersfield defence and cross for a try in the corner which Matty Smith converted from the touchline to a huge applause at 48-4.

The game was over as a contest in the 65th minute when a nice passing set resulted in a try for Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin but a tough conversion attempt for Matty Smith saw him miss at 52-4. The home crowd were in awe in the 72nd minute when a last tackle kick from Huddersfield found the arms of Joe Burgess in goal and the winger dashed the length of the field unchallenged to score an amazing try and despite Matty Smith failing to convert, Wigan continued to celebrate a superb effort from their young winger at 56-4.

As the final minutes ticked down, Matty Smith was announced as a well deserved man of the match and he celebrated the award by putting the gloss on a fine performance with a drop goal in the final minute for a final score of 57-4. A correct result but wide with the 30-22 prediction to Wigan.

Super Saints Rout Tigers 

St Helens celebrated collecting the League Leaders Shield pre-match with a superb 41-0 rout of Castleford who looked a shadow of the side that came so close to sealing top spot.

The pre-match build-up focused on the meeting of what many consider to be the best two hookers in Super League in James Roby (Saints) and Daryl Clark (Castleford) but it was the former who made the first impact as he crossed for the opening try of the evening in the 19th minute. Mark Percival converted successfully and St Helens led 6-0.

James Roby furthered his impact on the game with a second try in the 26th minute which alike the first effort, Mark Percival converted for 12-0 and the hosts went into the half-time interval with a 13 point lead after Jordan Turner swept over a drop goal in the final seconds.

Jordan Turner extended the lead for St Helens just six minutes into the second half with a try which Mark Percival converted for a 19-0 lead which stretched to 25-0 just before the hour mark when Adam Swift crossed for a try which Mark Percival converted successfully.

Castleford's chances of staging a comeback suffered a blow in the 63rd minute when Michael Shenton was sin binned for a professional foul as he hauled Paul Wellens back when the Saints fullback looked to touch down for a try but a video review denied the chance of a penalty try being awarded.

St Helens took advantage of the extra man with a try from Tom Makinson just a minute later which forced Mark Peercival to try and convert from a tough angle which he was unable to at 29-0 but it mattered not when Kyle Amor battled over the Castelford line for a try in the 69th minute which Mark Percival converted for 35-0.

Castleford's miserable trip across the Pennines got even worse as Mose Masoe crossed for the hosts in the 75th minute and after a video review the try was awarded with Mark Percival's sixth conversion of the evening breaching the 40 point mark and handing the Tigers a nilling in a 41-0 final scoreline. A correct result but wide prediction of 28-20 to St Helens.

Vikings Suffer Wolves Fightback 

Warrington fought back from 18-0 down at home to Widnes to secure a 22-19 victory that set up a tie away to Castleford and puts them just two wins away from a return to the Grand Final.

Widnes raced into a 1-0 lead with a brace of tries from Paddy Flynn in the fifth and ninth minutes which were both successfully converted by Danny Tickle and the Vikings extended their lead on the half-hour mark with an effort from Rhys Hanbury which Tickle converted for 18-0.

Warrington hit back just four minutes before half-time as Joel Monaghan continued his scoring spree in 2014 with a try which Stefan Ratchford converted to reduce the deficit to 18-6 and wary of a fightback, Kevin Brown swept over a drop goal in the final seconds of the half for a 19-6 lead.

However the extra point proved to be in vain as a three try spree from the Wolves in the space of 14 minutes saw Warrington comeback to level before taking a 22-19 lead. Joel Monaghan crossed for his second and third efforts of the afternoon to complete his hat-trick either side of an effort for Rhys Evans with Stefan Ratchford converting twice from three attempts to complete the comeback.

Warrington did suffer a blow in the second half when a collision between  Matthew Russell and Widnes forward Magraff Leuluai saw the Wolves fullback stretchered off but the Wolves were able to hold on for the win and set up a trip to Castleford on Thursday. A correct result and close prediction of 26-16 to Warrington.

Dragons Late Charge Stuns Rhinos

When it comes to the Super League play offs, Leeds have been synonymous with success in recent years including the famous Grand Final victory from fifth place but they will have to watch from afar this year as they fell to a sixth consecutive defeat as Catalan staged a late fightback.

The Dragons made the trip to Headingley looking for a first ever win at the home of the Rhinos and also hoping for revenge after a last gasp 31-30 defeat earlier in the season but it was the hosts who opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Carl Ablett crossed for a try and with Kevin Sinfield converting, Leeds led 6-0.

Catalan hit back with a try from Sam Williams in the 26th minute with Thomas Bosc converting successfully to level the score at 6-6 before Leeds regained the lead with a Kevin Sinfield penalty goal four minutes before the interval for 8-6. 

The Rhinos opened up an eight point lead at the interval as Kallum Watkins crossed for a try in the final minute of the half with Kevin Sinfield's conversion bringing the score to 14-6 at the interval but the Dragons reduced the arrears to just two points when Zeb Taia crossed fora try just two minutes into the second half with Thomas  Bosc converting for 14-12.

Catalan went ahead in the 57th minute as Louis Anderson crossed for try and with Thomas Bosc converting successfully, the Dragons led 18-4 but were pegged back with ten minutes left of the 80 as Jamie Jones-Buchanan registered an effort that Kevin Sinfield converted for 20-18.

However, Catalan stunned the Rhinos with just a minute remaining as Sam Williams crossed for his second try of the evening after capitalising on a costly error from Tom Briscoe to secure a famous win with Thomas Bosc's conversion putting the gloss on a 24-20 win. The win means Catalan will face another long trip next week as they face Huddersfield while Leeds' hopes of a league and cup double disappear. An incorrect result but close prediction of 30-24 to Leeds.