Tuesday, 10 February 2015

An Exciting Start to the RLNewEra

A tough off season for a number of sides with comings and goings came to an end last week with the 'New Era of Rugby League' beginning with the opening round of Super League XX.

12 man Vikings Comeback Stuns Warriors

The season kicked off on Thursday night with Widnes Vikings hosting 2014 Grand Finalists Wigan Warriors and a superb clash saw the sides share a point in a 22-22 draw. Wigan got off to a great start with the Joel Tomkins crossing for the opening try of 2015 before Anthony Gelling (Smith conv) added a second for 10-0 inside 15 minutes. Widnes suffered a blow with the dismissal of Patrick Ah Van on 24 minutes with the punishment being a second score for Gelling (Smith conv) four minutes later for 16-0.

Widnes battled back to get on the board with a pacy try from Joe Mellor (Tickle conv) four minutes before the interval before a second score six minutes after the interval from Rhys Hanbury (Tickle conv) for 16-12. Joe Burgess put Wigan over 20 points and Smith's third conversion put them at 22-12 but a try from Cameron Phelps in the 67th minute gave the Vikings hope which bore fruit in the 78th minute as Chris Dean's try (Marsh conv) levelled the score with the following melee resulting in a sin-binning for Matty Smith.

Damaged Dragons Defeated By Saints

In what was one of the longest matches in Super League history, St Helens made a winning start to the defence of their 2014 Grand Final title with a 18-7 victory over a bruised Catalans Dragons side who played their part in a game that lasted over two hours.

The length of the game was due to a 10 minute delay after 12 seconds for a bad injury to Willie Tonga before Thomas Bosc also suffered a knock but managed to power on. Atelea Vea scored a debut try for the Saints inside eight minutes (Makinson conv) in a tight first half that saw Catalans level in the 37th minute through an Eloi Pelissier try (Bosc conv) before Bosc added a drop goal on the hooter to make it 7-6.

Saints battled back in front with a try from Jordan Turner in the 44th minute before they benefited from the sin-binning of Michael Oldfield in the 56th minute with a first senior try for Andre Savelio for 14-7. Catalans response was limited and Tommy Makinson's try (Percival conv) five minutes from the end secured the win.

Jones-Bishop Doubles in Salford Loss

Saturday afternoon saw Warrington host Salford in a long awaited meeting between two sides buoyed by their off-season recruiting but it was the Wolves who came out on top in a 22-8 win. Warrington opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a try from former Salford man Richie Myler ) for 6-0 (Ratchford conv) before a quick second from Mick Higham just four minutes later (Ratchford conv).

Ryan Atkins extended the lead in the 55th minute with Stefan Ratchford's third success with the boot opening up an 18 point gap which was cut by a debut try from Ben Jones-Bishop just before the hour mark. Warrington passed the 20 point mark with nine minutes remaining through Rhys Evans effort while Salford gained some consolation in the final seconds with Jones-Bishop's second score for 22-8.

Sneyd Stars as Airlie Birds Nil Giants

Sunday's trio of games began with Huddersfield Giants hosting hosting Hull FC with the Black and Whites securing a 19-0 win influenced by newly recruited half-back Marc Sneyd, Hull got off the mark with a try from Fetuli Talanoa in the 21st minute before Sneyd added a penalty on half-time for 6-0. 

A double from Jamie Shaul in the 54th and 59th minutes put the visitors in control with Sneyd converting both for a 18 point lead which was added to in the 64th minute by the half-back's drop goal to seal a miserable afternoon for the Giants who suffered their first blank in four years.

Rhinos Comeback Stuns Robins

In front of a record attendance at the KC Lightstream Stadium, Leeds and Hull KR posted a combined 70 points which included a stunning Rhinos comeback from 30-16 to win 40-30 against a Robins side featuring 12 debutants.

Leeds made the perfect start with a Tom Briscoe try in the opening minute but were soon pegged back in style by a trio of scores for the Robins in the space of 15 minutes, a debut double for Albert Kelly in the fifth and 15th minutes sandwiched fellow debutant Mitch Allgood's score with all three converted by Josh Mantellato for 18-4. 

The Rhinos responded with efforts from Kevin Sinfield and Danny McGuire with Sinfield's duo of conversions closing the gap to 18-16. However, KR ensured a 24-16 lead at the interval with yet another debut scorer as Terry Campese crossed two minutes from the half (Mantellato conv) before Kris Welham pushed them to 30 points with a 42nd minute score which Mantellato converted to make it 5/5 with the boot.

Leeds ended 2014 with a run of defeats which looked to continue into 2015 but they staged a superb comeback with McGuire's second try in the 49th minute (Sinfield conv) followed by an effort from Kallum Watkins just before the hour mark (Sinfield conv) for 30-28.

Zak Hardaker put the Rhinos ahead for the first time with a try in the 69th minute (Sinfield conv) before Brad Singleton wrapped up the win with a late try three minutes from the end which was followed by Kevin Sinfield's sixth conversion for 40-30.

Wakey Edge Out Cas In Derby Clash

The final game of the round saw the opening derby clash of the season as Castleford Tigers hosted neighbours Wakefield Wildcats in an exciting meeting that saw the Wildcats come from behind to claim a 24-22 victory.

Denny Solomona made a superb start to his Tigers career with a double in the 11th and 16th minutes with a single conversion from Luke Gale making the score 10-0, Paul McShane put the Wildcats on the board in the 26th minute with Craig Hall converting for 10-6. Luke Gale added to his earlier conversion with a try and conversion in the 33rd minute for 16-6 at the interval.

Justin Carney pushed the Tigers past 20 points with Gale's conversion just before the hour but Wakefield hopes rose in the 65th minute through Pita Godinet's score and Hall's conversion for 22-12 before a late show from the Wildcats saw them seal the win with tries from Ali Lauitiiti and Danny Washbrook in the 74th and 78th minutes with Craig Hall converting both to complete the comeback.