Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Super League Round Nine Review

The Easter programme traditionally ends with a stunning Easter Monday and this year certainly didn't disappoint as round nine saw Warrington, Huddersfield and St Helens all end Easter without a win.

Classy Cas Compound Wire Woes

The day began with the televised early kick-off between Warrington and Castleford with both looking for their first win of the Easter programme but it was the Tigers who triumphed 22-14. Castleford made a great start with the opening try scored by Jordan Tansey inside six minutes for 4-0 but Warrington responded with Stefan Ratchford's 16th minute effort which Gareth O'Brien converted for a 6-4 lead. 

Ryan Atkins extended the Wolves lead just three minutes later before Luke Dorn's try on 37 minutes converted by Luke Gale sent the sides into the interval on level terms at 10-10. A tight first 25 minutes in the second half left both sides with just 15 minutes to secure a win but it was the Tigers who broke the deadlock and in style as Adam Milner and Ben Roberts both crossed in a four minute period which saw Gale convert perfectly for a 22-10 lead. Warrington hit back with a try from Kevin Penny within three minutes but it proved to be the last say on the score as the Tigers held on for the victory. 

Relentless Robins Rise Guts Giants

After a pulsating win in the Big City derby, Hull KR hoped to completed a perfect Easter as they hosted Huddersfield whose hopes focused on avoiding back-to back defeats across the weekend.

The Robins started superbly with a try on three minutes from Darrell Goulding for an early 4-0 lead which lasted until the 30 minute mark when Joe Wardle crossed for the Giants and Danny Brough converted to give them a 6-4 lead. The switch in the lead was short lived as Graeme Horne restored the Robins' advantage within three minutes giving them an 8-6 lead into the interval. 

Huddersfield went ahead just five minutes into the second half as Ukuma Ta'ai crossed for their second try which Brough converted for 12-8 but the back and forth in the lead continued as Albert Kelly scored on 55 minutes with Josh Mantellato's first conversion success making it 14-12 to the Robins. 

Mantellato then crossed for a try of his own on 62 minutes but was unable to convert at 18-12 though he looked to have sealed the win with a penalty goal on 79 minutes opening up an eight point lead at 20-12. The goal proved to be a crucial one as Huddersfield set up a tight finish with a last-gasp try from Aaron Murphy for 20-16 but Brough was unable to narrow the deficit with a missed conversion meaning a 20-16 final score. 

Rampant Rhinos Rout Worrying Wilidcats

The sole Yorkshire derby of the round saw table toppers Leeds host bottom side Wakefield in a game that was true to form as the Rhinos completed a perfect Easter while the Wildcats ended a miserable weekend without a win.

Leeds opened the scoring with a Ryan Hall try on ten minutes which returning captain Kevin Sinfeld converted for 6-0 but Wakefield hit back superbly with a try from Tim Smith six minutes later with Craig Hall's conversion levelling the score at 6-6. Zak Hardaker restored the Rhinos' lead on 19 minutes with Sinfield converting for 12-6 but again Wakefield hit back as Craig Hall crossed for a try before converting his own effort for 12-12.  However, Leeds were buoyed by a two minute salvo from Rob Burrow and with Sinfield converting both the Rhinos lead 24-12. Wakefield cut the gap to eight with a try from Jarrod Sammut for 24-16 on 37 minutes but went into the break with 30 points conceded as Kallum Watkins crossed with Sinfield converting for 30-16 at the break.

Wakefield's hopes decreased further as Leeds ran in three tries in 12 minutes either side of the hour mark with Ash Handley and Andy Yates crossing ahead of Kallum Watkins second effort and with Sinfield converting the lot, the lead stretched to 48-16. A horror of a weekend for the Wildcats did see them take some positives late on as Danny Smith crossed for a try on 76 minutes which Hall converted for 48-22 to avoid a 30 point loss.

Super Salford Stun Wasteful Warriors

After both claiming victories in the previous round, Salford hosted Wigan with both hoping to complete a perfect Easter with the Warriors looking for a third successive 84-6 Easter Monday triumph and 23rd Easter win in a row, neither feat was their achieved though as Salford triumphed.

Wigan started well with an opening try from Larne Patrick on six minutes and despite regular kicker Matty Smith playing,  Ryan Hampshire converted for 6-0 before adding a penalty goal on 21 minutes for an 8-0 lead. Salford responded well with a superb try from Niall Evalds which Josh Griffin converted for 8-6 on 26 minutes before taking the lead four minutes before the interval with an effort from Michael Dobson which Griffin converted for 14-8. 

Wigan's away woes have seen them lead in almost every game before wasting such success and the trend continued as Ben Jones-Bishop put the Red Devils clear at 20-8 with Griffin converting. Wigan cut the gap with a stellar solo try from Hampshire which he then converted for 20-14 on 69 minutes but their fate was sealed three minutes from the end as Evalds claimed his second try and with Griffin converting Salford led 24-14. 

The Warriors did have the last say though in a frantic final two minutes as after having both been sinbinned for fighting earlier on, John Bateman and Weller Hauraki were sent off for the same offence with second lefts but just enough for Joe Burgess to cross for what would be the final points of the afternoon due to a cruel bounce off the post from Hampshire's resulting conversion attempt at 24-18.

Airlie Birds Advance Stuns Suffering Saints

After securing a double in the inaugural Steve Prescott Cup last season, St Helens hosted Hull looking to retain the trophy but with the the famous fullback's name emblazoned on their away strip, the visitors secured a victory the great man would have been proud of as they triumphed 28-20.

Ironically, the scoring was opened by a fullback as Hull's Jamie Shaul crossed for a try on four minutes which Jordan Rankin converted for 6-0 before Tom Makinson levelled for the hosts with a try and conversion in the 15th minute for 6-6. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook put the hosts ahead three minutes later with Makinson converting for 12-6 but a try-scoring debut for Curtis Naughton on 24 minutes saw Hull level with Rankin's conversion for 12-12.

The sides remained level into the interval before exchanging tries in a five minute period as Leon Pryce and Jordan Turner claimed tries with Rankin and Makinson converting for 18-18 but after Fetuli Talanoa restored the visitors' lead on 67 minutes at 22-18, Saints were unable to draw level though they came close as Makinson converted a penalty goal for 22-20 with nine minutes remaining. 

Recent weeks have seen the Saints stage late comeback's but akin to their Good Friday loss their fate was sealed by a further six points in the last period as Jamie Shaul claimed his second try on 74 minutes before Rankin wrapped up the victory with a 78th minute penalty goal for 28-20.

Delighted Dragons Deny Vikings Vanquish

The final game of the round saw Catalans and Widnes face off in Perpignan and after both securing comfortable wins in the previous round the hopes of a perfect weekend was on the cards with the Dragons claiming the accolade in a 32-16 victory.

Catalans raced into a 22-0 lead inside 21 minutes with a salvo from Willie Tonga either side of Eloi Pellisier's effort ahead of a try from Mathias Pala with Thomas Bosc converting three from four attempts due to Scott Dureau's early exit with injury.  Widnes battled back with tries from Jack Owens and Stefan Marsh either side of the interval with Owens converting the latter for 22-10.

Catalans regained their earlier 22 point lead with Eloi Pelissier's second score followed by Damien Cardace's try on 64 minutes with the returning Scott Dureau converting only the former for 32-10 before Alex Gerrard cut the gap for the Vikings two minutes later with Jack Owens converting for 32-16 which was enough for Catalans to secure a double Easter triumph.