After the previous round saw some pivotal side by side meetings, round 19 saw battles between the top and bottom halves of the league ladder become the main focus before the resuming of the Challenge Cup next week.
Thursday night saw the round begin at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle as top four hopefuls Castleford Tigers hosted current leaders St Helens with the Tigers keen to end a 15 game losing run against the Saints.
Castleford made a superb start with a comeback try from Justin Carney after five minutes for 4-0 before Luke Walsh capped his comeback with a ninth minute leveller which Mark Percival converted for 6-4. Alex Walmsley extended the lead for the visitors on 16 minutes (Percival conv) for 12-4 but Cas hit back with a try from Denny Solomona (Luke Gale conv) to make it 12-10. A third comeback try of the game came as Joe Greenwood crosssed for Saints (Percival conv) for an 18-10 lead at the interval.
The Tigers cut the deficit just six minutes after the restart through Jake Webster with Gale converting for 18-16 before a fourth comeback try of the evening as Matt Cook (Gale conv) put the hosts ahead at 22-18. The lead lasted just six minutes as Shannon McDonnell (Percival conv ) made it 24-22 to the visitors but a sinbinning of Percival with six minutes left gave the Tigers hope and they drew level the resulting penalty from Gale for 24-24.
A frantic finish saw St Helens waste a drop goal chance before fumbling in a scrum just metres from the line, Cas took advantage and on the hooter sealed the win with a stunning drop goal from Ben Roberts for a 25-24 triumph.
Friday night saw Wigan Warriors host Salford Red Devils with the Warriors looking to maintain their perfect home record and avoid a first home defeat to the Devils at the DW Stadium.
The Red Devils made the better start with a try from Cory Paterson in the ninth minute with Josh Griffin converting for 6-0 but in a strange first half from both sides, the score remained at 6-0 into the interval.
Salford extended their lead just two minutes after the restart as George Griffin crossed glided through the Warriors defence to score with brother Josh converting for a 12-0 lead. Wigan responded well with a try from Joe Burgess (Smith conv) for 12-6 before drawing level with a try from Liam Farrell (Smith conv ) at 12-12.
Wigan went ahead for the first time with a strange effort as Dan Sarginson touched down after Theo Fages looked to have grounded in goal but the officials awarded the try and Smith converted for 18-12 before sealing the win with a long range drop goal two minutes from the end for 19-12.
Friday's televised action came from the KC Lightstream Stadium as Hull KR hosted Warrington Wolves with the Robins looking to close on the top eight and the Wolves on the top four.
Warrington have been shaky away from home this season but opened the scoring on 11 minutes through Chris Hill with Declan Patton converting for 6-0. Alike the night's other game, the first half was a close one but the Robins completed a four minute turnaround before the interval. Ken Sio and Josh Mantellato crossed for tries with Mantellato converting just his own effort for 10-6 at the break.
The Robins raced clear with three tries in the first 14 minutes of the second half as Kieran Dixon scored before Liam Salter and former Wolves forward Tyrone McCarthy crossed either side of an effort from Gene Ormsby with two conversions from Mantellato for 26-10.
The Robins winger extended the lead with a penalty ten minutes from the end for 28-10 before a converting a try from Kris Welham and adding a last minute penalty to secure a 36-10 triumph.
Saturday evening saw rock bottom Wakefield Wildcats travel to top eight hopefuls Catalans Dragons with the Dragons keen to close on the top four while the Wildcats hoped for a first league win since round two.
The Dragons made a perfect start with the opening try from Ben Pomeroy on four minutes before a debut score from Krisnan Inu saw them lead 12-0 after Scott Dureau converted twice. Both sides pushed for points and the Wildcats had a long range effort from Pita Godinet denied late in the half meaning the Dragons led 12-0 into the interval.
The Wildcats responded well in the second half and drew level with two tries in 16 minutes as Chris Riley and Pita Godinet crossed with Jacob Miller converting twice for 12-12 but Dureau restored the lead for the hosts with a 65th minute penalty for 14-12.
Wakefield were still in the game with 12 minutes to go and had a great chance to go ahead but wasted it with a turnover on the Dragons line which proved to be a costly one as Eloi Pelissier, Morgan Escare and Louis Anderson all scored in a five minute period with Dureau converting the lot to seal a 32-12 victory.
Sunday afternoon saw the round end with the final two games, the first saw Leeds Rhinos host Hull FC with the Rhinos aspiring to reclaim top spot while FC had hopes of the top eight.
Leeds made a superb start with a sixth minute opener from Danny McGuire which Liam Sutcliffe converted for 6-0 but Jordan Thompson struck for FC on 17 minutes with Marc Sneyd levelling at 6-6 with the conversion. Joel Moon crossed to regain the lead for the hosts just four minutes later for 10-6 before Jimmy Keinhorst extended the lead before the break with Kevin Sinfield converting for 16-6 at the interval with Sutcliffe having departed earlier on with an injury.
Curtis Naughton reduced the deficit six minutes after the restart for 16-10 before a second try for Moon and Sinfield's conversion made it 22-10. Danny Houghton (Sneyd conv) cut the gap to six on the hour before Sneyd was sin binned for dangerous contact while chasing and denying a try for McGuire. The incident saw McGuire also sin binned for kicking out with Sinfield converting the resulting penalty for 24-16.
Fetuli Talanoa made it a four point game with six minutes to go at 24-20 but another Sinfield penalty pushed the gap to six before Carl Ablett sealed the win late on with a try which Sinfield converted to secure a 32-20 win.
The final game of the round saw a battle between top eight hopefuls Widnes Vikings and fourth placed Huddersfield Giants with the Giants keen to close up on the top three and the Vikings hoping for a good preparation for next week's cup visit to St Helens.
Widnes made the better start with a sixth minute opener from Patrick Ah Van for a 4-0 lead before a red card for Giants forward Brett Ferres dented their hopes of a comeback on 11 minutes. However, the 12 men did comeback with a try from Ukuma Ta'ai which Danny Brough converted for 6-4. Jack Owens restored the lead for the Vikings with a self converted try for 10-6 at the interval.
Huddersfield drew level just four minutes after the restart through Craig Kopczak with Brough converting for a 12-10 lead before Kevin Brown (Owens conv) cancelled the lead within four minutes for 16-12. Jack Hughes put the Giants back in front before Luke Robinson extended the lead with Brough converting both for 24-16 on the hour mark.
Jodie Broughton looked to have sealed the win for the Giants with an effort with ten minutes to go with Jamie Ellis converting for 30-16 but Widnes had the last say as Brown scored his second try on 74 minutes with Owens converting for a 30-22 final score.