Thursday, 26 February 2015

NRL Claim Series In Style

A break from the Super League programme this past week allowed the inaugural World Club Series to take place which saw two NRL V Super League meetings ahead of the main event of the World Club Challenge.

The series began on Friday night as Warrington Wolves hosted St George/Illawarra Dragons with the Dragons gracing UK soil for the first time since their World Club Challenge win at Wigan in 2011 and they made a superb start to the game by taking the lead inside two minutes.

A dash from Tyson Frizell saw him cross for the first try with England international Gareth Widdop converting for a 6-0 lead which lasted until the 14th minute when Gareth O'Brien crossed for Warrington before converting his own effort to level the score.

The Dragons regained the lead within five minutes as a dangerous grubber kick from Widdop found Joel Thompson who touched down for a try which was awarded via a video review and with Widdop converting, the Dragons led 12-6.

Warrington battled back with a try from Ryan Atkins on 31 minutes but a tough angle meant a conversion didn't follow with them behind by two at 12-10 but they did draw level on the hour mark with a penalty from O'Brien/

However, they fell behind again just four minutes later when a clever reverse kick from Benji Marshall found the arms of Josh Dugan who eased over for a try but had the effort awarded via a video review with Widdop following up with the conversion for 18-12 which is how it remained until the end.

Saturday night's game between Wigan Warriors and Brisbane Broncos can be seen in the previous blog post.

Sunday night saw the series end with the hallowed World Club Challenge as St Helens hosted South Sydney Rabbitohs in a clash that had been billed as a close fight between two top sides but the billing failed to live up to expectation.

South Sydney made a perfect start with Adam Renyolds' kick finding Glenn Stewart for a try inside two minutes with Renyolds converting for 6-0 which soon became 8-0 as Renyolds swept over a penalty in the seventh minute.

St Helens had an effort from Mark Percival chalked off after a video review before Dylan Walker crossed for the Rabbitohs and despite no conversion they now led 12-0 but the lead soon increased as four minutes later, Bryson Goodwin found Greg Inglis who crossed for a try which Renyolds converted for 18-0.

South Sydney continued their superb first half performance with another try in the 32nd minute as Joel Reddy collected a cross field kick to score and with Renyolds converting they were in control at 24-0. St Helens thought they had reduced the deficit just before the interval when Percival crossed but alike his earlier chance, the effort was denied after a video review.

The Rabbitohs wasted no time in advancing their lead in the second half as Luke Keary crossed in the 47th minute with Renyolds conversion bringing up the 30 point mark which was soon added to by Chris McQueen's effort for 34-0.

Reddy claimed his second try of the evening with 13 minutes left and in doing so ended any slim hopes of the Saints coming back with the score at 38-0 and with the Super League sides just seconds away from a 3-0 series loss, Adam Renyolds score a drop goal to end a miserable evening for St Helens made it three record WCC losses in their history with the 39-0 scoreline.