After the first third of the season ended with round seven, Super League XX's second period and busiest of the season began with the first half of the Easter weekend double with round eight played across Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
The opening game of the round was the 224th 'Big City Derby' between Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers at the KC Stadium on Thursday night which saw the Robins bounce back from last seasons humiliating nilling at the hands of their city rivals.
A great start for the visitors saw Terry Campese open the scoring with a try on four minutes which was improved by Josh Mantellato's conversion for a 6-0 lead which doubled on 27 minutes with Kieran Dixon's effort which Mantellato also converted for 12-0. The hosts hit back with a Leon Pryce try on the half hour mark with Jordan Rankin converting in the absence of the sidelined Marc Sneyd for 12-6.
The Robins regained their 12 point lead just before the interval with a try from the in-from Shaun Lunt with Mantellato converting for 18-6 at the break and in a tight second 40 minutes, just one score was added to board with Mantellato converting a penalty goal on 57 minutes for a 20-6 victory for the Robins.
The second of Thursday's trio of matches saw Wakefield host Catalans with the Wildcats recent woes continuing as the Dragons eased to a comfortable win. After an even start for both sides, Catalans ran in three tries in six minutes with Benjamin Garcia, Willie Tonga and Ben Pomeroy all crossing with Scott Dureau adding the extras for 18-0 before a further penalty goal six minutes later for 20-0.
Elliot Whitehead added a try with two minutes left of the first half and with Dureau converting for a huge 26-0 lead at the interval, it seemed game over for Wakefield barring a record breaking comeback in the second half. The prospect of such a comeback was doomed within four minutes as Damien Cardace extended the Dragons lead to 30 points followed by Dureau's conversion.
The effort from Cardace proved to be the first of a treble as the Dragons winger added tries on 56 and 70 minutes and despite neither being converted by Dureau, the victory was confirmed by the 40-0 scoreline. However, Wakefield did avoid the complete humiliation of a nilling as Chris Riley scored in the final seconds to make it 40-4.
Thursday's second derby game saw Widnes host Warrington with the Vikings shocking the Wolves in a comfortable victory. Warrington opened the scoring inside six minutes through Ben Westwood but his effort saw a delay in being converted as a flare was thrown from the away end which saw the game temporarily halted. After the delay, Gareth O'Brien converted for 6-0 but the lead was quickly cancelled out as Widnes took a 10-6 lead with tries from Stefan Marsh and Cameron Phelps with the former converted by Jack Owens.
Stefan Marsh claimed his second try of the game five minutes before the interval for a 14-6 lead at the break and hopes of a Warrington fightback were dealt a quick blow as Widnes ran in two tries in the first 11 minutes of the second half as Lloyd White and Kevin Brown crossed with Owens converting both for 26-6. Warrington cut the deficit with a try from Ben Currie on 65 minutes for 26-10 but Jack Owens rounded off the night for Widnes with a late try for 30-10.
The first of Friday's trio of matches saw Castleford host Leeds in a Yorkshire derby which saw the Rhinos triumph in mixed conditions. Joel Moon opened the scoring for the Rhinos on 15 minutes with Ryan Hall adding a second score on 22 minutes which Liam Sutcliffe improved with a conversion for 10-0. Castleford got on the board was Michael Shenton crossed and Luke Gale converted for 10-6 but Leeds regained their 10 point lead with three minutes left of the half as Stevie Ward crossed and Sutcliffe converted for 16-6 at the break.
Ryan Hall claimed his second score of the game on 63 minuted for 20-6 before Adam Cuthbertson extended the lead with an effort five minutes later which Sutcliffe converted for 26-6. Castleford had the last say on the result with a late try as Michael Shenton claimed his second score which Luke Gale converted for a 26-12 final score.
The second of Friday's ties saw the huge Good Friday derby between fierce rivals Wigan and St Helens at the DW Stadium with the Warriors triumphing over the Saints in torrid conditions. Wigan made a perfect start with Dom Manfredi opening the scoring inside two minutes with former Saints halfback Matty Smith converting for 6-0. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook got the visitors on the board on 16 minutes but a wayward conversion attempt from Tom Makinson left the Saints behind at 6-4.
A typically tight game between the sides saw the score remain at 6-4 long into the second half with both sides having efforts chalked off by the video referees but for Wigan the referral system did give them some joy late on. Joe Burgess collected a superb cross-field kick to touchdown on 71 minutes and with the 24,057 crowd on tenterhooks the try was awarded and the home fans went wild with Ryan Hampshire sweeping over a superb conversion to seal 12-4 win for the Warriors and their sixth Easter triumph in a row over their rivals.
The final game of the round saw Huddersfield host Salford with both eager to continue their recent good form which saw the Red Devils edge the Giants by a single score. A tight first 20 minutes from both sides saw Salford open the scoring with a try from Josh Griffin which was followed ten minutes later by Ben Jones-Bishop's try which Griffin converted for 10-0.
Jack Hughes got the Giants on the board with his first try of the season which Danny Brough converted for a 10-6 half-time score but Salford regained their 10 point lead on 55 minutes with a try from Carl Forster which Griffin converted for 16-6. Huddersfield hit back again on 72 minutes with Aaron Murphy's try which Brough converted for 16-12 before Griffin added a penalty goal for Salford for an 18-12 victory.