Monday, 16 February 2015

Super League Round Two Review

The 'Every Minute Matters' mantra for this season seems to be growing after this weekend's second round of games saw the aforementioned mantra result in two games decided by a single point on Friday and Saturday.

Super Saints Crush Sloppy Salford

Thursday night's clash between Salford Red Devils and St Helens had been billed as a tough clash between two strong sides but the outcome was a million miles away from such a clash as St Helens cruised to a 52-6 triumph.

The rout began in the 11th minute when a pacy run from Mark Percival saw him open the scoring but Travis Burns missed with the boot at 4-0 before Jordan Turner added a second try in the 19th minute followed by Percival's failure to convert at 8-0. Percival was successful though in converting a close range try from Joe Greenwood just three minutes later at 14-0.

Salford got off the mark in style as Ben Jones-Bishop intercepted near his own line before racing down the field to score a try which was converted well by Michael Dobson for 14-6 but the hosts went into half-time with a 14 point deficit after a try from Luke Thompson which when converted by Percival pushed St Helens to 20 points.

The visitors made a perfect start to the second half with Tommy Makinson crossing for a try which Mark Percival converted for 24-6 and from there it was classy show from the Saints as Percival crossed and converted before Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook added a score (Percival conv) for 36-6.

Salford went down to 12 men with the sin-binning of Gareth Hock on the hour and the resulting 10 minute period, St Helens ran in two tries with Joe Greenwood and Jordan Turner registering their second efforts of the evening before Andre Savelio's last-gasp effort and Percival's conversion brought up 50 points and sent the Saints top of the table.

Wolves Edge Past Airlie Birds 

After opening wins for both sides, something had to give as Hull FC hosted the Warrington Wolves on Friday night, Warrington made the trip back across the Pennines with a win but a truly narrow one in a 7-6 victory.

Reigning 'Steve Prescott Man of Steel' Daryl Clark opened the scoring for Warrington in the 27th minute with his first senior try with Gareth O'Brien adding the conversion for a 6-0 lead before he swept over a drop goal on the half-time hooter to make it 7-0. Hull responded in the 65th minute with a try from Tom Lineham which Marc Sneyd converted for 7-6 before missing a late drop goal attempt which would have salvaged a draw in a really tight meeting.

Warriors Comeback To Stun Giants

After being held to a draw in at Widnes in round one, Wigan began their home campaign with the traditional visit of Huddersfield who have revelled in spoiling the joy of the opening game at the DW Stadium in recent years.

The Giants did open the scoring in the seventh minute with a battling drive that saw Anthony Mullally cross the Wigan line with Danny Brough sweeping over the conversion for a 6-0 lead. The Warriors opened their account after a heavy hit on Matty Bowen resulted in a penalty which saw a quick passing move to the left find Joel Tomkins who crossed for the try but sadly Sam Powell was unable to convert from a tough angle at 6-4.

Another rapid passing move in the 24th minute saw Wigan take the lead but via a review after John Bateman had latched on to Sam Powell's pass to cross under the sticks which gave Ryan Hampshire an easy conversion which he kicked successfully for 10-6.

The lead lasted barely a few minutes as a Liam Farrell fumble from the restart gave Huddersfield possession in a dangerous position which they utilised superbly with Jamie Ellis crossing after a clever run from Wigan loanee Jack Hughes. Danny Brough converted to give the Giants a 12-10 lead

Jake Connor clipped forward a grubber kick and with Josh Charnley caught infield, Aaron Murphy was wide open to cross for a try in the corner but the tough angle meant Brough's perfect record with the boot ended with the score at 16-10, a lead that lasted into the half-time interval.

Wigan reduced the deficit with a flurry of passes allowing Joel Tomkins to score his second try of the evening which went unconverted after Ryan Hampshire's close attempt at 16-14. Wigan took the lead with 11 minutes remaining with a superb run from John Bateman saw him offload to Michael McIlorum who capped off the move with a try but a miss from the conversion attempt set up a two point game at 18-16.

Both sides were back to their full compliment of 13 with just seven minutes left and the spell on the sidelines seemed to help Ryan Sutton as he latched on to a rapid passing move to cross for his first senior try and gave Ryan Hampshire an easy conversion to put Wigan ahead at 24-16.

Rhinos Ease Past Vikings

The third game on Friday night saw Leeds Rhinos host the Widnes Vikings with both looking to continue unbeaten starts to the but it was the hosts who came out on top in a comfortable 38-6 triumph.

A close first half saw Zak Hardaker open the scoring for the Rhinos with a 16th minute try which Kevin Sinfield converted but Widnes hit back instantly with an effort from Manase Manuokafoa which Danny Tickle converted for 6-6 to send the sides in level at the interval.

Ryan Hall's 46th minute try (Sinfield conv) put Leeds 12-6 in front before Adam Cuthbertson crossed for his first Rhinos try ten minutes later to make it 16-6 before Leeds raced in four tires in the final 13 minutes with Tom Briscoe, Danny McGuire, Kallum Watkins and Kevin Sinfield all crossing for the hosts with Sinfield converting all four to complete a near perfect evening for the Rhinos.

Dureau Drop Goal Settles Fiery Battle

Saturday afternoon saw Castleford Tigers make the long trip to the South of France to face the Catalans Dragons with both sides looking to bounce back from defeats in round one. 

Castleford opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a Justin Carney try which was followed up by a Luke Gale conversion for 6-0 in a half that saw both sides go into the interval with players in the sin-bin. A fracas in the 35th minute saw Eloi Pellisier and Oliver Elima carded for the Dragons while Jake Webster left the field for the Tigers.

The first score of the second half came just seconds after both sides returned to their full complement as Morgan Escare crossed for the Dragons who levelled through Scott Dureau's conversion before the Dragons halfback put them in front with a penalty three minutes later.

Elliot Whitehead extended the Dragons lead in the 65th minute but Dureau's failure to convert meant Castleford were still in the game at 12-6 and they drew level with just six minutes left of the 80 with a Jordan Tansey try which was converted by Luke Gale for 12-12. As the game entered the final two minutes, a draw looked the likely outcome but the Dragons had other ideas as Scott Dureau swept over a drop goal to seal victory by a single point at 13-12.

Miller and Riley Treble To Shock Robins

The final game of the round saw the Sunday afternoon clash between Wakefield Wildcats and Hull KR with the Robins eager to bounce back from the opening defeat while the Wildcats looked to record back-to back wins.

Both sides struck early with Albert Kelly scoring for the Robins in the ninth minute (Mantellato conv) and Matty Ashurst crossing for the Wildcats in the 12th minute with Craig Hall's conversion levelling the game at 6-6. Tyrone McCarthy regained the Robins lead in the 32nd minute (Mantellato conv) before two tries in three minutes from Jacob Miller coupled with a Craig Hall conversion gave Wakefield a 16-12 lead at the interval.

Wildcats captain Danny Kirmond extended the hosts lead in the 48th minute (Hall conv) before Ken Sio crossed for the Robins four minutes later (Mantellato conv) to bring the score to 20-18. Chris Riley ran in three tries in ten minutes to put the Wildcats in control and by converting his third effort put Wakefield in control at 38-18.

Ryan Bailey scored a debut try for the Robins four minutes from the end with Josh Mantellato's fourth conversion putting the score at 38-24 but Wakefield had the last say with Jacob Miller completing his hat-trick in the final minute with Craig Hall's fifth conversion securing a 44-24 victory.