Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Super League Round Seven Review

Ahead of a bumper Easter schedule for rounds eight and nine, Super League XX continued to shock and surprise the form book in round seven with the last remaining unbeaten record tumbling and a new team at the top.

Super Salford Vanquish Vikings

Thursday night's round opener saw Salford host Widnes with both looking to boost their mixed start to the season. The Red Devils started well and opened the scoring inside four minutes with a try from Ben Jones-Bishop with Josh Griffin converting for 6-0. Weller Hauraki added a second on 13 minutes with Griffin's conversion improving the lead to 12-0.

Widnes suffered a double blow on the half-hour mark with the sin-binning of Stefan Marsh for a professional foul swiftly followed by a try from Greg Johnson for 16-0 but despite being a man down, the Vikings clawed back with a try from Paddy Flynn, converted by Jack Owens who added a penalty goal for 16-8 at the interval.

However, Widnes' revival failed to continue into the second half as Salford raced clear with four tries in 20 minutes with Lama Tasi, Cory Paterson, Scott Taylor all crossing with Josh Griffin claiming a try along with two conversions to secure a comfortable 38-6 triumph. 

Wonderful Warriors Walkover Woeful Wildcats

Friday night featured four games with biggest winning margin coming at the DW Stadium as Wigan returned to winning ways with a rout of bottom side Wakefield. The Warriors raced into a 20-0 lead inside 21 minutes with a trio of tries from Liam Farrell, Tony Clubb and Dominic Manfredi converted by Matty Smith who also slotted over a penalty goal.

Wakefield responded with a try from Chris Riley on the half-hour mark but went into the interval 26-4 behind after a late effort from Anthony Gelling which Matty Smith converted. Wigan extended their lead with Manfredi's second effort on 49 minutes with Smith's conversion breaking the 30 point mark. However, Wakefield kept their slim comeback hopes alive with a clever effort from Paul McShane who crossed four minutes later with Craig Hall converting for 30-10 but the hopes soon evaporated with two tries in as many minutes from Lee Mossop and Liam Farrell with Smith's double conversion making it 42-10. 

Wakefield's last three trips to Wigan had seen them concede between 40-46 points but this time around, Wigan went even better as Anthony Gelling completed his hat-trick with efforts on 72 and 75 minutes and with Matty Smith converting both, he achieved a 100% record with the boot for the first time in 2015. 

Creative Castleford Continue Hull Horrors

Castleford continued their recent rise in form as they hosted a Hull side whose season had started to slide. Luke Gale opened the scoring for the Tigers with try on 25 minutes which he converted for a 6-0 lead. Hull responded with a try from Tom Lineham on 36 minutes but went into the interval behind at 6-4 before slipping to 12-4 with Gale's second try on 42 minutes which he converted.

Tom Lineham completed his hat-trick with two tires in five minutes before the hour mark with Marc Sneyd converting once from the two attempts to put the visitors ahead at 14-12 but the Tigers bounced back with a try from Justin Carney on the hour mark and a game sealer nine minutes from the end through James Clare for a 20-14 victory.

Resiliant Robins Ruin Saints Superb Start

The weekend's biggest shock of the round came at the KC Lightstream Stadium on Friday night as Hull KR edged a 24-22 win over St Helens which ended Saints perfect start to the season. St Helens opened the scoring with an effort from Jon Wilkin inside four minutes which Travis Burns converted for 6-0. The Robins responded with two tries in six minutes from Albert Kelly and with Josh Mantellato converting both, they led 12-6.

Tom Makinson crossed on 27 minutes for the visitors with Travis Burns' conversion levelling the game at 12-12 but the Robins restored the lead just before the interval with an effort from Ken Sio who crossed to ensure a 16-12 half-time lead. The Robins' narrow lead became eight points after Josh Mantellato scored two penalty goals either side of the hour mark for 20-12 before Kieron Dixon crossed for a 65th minute try for a huge lead at 24-12. St Helens' perfect start looked to be coming to a miserable end but they came close to completing a superb comeback with two tries in the final four minutes fromnni Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Jordan Turner but Travis Burns' single conversion from the two attempts meant a 24-22 final score.

Great Giants Win Guts Worrying Wolves

Another Friday night shock came at the Halliwell Jones Stadium as Warrington suffered a damaging 10-29 defeat to a Danny Brough inspired Huddersfield side. Jamie Ellis opened the scoring for the Giants inside six minutes with Brough converting for 6-0 before the Giants captain added a drop goal on the hooter for a 7-0 lead at the interval.

Aaron Murphy extended the lead with a try just four minutes after the break with Brough converting for 13-0 before two tries from the Wolves kept them in the game as Kevin Penny and Gareth O'Brien crossed with the latter converting just his own try for 13-6. Huddersfield regained their 13 point lead and more with three tries in the final 13 minutes with Aaron Murphy's second try followed by efforts from Jermaine McGillvary and Eorl Crabtree with Danny Brough converting twice from three attempts to complete the victory.

Rampant Rhinos Deliver Dragons Deja Vu

The round ended on Saturday evening as Catalans hosted Leeds with the Rhinos ending the Dragons unbeaten run at home in 2015. Carl Ablett opened the scoring for the Rhinos on seven minutes with Liam Sutcliffe converting for 6-0. Elliot Whitehead responded for the Dragons on 17 minutes with Scott Dureau converting for 6-6. Leeds regained the lead four minutes before the interval with a try from Stevie Ward for a 10-6 half-time lead.

Catalans battled back and took the lead after a trio of tries in just 11 minutes from Eloi Pelissier, Elliot Whitehead and Damien Cardace with Scott Dureau converting twice from three attempts for 22-10. However, Leeds also ran in a trio of tries as Brad Singleton, Danny McGuire and Liam Sutcliffe all scored in the space of nine minutes with the latter converting all but his own try for 26-22.

Leeds wrapped up the win with two late tries as Kallum Watkins and Zak Hardaker crossed in the final three minutes with Sutcliffe's two conversions securing back-to-back victories in Perpignan with a 38-22 victory. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Young Warriors Suffer Derby Defeat

After a fairly perfect start to the Academy season, Wigan U19s faced the biggest threat to their 100% record as they visited fierce rivals St Helens U19s on Saturday morning.

The hosts raced into a 12-0 lead inside eight minutes with tries from Joe Ryan and Olly Davies followed by conversions from Lewis Fairhurst before a try from David Thompson four minutes later gave Wigan hope at 12-4. Wigan completed the comeback to lead 14-12 on 34 minutes with efforts from Gabriel Fell and Luke Waterworth with the latter converted by Jake Shorrocks but just seconds before the break, the lead changed hands. Saints crossed with just seconds left of the half as Morgan Knowles benefited from a defensive error with Fairhurst's conversion securing a 18-14 half-time lead.

Saints extended the lead just seven minutes after the break with a try and conversion from Lewis Fairhurst for 24-14 before Wigan cut the deficit with Gabriel Fell's second try of the game with Jake Shorrocks' converting for 24-20. The Warriors fightback was halted by a two tries in three minutes from Saints as Morgan Knowles scored his second ahead of an effort from Regan Grace with both converted by Fairhurst for 32-20.

Liam Paisley crossed for Wigan with 16 minutes remaining to give them hope of a comeback but a try from Aaron Fleming was followed by a last-gasp effort from Aaron Smith with Fairhurst and Dan Richardson converting for a 44-24 final score.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Super League Round Six Review

In a season of unpredictability and excitement, round six of Super League XX continued such trends with just one away win from the six games while one side rose from bottom of the table to fifth due to the small gap between the sides outside the top three.

Saints Sixth Success Sinks Wishful Wire

St Helens remain atop the league ladder with a 100% record after a 32-24 victory at home to Warrington who remain third as a result. James Greenwood claimed the first try of the night with a 18th minute effort which Travis Burns converted for 6-0 before Daryl Clark responded for the Wolves just seven minutes later with Stefan Ratchford converting to level at 6-6.

Saints raced to 18-6 with two tries in four minutes from Jon Wilkin and Adam Swift with both converted by Travis Burns giving the hosts a 12-point lead at the interval. Mick Higham cut the gap for the Wolves with 49 minutes played with Gareth O'Brien's conversion making it 18-12.

However, Warrington were unable to score consecutive tries as Saints registered tries from Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Tom Makinson with Burns' conversions opening up a 30-12 lead with 16 minutes remaining of the 80.

Warrington did respond well in the final ten minutes with tries from Kevin Penny and Chris Hill followed by O'Brien's double conversion to leave the Wolves just one score away from securing a draw but Saints confirmed the win in the final minute with a penalty goal from Travis Burns for 32-24.

Classy Carney Double Downs Spirited Salford

Castleford secured their second win of the season with a 30-16 win at home to Salford who remain above the Tigers despite the result. The Tigers raced into a 12-0 lead with tries from Justin Carney and Liam Finn converted by Luke Gale inside 13 minutes. Salford responded with a try from Tommy Lee on 18 minutes which Josh Griffin converted for 12-6 before an effort from Michael Shenton made it 16-6 to Castleford. 

Weller Hauraki's 27th minute try and the resulting conversion from Josh Griffin reduced the lead to four at 16-12 but Castleford restored the ten point gap just before the interval with a try from Scott Wheeldon with Gale converting for a 22-12 half-time lead.

James Clare crossed on 48 minutes to extend the Tigers lead before Justin Carney's second score of the evening brought up the 30 point mark at 30-12 with 15 minutes remaining but Salford did have the last say as Ben Jones-Bishop crossed on 71 minutes to make it 30-16. 

Hull Hand Dragons Deja-vu Defeat

Catalans extended stay in Hull after defeat to KR in round five saw a second consecutive defeat as Hull FC claimed a 33-22 victory over the travelling Dragons. The Dragons opened the scoring with a 14th minute try from Vincent Duport with Thomas Bosc converting for 6-0.

However, the curse of a lead in Hull hit them again as the hosts ran in four tries in 18 minutes for a 22-6 lead with Jordan Rankin, Stephen Michaels and Fetuli Talanoa all crossing after an effort from Marc Sneyd who converted all four scores. Catalans ended the run with a try from Thomas Bosc in the final seconds for a 22-10 half-time score. 

Hull blitzed past the 30 point mark with a brace from Tom Lineham whose 12 minute spree saw a saw a single conversion from Sneyd setting up a 22 point lead at 32-10. Morgan Escare cut the gap with a try on 66 minutes with Bosc's conversion making it 32-16 before Marc Sneyd confirmed the win with a 76th minute drop goal at 33-16. Catalans had the last say as Zeb Taia crossed in the final seconds but despite Bosc's conversion at 33-22 they suffered back-to-back defeats up in Humberside. 

Resiliant Rhinos Ruin Warriors Wish

Leeds bounced back from their first defeat in the previous round with a 26-14 win over a Wigan side still without an away win this season. Wigan got off to a good start with a try, conversion and penalty goal from Matty Smith inside 15 minutes for an 8-0 lead but were soon 16-8 behind after tries from Adam Cuthbertson and Brad Singleton either side of a debut score for Ash Handley with Liam Sutcliffe converting two from three attempts at goal.

Joe Burgess responded for the Warriors witha try five minutes before the interval ans with Smith converting the half-time gap was just two points at 16-14. However, Wigan failed to score in the second half as Leeds extended their lead with three scored in six minutes after the hour with Sutcliffe and Rob Burrow crossing for tries either side of a penalty goal from Sutcliffe as the Rhinos secured the win. 

Glorious Giants Walkover Wildcats

Huddersfield moved up to fourth after a comfortable 44-14 Yorkshire derby win over Wakefield dropped to the bottom as a result. The Giants raced into a 18-0 lead inside nine minutes with a superb hat-trick from Scott Grix with tries on two, six and nine minutes all converted by Danny Brough.

Wakefield responded with tries from Dean Collis and Danny Kirmond to close the gap to 18-8 on 25 minutes before adding a third try on 49 minutes through Jordan Crowther which Craig Hall converted for 14-18. 

However, Huddersfield went on to score three tries in 15 minutes through Brett Ferres, Leroy Cudjoe and Danny Brough with Brough converting all three for 36-14. Jamie Ellis looked to have rounded off the win with a 79th minute penalty but soon added the gloss with a conversion to Ukuma Ta'ai's last minute try.

Victorious Vikings Ruin Robins Run

Widnes made the biggest move of the weekend as they rose from 12th to fifth with a narrow 20-16 win at home to Hull KR. Paddy Flynn gave the Vikings the perfect start with a fifth minute opener which Jack Owens converted for 6-0.

Ben Cockayne crossed for the Robins to make it 6-4 but a try from Danny Galea followed by a conversion by Owens put Widnes 12-4 up before Owens added a penalty goal just before the interval. Paddy Flynn claimed his second try of the afternoon on 54 minutes and with Owens converting, the lead stretched to 20-4. The Robins fought back with two tries in three minutes through Ken Sio and Kris Welham with Josh Mantellato converting both for a 20-16 score line which proved to be enough for the Vikings to hold on for the win.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Young Warriors Extend Perfect Start

Wigan U19s extended their perfect start to the season with a fourth consecutive win as they sealed a 44-16 win over London U19s who are yet to record a win this season.

Wigan made a rapid start as Jack Higginson crossed for the opening try of the afternoon inside three minutes with Jake Shorrocks converting for a 6-0 lead which was cut on 22 minutes by a clever effort from Jordan Williams though Matt Davies was unable to convert at 6-4. London's joy lasted just three minutes as Wigan regained a six point lead at 10-4 with Jack Higginson's second try of the game with Jake Shorrocks unable to convert.

The Warriors extended their lead six minutes before the interval as Jake Shorrocks raced clear to cross for a superb try which he then converted for 16-4 before two further efforts before the break came from Tom Davies and Jake Moore with Shorrocks converting both for a 28-4 half-time lead.

Jack Higginson completed his hat-trick just two minutes into the second half with a try in the corner which proved to be too tough of an angle for Shorrocks to convert at 32-4 before London reached the 10 point mark on 49 minutes with a try from Callum Bustin which Charlie Greene converted for 32-10.

Wigan confirmed the win with two tries in as many minutes as Craig Mullen and Ryan Houghton crossed with Jake Moore converting both for a huge lead at 44-10 with ten minutes remaining though London had the last say on the game with a try on 74 minutes from Alex Walker whose effort was then converted by Charlie Greene for a 44-16 final score.

Wigan move on to face St Helens at Langtree Park on Saturday morning as they look for a fifth win in a row in 2015.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Super League Round Five Review

After Huddersfield and Castleford secured their opening wins in the previous round, the two faced off on Thursday night while Friday saw a trio of close games ahead of a high scoring double on Sunday.

Great Giants Trounce Tigers

Traditionally, Yorkshire derbies are exciting close encounters but Thursday night's meeting between Huddersfield and Castleford was anything but close as the Giants eased to a 22-0 victory over the Tigers.  

A tight first half from both sides ended with the Giants taking the lead with a try from Jamie Ellis in the 38th minute with Danny Brough's conversion giving them a 6-0 lead at the interval. Ukuma Ta'ai extended the lead just four minutes into the second half and with Brough converting the lead moved to 12-0. 

Aaron Murphy made it three unanswered tries for the Giants in the 63rd minute with Brough maintaining his perfect record with the boot for a 18-0 scoreline which became 22-0 late on when Jermaine McGillvary completed the rout with a 78th minute try and despite Brough missing the conversion attempt, the Giants made it back-to-back wins. 

Warriors Win Halts Hull 

After both suffered huge defeats in round four, Wigan hosted Hull with both looking to get back to winning ways and in a cagey 80 minutes, the Warriors squeezed over the line with a 13-12 victory.

Joel Tomkins opened the scoring for the Warriors in the 11th minute with Matty Smith converting for 6-0 before adding a penaltty goal four minutes before the interval for 8-0 with Dan Sarginson crossing with just seconds left of the half for 12-0 at half-time.

Hull fought back and got on the board just three minutes into the second half as Fetuli Talanoa touched down after a mistake in the Wigan defence with Marc Sneyd converting for 12-6, Matty Smith added a drop goal on 65 minutes for 13-6 with Wigan wary of Hull's building momentum.

The drop goal proved pivotal as Hull would have otherwise been level when Callum Lancaster crossed in the corner with eight minutes remaining and a second conversion from Marc Sneyd made it 13-12. Hull blew the chance to claim a draw with the final play as rather then kick an easy drop goal they went for the win with a passing play which found touch as Wigan secured a lucky win.

Wonderful Wolves Ruin Rhinos Run

Friday's televised match saw Warrington host Leeds with the Wolves ending the Rhinos 100% start t the season with a 18-6 victory that saw join their opponents on four wins from five. Kevin Penny opened the scoring for the Wolves in the 11th minute with Stefan Ratchford converting for 6-0.

Ratchford added a try of his own before converting his score for a 12-0 lead which lasted into the interval leaving the Rhinos with a repeat task to the previous round having been 12-0 behind at Hull before scoring 43 unanswered points.

However, Warrington did what Hull couldn't as they scored the first try of the second half through Ryan Atkins with Ratchford converting for 18-0. Leeds mounted a response on the hour through Tom Briscoe with Kevin Sinfield converting for 18-6 which sadly for the Rhinos is how the game ended as their unbeaten run came to an end.

Super Saints Stop Valiant Vikings

St Helens extended their perfect start to the season with second half comeback from 14-6 down to win 30-20 away to Widnes. The Vikings took an early lead with Eammon O'Carroll crossing inside five minutes with Danny Tickle converting for 6-0.

Lance Hohaia got the Saints off the mark on 17 minutes with Travis Burns converting for 6-6 before Patrick Ah Van restored the lead for Widnes on 34 minutes with Stefan Marsh converting ahead of adding a penalty goal three minutes later for 14-6 at the interval.

The Saints revival began just two minutes after the break with Atelea Vea crossing with Burns converting for 14-12, Luke Thompson put the visitors ahead for the first time on 54 minutes before Jordan Turner extended the lead three minutes later with both efforts converted by Burns for 24-14.

Hohaia scored his second try of the evening on the hour with Burns' conversion opening up a 16 point lead at 30-14 but Widnes took until three minutes from the end to reduce the deficit as Aaron Heremaia crossed with Stefan Marsh converting but it proved to be the final say as Saints held on at 30-20. 

Red Devils Rise With Wildcats Win

Salford moved firmly into the top eight with their second win of the season as they secured a narrow 24-18 victory over Wakefield on Sunday. The Wildcats opened the scoring in the 16th minute through Jacob Miller with Craig Hall converting for 6-0. Salford drew level and soon went in front with two tries in three minutes as Greg Johnson and Weller Hauraki crossed with Josh Griffin converting both for 12-6.

The Red Devils led into the interval and extended their lead just four minutes after the break through Rangi Chase with Josh Griffin making it three conversions in a row for 18-6 before Paul McShane reduced the deficit for the Wildcats with a try on 49 minutes with Hall converting for 18-12.

Junior Sau restored the Red Devils' 12 point lead with a try on 55 minutes which Josh Griffin converted for 24-12, Wakefield cut the gap again on 77 minutes with Craig Hall crossing for a try which he then converted for 24-18 but they were unable to secure a draw despite a late charge.

Ruthless Robins Rout Dents Dragons

The final game of the round saw the recent trend of stunning comebacks continue as Hull KR defied a 20-4 deficit at home to Catalans Dragons to rout the French side in a 50-20 triumph on Sunday.

Willie Tonga put the Dragons in front inside two minutes before Ken Sio drew the Robins level on 16 minutes at 4-4. Three tries in nine minutes for the Dragons put them in control at 20-4 with efforts from Michael Oldfield, Remi Casty coupled with a a duo of conversions from Scott Dureau.

The Robins went into the interval at 20-10 with Ben Cockayne's 39th minute try which Josh Mantellato converted to give them insipration for what was to come after the break. Albert Kelly crossed for the first of seven unanswered tries in the second half with a 44th minute effort which Mantellato converted for 20-16.

Ken Sio crossed twice in the space of seven minutes to complete his hat-trick with Mantellato converting both for a 28-20 lead which soon became 38-20 with tries from debutee Shaun Lunt on the hour and Liam Salter two minutes later with just the former converted by Mantellato.

Lunt made it two debut tries on 68 minutes before Ben Cockayne completed the comeback with a 75th minute try with Mantellato converting both for a 14 point personal haul and a 30 point turnaround for a 50-20 win.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Young Warriors Continue Perfect Start

After victories over Warrington and Bradford, Wigan U19s continued their 100% start to the season with a comfortable 34-12 win over Hull KR U19s.

The Warriors made a superb start with the opening try inside two minutes as Macauley Davies crossed after a clever move, Jake Shorrocks converted and the hosts led 6-0. The lead doubled in the 10th minute as Luke Waterworth registered an effort and with Shorrocks successful with the boot, Wigan now led 12-0. Liam Paisley and Jack Wells added further tries in the first half with Shorrocks converting both for a huge 24-0 lead at the interval.

Hull KR's comeback started superbly with two tries in the first five minutes of the second half as Cory Sanderson crossed ahead of a try from Joe Wardill with both converted by Ben Holdstock to reduce the deficit to 24-12.  Despite the rapid start to the second half, the two tries were the last for the Robins who let the Warriors in on the hour mark as Jack Higginson crossed with Shorrocks converting for 30-12.

David Thompson rounded off the win for the Warriors with a try ten minutes from the end out on the wing which meant a tough angle for Shorrocks who missed the conversion resulting in a final score of 34-12. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Super League Round Four Review

The excitement and unpredictability of Super League XX continued this weekend as round four featured the remaining two sides without a win breaking their duck while an 80-point thriller ended in a draw.

Rampant Rhinos Hammer Hull

The round began in style on Thursday night as the Leeds Rhinos fulfilled the 'game of two halves' cliché superbly by turning a 12-0 half-time deficit around to soar to a 43-12 victory away to Hull FC.

Leon Pryce opened the scoring for the hosts inside eight minutes before adding a second in the 23rd minute with Marc Sneyd converting both for the aforementioned 12-0 lead at the interval. Leeds comeback charge began just seconds into the second half with Danny McGuire crossing for the Rhinos first try which Kevin Sinfield converted for 12-6. Brad Singleton crossed just three minutes later with Sinfield levelling the match at 12-12 with the conversion.

McGuire scored his second and Leeds third with just 13 minutes of the second half played and the resulting conversion from Sinfield proved to be an historic one as he moved into fourth place in the all-time points scorers list with his side now ahead 18-12. 

Three tries in ten minutes put the Rhinos in control as Kallum Watkins, Kylie Leuluai and Rob Burrow all registered efforts which Sinfield duly converted for a huge lead at 36-12 before he added a drop goal with 74 minutes on the clock to make it 37-12. Leeds completed a stunning 40 minutes with another try as Rob Burrow collected his own kick to score his second try of the evening with Sinfield's seventh conversion completed a 43-12 victory.

Terrific Tigers Trounce Woeful Warriors

Friday night featured three ties with the most shocking result coming in the game between Castleford and Wigan with the Tigers claiming their first win of the season in emphatic style as the Warriors' woes in Yorkshire continued.

The Tigers raced into a 16-0 lead inside 14 minutes as Justin Carney scored twice either side on a try from James Clare with Luke Gale converting twice from three attempts at goal, Wigan fought back on 18 minutes with a try from Josh Charnley on his 100th Super League appearance but a tough angle meant no conversion was added at 16-4.

Luke Dorn pushed Castleford to 20 points just before the interval with Gale's conversion making it 22-4 at the break before the Tigers half-back added a penalty in the 46th minute for 24-4 leaving Wigan with a huge task to avoid back-to-back defeats and they reduced the deficit with Charnley's second try on 50 minutes but no resulting conversion left them at 24-8.

Castleford ended any hopes of a Warriors comeback with three tries in 16 minutes as Liam Finn, Oliver Holmes and Michael Shenton all breached the Wigan line with Luke Gale's trio of conversions taking the score to 42-8. Wigan had the last say as Matty Smith crossed for a clever try in the final minute and though he registered a first conversion of the night, it meant little as the Warriors suffered a 42-14 defeat, their worst to date under the stewardship of Shaun Wane. 

Giants Claim Victory Over Vikings

Huddersfield matched Castleford in claiming their first win of the season as they sealed a 24-12 win over Widnes who slipped to their second defeat in three games.

Widnes actually opened the scoring in the match as Joe Mellor crossed in the ninth minute with Danny Tickle converting for 6-0, Scott Grix put the Giants on the board in the 28th minute with Danny Brough's conversion bringing the sides level at 6-6.

Jermaine McGillvary put the Giants ahead with a 48th minute try before Joe Wardle extended the lead on the hour but with neither effort converted, Widnes were still in the hunt trailing 14-6. The Vikings reduced the arrears with a 65th minute try from Manase Manuokafoa with Danny Tickle converting for 14-12 before Wardle scored his second try of the evening for a 18-12 scoreline. Widnes' hopes of even securing a draw came to an end in the 73rd minute when a rare try from Eorl Crabtree, converted by Danny Brough sealed a 24-12 victory for the Giants.

Saints Edge Past Wildcats

The third of the East v West ties on Friday night was St Helens trip to Wakefield which saw them maintain their unbeaten start to the season but only just with a narrow 20-16 victory over a battling Wildcats side.

St Helens opened the scoring with a Paul Wellens try in the eighth minute with Mark Percival converting for 6-0 which became 6-6 on 21 minutes when Matty Ashurst scored against his former club with Craig Hall adding the conversion. Wakefield went into the interval with the lead as Reece Lyne crossed for the hosts with four minutes left of the first half and with Hall converting, the score was 12-6.

Joe Greenwood continued his fine start to the season with a 48th minute try which saw Tom Makinson converted for 12-12 before the Saints winger added a penalty goal three minutes later to put his side 14-12 ahead. Jordan Turner extended the visitors lead with a try on 56 minutes with Makinson adding the conversion for 20-12 before Richard Owen kept up the Wildcats' hopes with a 70th minute try but Hall's failure to convert left the score at 20-16 and despite a late rally from the hosts, St Helens held on for the win. 

Griffin Saves Red Devils Away to Dragons

Saturday afternoon saw what many saw as a potential mismatch on paper turn into the highest scoring game of the season so far as Catalans and Salford shared the points in a 15-try thriller which ended in a 40-40 draw.

Catalans are traditionally strong at home but found themselves 22-0 down inside 20 minutes as Salford ran in four tries from Junior Sa'u, Josh Griffin, Cory Paterson and Tommy Lee with Griffin converting three from four attempts at goal. Catalans battled back and went into the interval just four points behind at 22-18 as Zeb Taia, Vincent Duport and Ben Pomeroy all crossed for the Dragons with Scott Dureau converting all three.

The second half saw a rapid start as Theo Fages crossed for the Red Devils inside three minuted for 26-18 before Ben Pomeroy's second try and Dureau's conversion improved the score to 26-24 but the Dragons were unable to take the lead before Rangi Chase crossed for a try in the 54th minute with Josh Griffin converting for a 32-24 lead.

Catalans finally got on level terms in the tie with a try from Michael Oldfield in the 63rd minute added to by a conversion and soon after a penalty goal from Dureau for 32-32 but it got even better for the hosts as Elliot Whitehead and Ian Henderson crossed in the space of three minutes for a 40-32 lead. Dureau's failure to convert either try proved costly for the Dragons as they were pegged back late on, firstly by Cory Paterson's second try with Griffin converting and secondly by a controversial penalty in the final seconds from Griffin to salvage a 40-40 draw.

Winning Wolves Send Rovers Bottom

The round ended with Sunday's clash between Warrington and Hull KR with the Wolves coming from behind to seal a 32-24 win that resulted in Hull KR dropping to the foot of the table.

The Robins opened the scoring in the seventh minute through Josh Mantellato who converted his own try for a 6-0 lead before Matty Russell crossed for the Wolves with Stefan Ratchford converting to level the score. Joel Monaghan put Warrington ahead on 26 minutes before Academy product Joe Philbin extended the lead to 14-6 just three minutes later.

Mantellato crossed for his second try and converted to make it 14-12 at the interval before Kevin Larroyer put the Robins ahead in the 54th minute with Mantellato converting for 18-14, though the lead lasted just three minutes as Gary Wheeler crossed for the hosts with Ratchford's conversion regaining the lead at 20-18.

Matty Russell extended the lead with his second try before Ratchford converted for 26-18 but Hull KR were still in the hunt when Graham Horne crossed with ten minutes remaining with Mantellato's conversion making it a two point game at 26-24. However, Warrington sealed the win with five minutes left of the 80 as Ben Currie crossed for the winning try with Ratchford's conversion confirming a 32-24 victory.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Super League Round Three Review

After the excitement and somewhat despair of the World Club Series for the Super League, the regular programme resumed with round three which saw the continuing mantra of 'Every Minute Matters' continue as half of the games were settled by less than one score.

Rhinos Late Show Denies Giants

Leeds continued their perfect start to the season with a narrow 28-24 victory over neighbouring rivals Huddersfield whose recent run of wins at Headingley ended on Thursday night. The Rhinos raced into an 18-0 lead inside 26 minutes with efforts from Carl Ablett, Adam Cuthbertson and Ryan Hall all converted by Kevin Sinfield. 

Huddersfield battled back with tries from Jamie Ellis and Joe Wardle with Danny Brough converting both to send them into the interval just one score behind at 18-12 but Tom Briscoe put Leeds past 20 points just seconds into the second half at 22-12.

A superb turnaround from the Giants saw them take the lead after two quick scores in the space of five minutes as Kyle Wood and Brett Ferres crossed with conversions from Danny Brough making the score 24-22. Leeds excelled at securing late victories last season and the trend resumed in this instance as a first Rhinos try from Paul Aiton in the 74th minute put them in front with Kevin Sinfield's fourth conversion sealing the two points. 

Saints Battle Past Tigers

St Helens remain top of the table with three wins after securing a 21-14 win over a Castleford side who remain without a win this season. The hosts opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a try from Adam Swift which Mark Percival converted for 6-0. Tom Makinson added a second score five minutes before the interval and with no further conversion, Saints led 10-0 into the break.

Josh Jones extended the lead with a try just two minutes into the second half for 14-0 before two tries in three minutes from Justin Carney put the Tigers back in contention at 14-8 before Mark Percival's try and conversion just after the hour made it 20-8. Saints were wary of a late comeback which was proven when Jon Wilkin kicked his first drop goal for ten years before the Tigers reduced the deficit in the final minute with a try from Jordan Tansey and conversion from Luke Gale for a final score of 21-14.

Fiery Dragons Humble Wolves

Saturday afternoon saw Catalans host Warrington in Perpignan with the Wolves looking to become only the third visitors to defeat the Dragons in the last year. Catalans raced into a 18-0 lead in the opening half hour with efforts from Willie Tonga and a brace from Vincent Duport all converted by Scott Dureau.

Warrington fought back with two scores in the first ten minutes of the second half with Joel Monaghan and Gary Wheeler crossing for tries with Gareth O'Brien converting both for 18-12 before Scott Dureau added a penalty for the Dragons on 54 minutes.

Catalans shrugged off the Wolves comeback with a quick brace from Zeb Taia and conversions from Scott Dureau opening up a 32-12 lead, Warrington reduced the gap with a try from Joe Philbin with Gareth O'Brien converting for 32-18. The Dragons had the last say as Michael Oldfield crossed for a try in the 74th minute with Dureau's conversion completing the win and a personal tally of 14 points.

Chase Inspired Devils Edge Out Hull

Saturday evening saw a meeting between Salford and Hull with the Red Devils edging a narrow 32-28 victory in which a potential 'try assist of the season came from Red Devils' Rangi Chase.

The hosts raced into a 10-0 lead with efforts from Niall Evalds and Theo Fages with s single conversion from Josh Griffin before Jordan Rankin crossed for Hull and Marc Sneyd converted for 10-6. Evalds crossed for a second time with Griffin's conversion making it 16-6 but Hull battled back with a try from Jordan Thompson followed by Sneyd's conversion and a quick penalty for a 16-14 score at the interval.

Setaimata Sa crossed to put the visitors ahead on 54 minutes at 18-16 before Salford regained the lead in style with a double from Josh Griffin with his second created by an amazing flick pass from Rangi Chase which just defied logic, Griffin converted both efforts for 28-18 but again Hull failed to give up as Jordan Thompson scored his second score of the game and with Sneyd converting for 28-24 on 73 minutes, the game was still in the balance. Junior Sa'u crossed with four minutes left to surely give Salford the win at 32-24 but a late effort from Tom Lineham made it 32-28 and set up a tight finish as Salford held on for the the two points. 

Robins Comeback Stuns Warriors

Sunday afternoon saw unbeaten Wigan travel to face winless Hull KR with the Robins eager to get off the mark against a Warriors side who denied them of a win in last season's meeting.  The Robins opened the scoring in the 24th minute with an effort from Ken Sio which Josh Mantellato converted for 6-0. Joe Burgess made it 6-4 with a 29th minute effort before a quick double for the Warriors from Lee Mossop and Josh Charnley with a single conversion from Matty Smith gave them a 14-6 lead at the interval.

A rapid start to the second half saw George Williams extend the lead with Matty Smith converting for 20-6 before a superb comeback from the Robins saw them score three unanswered tries to take the lead at 22-20 with Ken Sio's second try followed by efforts from Mitch Allgood and a crucial score from Kieran Dixon with Josh Mantellato converting both to secure a narrow win.

Ten-Try Vikings Hammer Wildcats

The final game of the round proved to be the most open as unbeaten Wakefield saw their record ruined by a superb performance from Widnes who ran in ten tries kn a 58-16 demolition. The Vikings stormed to a 22-0 lead inside 27 minutes with efforts from Joe Mellor, Lloyd White and a brace from Kevin Brown with Danny Tickle converting three from four attempts. 

Wakefield got off the mark with a try from Richard Owen for 22-4 before a Tickle penalty goal made it 24-4 at the interval, Patrick Ah Van extended the lead four minutes after the break for 28-4 before Lloyd White completed a brace and hat-trick in a six minute period and converted after Tickle's effort for 40-4. Wakefield gave themselves hope with a try from Matt Ryan and with Craig Hall converting for 40-10, they needed a huge comeback. 

The comeback began with Chris Riley's effort with ten minutes left with Hall's conversion making it 40-16 but Widnes halted the revival with three tries in the last six minutes with Ah Van's second score followed by a try from Chris Clarkson before Lloyd White scored his fourth and converted all three for a final score of 58-16.

Robins Comeback Stuns Warriors

After a last-gasp defeat to Brisbane in the World Club Series, Wigan returned to Super League duties with the long journey up to East Yorkshire to face Hull Kingston Rovers on Sunday afternoon, The two side had contrasting starts to the season with Wigan unbeaten and Hull KR without a win in the first two rounds.

Wigan included Lee Mossop for the first time since his return from NRL side Parramatta Eels with former Warriors centre Darrell Goulding and Wigan loanee Greg Burke lining up for the Robins who looked to break their duck in Super League XX.

The early exchanges from both sides saw a lack of competed sets with the best chance to score coming for Wigan as a clever kick collected by Josh Charnley saw him tackled close to the tryline before the Robins went on to force a goal-line dropout. Tempers seemed to flare between the sides with a few scuffles taking place but with no serious outcome. Wigan went close again with Tony Clubb tackled just inches from claiming the first score of the afternoon.

The Robins went close to opening the scoring themselves with two close range drives before a last tackle grubber kick from Darrell Goulding bounced wildly as Joe Burgess looked to shield the ball out which allowed Ken Sio to touch down for a try, Josh Mantellato converted and the hosts led 6-0.

Wigan responded with a try from their next set after the Robins had lost the ball with a fine run from John Bateman followed by a penalty gave the Warriors good field position, George Williams and Joel Tomkins combined to put Joe Burgess in for a try in the corner but a tough angle meant Matty Smith failed to convert at 6-4.

After failing to draw level, Wigan soon took the lead with a quick move from a penalty which saw Michael McIlorum pick out Lee Mossop who crossed for an historic try by becoming only the second Warrior after Dennis Betts to score on debut in two different spells. Matty Smith converted to put the Warriors ahead 10-6.

However, Wigan extended their lead from the restart as a nice passing move resulted in a penalty which they utilised well to send Josh Charnley in for a try in the corner but a tough angle and strong winds meant Matty Smith was unable to convert as Wigan led 14-6 into the interval.

The Warriors made a perfect start to the second half with a great move from the kick-off which saw Joe Burgess dash down the wing before offloading to the supporting George Williams who raced through the Robins defence to touch down with ease under the posts. Matty Smith converted and Wigan led 20-6 with 42 minutes on the clock.

Hull KR had to be wary of the Warriors attack given the 84-6 humiliation of just two years ago and they battled back with clever move across the field which saw Ken Sio cross for his second try of the afternoon but a failure to convert from Josh Mantellato left them at 20-10.

A superb 60 metre break from the Robins saw them denied a try by a blistering chase back from the Wigan defensive pair of Williams and Hampshire but their heroics were soon in vain as Mitch Allgood crossed for a try from close range which Josh Mantellato converted with ease for 20-16.

Wigan were guilty of letting a lead slip in their previous away trip to Widnes and the trend continued as Hull KR drew level with a controversial 'quick play the ball' which saw Kieran Dixon cross for a try before Josh Mantellato converted to put the Robins in front at 22-20.

Last year's meeting saw Wigan comeback to draw in the final seconds and with just six minutes remaining a repeat would be needed to retain their unbeaten record but the best chance saw Anthony Gelling run down the middle before knocking on in the final seconds signalling a first win of the campaign for the Robins.