The new 'era' of Super League crossed the halfway point this weekend with round 13 which saw five home wins and all but two sides score 20 points. However, the weekend ended with sadness after the passing of Danny Jones who while playing for League One side Keighley Cougars suffered a suspected cardiac arrest at the age of 29, thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.
The round began with a huge Yorkshire derby between Huddersfield and Leeds ahead of a Challenge Cup date in a fortnight. Last season, the sides shared the spoils in a 12-12 draw but this season doubled the effort in a 24-24 draw.
Joe Wardle opened the scoring for the Giants inside four minutes with Danny Brough converting for a 6-0 lead but Leeds were level on 15 minutes with a Brett Delaney try which Liam Sutcliffe converted for 6-6. Carl Ablett, Joel Moon and Kallum Watkins all crossed in a 14 minute period to put Leeds in control at 22-6 with Sutcliffe converting twice from three attempts.
Danny Brough cut the gap just before the interval with a penalty which left the Giants with a 14 point deficit to overturn after the break and such a comeback took until the hour mark to surface as Michael Lawrence secured a try which Brough converted for 22-14. The Giants comeback was in full swing just seven minutes later as Jermaine McGillvary crossed ahead of Wardle's second try of the evening and with Brough converting the latter, the Giants led 24-22.
Leeds were stunned by the comeback and with three minutes left looked to be on the way to back-to-back defeat but were saved by a Liam Sutcliffe penalty for 24-24, both sides attempted drop goals to secure the win but to no avail as they shared the points.
Friday night saw three games with the televised action coming from the DW Stadium as Wigan hosted Hull KR and alike Leeds/Hudds, the two sides also meet in the upcoming Challenge Cup sixth round.
The Robins defeated the Warriors back in March but with Terry Campese and star goal-kicker Josh Mantellato unavailable it was always going to be a tough task to secure a double and a task that looked over inside just 22 minutes.
Wigan stormed into a huge 34-0 lead with six tries as they tore the Robins apart with Dom Crosby's third minute opener quickly followed by Joe Burgess' brace either side of an effort from Liam Farrell with Matty Smith converting all four for 24-0 inside 11 minutes. Joel Tomkins and George Williams increased the lead to 34-0 with Smith converting the latter.
The Robins only positive in the first half was keeping Wigan out after the 22 minute onslaught but thoughts turned to the 2013 double header in Hull which saw Wigan romp to an 84-6 win before winning 44-16 in the Challenge Cup which they later collected that year.
Dan Sarginson crossed three minutes after the interval to extend the Robins woes with Smith converting for 40-0 before an eight minute salvo saw Dom Manfredi cross ahead of Taulima Tautai's first Warriors try before Williams sealed a brace. Smith converted twice from three attempts for devastating 56-0 lead.
Burgess recorded back-to-back hat-tricks with his third try on 78 minutes to bring up the 60 point mark and condemn the Robins to 60-0 defeat as they became the second side in three games to register a point at the DW Stadium.
Super Saints Extend Wildcats Woes
After a narrow win in the reverse fixture, St Helens hosted Wakefield looking to secure a home/away double and they achieved the feat in style with a 44-4 triumph against a Wildcats side who are six points adrift at the bottom.
Luke Walsh opened the scoring in the 12th minute with Travis Burns converting for 6-0 ahead of a six minute brace from Lewis Charnock with Burns improving only the first of the two scores as they led 16-0. Tom Makinson made it 20-0 on 29 minutes before Academy product Tom Johnstone registered the Wildcats first try in the 35th minute for a 20-4 half-time scoreline.
St Helens moved past the 30 point mark with three tries inside nine minutes of the second half as Jordan Turner, Adam Swift and Mose Masoe all crossed with Burns converting two out of three attempts for 34-4. Walsh scored his second try of the evening on the hour mark with Burns converting for 40-4 before Makinson also sealed his brace three minutes from the end for 44-4.
After submitting a postponement request due to injuries during the week, Salford came close to a superb win away to Hull but were edged out late on by a fightback from the hosts who secured a 24-20 victory.
Kevin Locke put the visitors ahead inside four minutes with Theo Fages converting before adding a penalty just minutes later for an 8-0 lead. Tom Lineham cut the gap on the half hour mark with a try which former Salford halfback Marc Sneyd converted for an 8-6 half-time scoreline.
Salford's injury and suspension woes led to the loaning of Wigan duo James Greenwood and Oliver Gildart and the former opened his Red Devils account on 44 minutes with Fages making it 14-6. Fetuli Talanoa responded for Hull with Sneyd converting for 14-12 before a first senior try for Gildart pushed Salford to the 20 point mark after Fages' conversion for 20-12.
Mark Minichello brought the hosts to within four points with a try on 65 minutes which Sneyd improved for 20-18 before Setaimata Sa put them ahead for the first time with a 72nd minute effort which Sneyd improved for 24-20. Salford pushed to draw level but to no avail as they extended their losing run.
Last Gasp Wolves Deny Vikings
After completing a double over the Rhinos, Warrington looked to avoid suffering a similar fate to fierce rivals Widnes who were eager to add to their comfortable win over the Wolves at Easter but were denied by a last gasp try in a 22-20 defeat.
Gene Ormsby put the Wolves in front on 10 minutes before Jack Owens levelled for the Vikings on 21 minutes for 4-4. Joel Monaghan made it 8-4 ahead of an effort three minutes later from Daryl Clark which Stefan Ratchford converted for 14-4. Widnes reduced the gap to six at the interval with Paddy Flynn's 35th minute try for 14-8.
Kevin Brown scored a nine minute brace to put the Vikings ahead at 20-14 with Jack Owens converting both efforts before Ben Westwood put the Wolves just two points behind at 20-18 on 65 minutes with Declan Patton missing he chance to level the score. Widnes looked to be on for a superb double over Warrington as the game entered the final minutes but after forcing a late goal-line dropout, Warrington sealed the win Monaghan's second try just 20 seconds before the hooter for a 22-20 triumph.
The round ended with a clash between Castleford and Catalans with the Tigers keen to avoid suffering a home/away double and secure revenge for the 13-12 defeat in the reverse meeting between the sides.
A tight first period saw Ashley Gibson open the scoring on 20 minutes before Michael Channing scored four minutes later with Luke Gale converting both ahead of a penalty goal on 27 minutes for a 14-0 lead. Grant Millington made it 18-0 on the half hour with Gale improving the lead to 20-0. In a round that had seen three Academy product register their first senior tries, Dragons youngster Fouad Yaha made it four with a 34th minute try which Scott Dureau converted for a 20-6 score into the interval.
Benjamin Garcia crossed twice in seven minutes to cut the gap with Dureau's converting of both making it 20-18 but Michael Shenton moved the gap to six before Gale converted for 26-18. Zeb Taia soon restored the narrow two point deficit with a 64th minute try which Dureau converted for 26-24.
Jordan Tansey and Scott Moore looked to have secured the win for the Tigers with tries in the 73rd and 77th minutes with Gale converting the first score for 36-24 but Catalans had the last say as Garcia completed his hat-trick in the final second for a 36-28 scoreline.