Ahead of a break for the Challenge Cup final, the Super League 8s reached the third round with the eight sides all with something still to play for with the top four still attainable for the eighth placed side.
Thursday's round opener came from Langtree Park as St Helens hosted Huddersfield Giants with the hosts looking to reclaim second place while the Giants looked to leapfrog their opponents.
Saints made the better start of the two sides with a try inside 10 minute through Kyle Amor which Luke Walsh converted for a 6-0 lead which lasted just five minutes as Jamie Ellis replied for the Giants and Danny Brough converted to level at 6-6.
The Giants opened up an eight point lead at 14-6 after Brough converted a penalty ahead of improving a try from Ukuma Ta'ai and were unfortunate not to maintain their advantage into the interval. James Roby cut the gap with a try in the final seconds of the half which Luke Walsh converted for 14-12.
Huddersfield took just four minutes to regain their eight point cushion as Joe Wardle crossed with Brough converting for 20-12. St Helens battled back with a comeback try from Tommy Makinson and an effort from Travis Burns to level at 20-20 with Walsh failing to improve either with the boot. However, he made up for his failure to convert with a penalty on 54 minutes to put the hosts ahead at 22-20
The Giants have a chequered record at Langtree Park but made up for the negatives by staging a six minute turnaround as in-form Jermaine McGillvary and Aaron Murphy both breached the Saints line to create a 28-22 lead which lasted long enough to ensure that the Saints would drop below the Giants in the table.
Friday's televised action came from the Halliwell Jones Stadium as Warrington Wolves hosted Wigan Warriors with the Warriors aiming to close up at the top while the Wolves looked to keep their slim hopes of a top four spot alive.
The pre-game build-up had seen Warrington proclaim that Chris Sandow would 'smash the pies' something which irked the Warriors faithful and was quickly dented as Wigan scored an opening try on four minutes as Liam Farrell touched down and Matt Bowen converted for 6-0. Tony Clubb added a second score on 19 minutes with Bowen on target again for a 12-0 lead which lasted into the interval.
A 10 minute brace from John Bateman put Wigan in control at the hour mark as with Bowen converting both, they had a huge 24-0 lead with just 20 minutes remaining. However, Warrington's task rapidly grew tougher as debutant Oliver Gildart crossed for a famous try on 63 minutes to make it 28-0. Bowen was unable to convert for the first time but it mattered little as the Warriors held firm to hand the Wolves' their first ever nilling at the HJ Stadium and thereby all but and their hopes of a play-off place.
Friday's second game came from the KC Stadium as Hull FC hosted Leeds Rhinos with the Rhinos resting ahead of their Wembley date but also looking to remain clear at the top at the expense of FC who wished to move closer towards fourth.
Leeds struck first as Ash Handley crossed inside six minutes with Kevin Sinfield converting for 6-0 before Mark Minichello responded for FC within three minutes with Marc Sneyd levelling at 6-6 with the conversion. The two tries seemed to have been score too quickly as they remained the only scores into the interval.
Steve Michaels crossed for 10-6 on 47 minutes before two tries in four minutes from Carl Ablett and Rob Burrow with Sinfield converting both for 18-10. Jamie Shaul (Sneyd conv) cut the gap for the hosts to 18-16 but an instant response from Ryan Hall (Sinfield conv) pushed the score to 24-16. A frantic five minutes ended with a try from Jordan Rankin (Sneyd conv) for 24-22.
Leeds continued the 'you score-we score' trend with Tom Briscoe crossing on 72 minutes but a late second from Burrow coupled with two conversions from Sinfield wrapped up a 36-22 victory.
Saturday's action came from the Stade Gilbert Brutus as Catalans Dragons hosted Castleford Tigers with both keen to continue their pursuit of a top four spot.
A stunning start from the Dragons saw them race into a 20-0 lead inside 22 minutes with tries from Tony Gigot, Zeb Taia, Jeff Lima and Todd Carney with two conversions from Thomas Bosc. Castleford responded with a try from Justin Carney which Luke Gale converted for 20-6 not long after the Dragons were reduced to 12 men when Ben Pomeroy was dismissed after a horror tackle on Ash Gibson. Catalans went into the interval with a 20 point lead as Morgan Escaré scored in the final seconds and Bosc converted for 26-6.
Oliver Holmes cut the gap for the Tigers just three minutes after the restart for 26-10 before Gigot claimed his second try (Bosc conv) for 32-10 but Adam Milner made it 32-14 before Gigot completed his hat-trick with Bosc converting for 38-14. The Tigers moved closer at 38-20 through Junior Moors effort (Gale conv) but when Escaré scored his second and Bosc improved for 44-20, the 12 men were safe. The final say came from the Tigers as Milner claimed his second try in the final minute with Gale converting for a 44-26 final score.