Wednesday, 24 February 2016

World Club Series/Super League 'Round 11 Part 1' Review

The Super League programme took a slight break this week to step aside for the Dacia World Club Series and the World Club Challenge and alike 2015, the bottom four sides in SL faced off in what would be round 11 when they will be involved in Challenge Cup action.

Rampant Roosters Rout Sorry Saints

Friday night's WCS opener came from Langtree Park as St Helens hosted Sydney Roosters with the Saints keen to avenge last season's WCS nilling at the hand of the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Despite a decent start for both sides, it was the NRL side who opened the scoring and did so in style with three tries in the space of ten minutes. Kane Evans started the spree in the 16th minute before efforts followed from Aidan Guerra and Blake Ferguson which Jackson Hastings converted for a 16-0 lead. 

Dale Copley (Hastings conv) increased the gap to 22-0 with three minutes left of the first half before Dominque Peyroux got Saints off the mark within two minutes of the restart and with Luke Walsh converting it was 22-6. The dent in the Roosters scoring streak was minimal though as two further tries in three minutes restored their control with Shaun Kenny-Dowall crossing ahead of a second score from Guerra and with Hastings converting both, the lead moved to 34-6. The Roosters were reduced to 12 with the sin-binning of Napa and Saints took advantage as Peyroux crossed for his second try just to minutes later with Walsh converting for 38-12. The last say went to the Roosters though as Daniel Tupou raced 80 metres to cross in style for a 38-12 final score  - SL 0 NRL 1. 

Brilliant Broncos Batter Wounded Warriors

Saturday night's action came from the DW Stadium as Wigan Warriors welcomed Brisbane Broncos for a rematch of last season's WCS second game which saw the NRL side win via golden point after a stunning 80 minutes. 

The Broncos raced into a 12-0 lead inside 15 minutes with tries from Corey Oates and Kodi Nikorima converted by Corey Parker. Wigan responded through Dan Sarginson with Matty Smith closing the gap to 12-6 with the conversion but tries from Matt Gillett and Jarrod Wallace which were converted by Parker and Jordan Kahu set the Broncos up with a 24-6 lead into the interval. 

Oates and Nikorima registered their second scores in a six minute period before the hour mark with Parker converting both for 36-6. The series win looked to be sealed by the NRL for a second consecutive year but the icing on the cake came on 67 minutes as former Hull KR winger Greg Eden raced clear to score with Parker converting for a huge 42-6 lead. Wigan had the last say on the score as George Williams touched down four minutes from the end with Sam Powell converting for a 42-12 final score - SL 0 NRL 2.

Classy Cowboys Crush Rueful Rhinos

Sunday night saw the World Club Challenge between treble winners Leeds Rhinos and NRL Grand Final winners North Queensland Cowboys at Headingley Stadium. The Rhinos were Super League's last chance to avoid a 6-0 aggregate over the two years of the World Club Series and despite a heavy pre-match dampening from the critics, the Rhinos did themselves proud in the opening quarter by holding off the fabulous Cowboys attack.

 However, the cracks began to show in their defence as Michael Morgan opened the scoring on 22 minutes for 4-0 but a famous try for Rob Burrow saw the Rhinos level at 4-4 on 32 minutes. The equality into the interval was easily forgotten within a minute as Kane Linnett crossed for the Cowboys with Johnathan Thurston converting for a 10-4 lead before Kyle Feldt increased the gap to 14-4 on 49 minutes. 

The Cowboys wrapped up the title with a superb four try onslaught in the space of 14 minutes as Lachlan Coote and Thurston crossed ahead of a brace from Justin O'Neill and with Thurston converting the quartet, the series whitewash was confirmed in a 38-4 triumph - SL 0 NRL 3. 

Robins Axe Chester After Wildcats Win 

Sunday also saw a Super League double- header as last season's bottom four met so as not to have a free week when their Challenge Cup involvement clashes with round 11.
Hull Kingston Rovers hosted Wakefield Wildcats at the KC Lightstream Stadium looking for their first win after a mixed start to the season while the Wildcats eyes a first away win in over a year.  The Robins struck first with an opening try from Kieran Dixon inside six minutes for 4-0 before Mickael Simon responded for the visitors just two minutes later with Liam Finn converting for an 8-4 lead. 

Stuart Howarth continued his scoring streak with an effort on 24 minutes which Finn converted for 12-4 but the Robins cut the gap just before the interval with a try from Adam Walker for 12-8. Finn added a penalty for the visitors on 55 minutes to increase the lead to 14-8 before Ken Sio crossed for 14-12 on 63 minutes but a failure to convert for the Robins was to be crucial as the Wildcats held on for a 14-12 win. The loss for the Robins proved even costlier for their coach Chris Chester as at the time of writing he has left his post as head coach.

Super Salford Stop Valiant Vikings

Salford Red Devils hosted Widnes Vikings at the AJ Bell Stadium looking for back-to back wins in a good start to 2016. 

A rapid start from the hosts saw them 12-0 ahead inside five minutes as Justin Carney and Mark Flanagan crossed for tries which Michael Dobson converted to stun the Vikings early on. Greg Johnson extended the advantage to 16-0 on 25 minutes before a try from Josh Griffin was converted by Gareth O'Brien for a huge 22-0 lead. Widnes avoided a first half nilling with two tries in the final four minutes of the half from Rhys Hanbury and Chris Houston with Hanbury converting once from two attempts for a 22-10 score at the interval. 

Stefan Marsh continued the Vikings' comeback within nine minutes of the restart for 22-14 before Corey Thompson (Hanbury conv) put the Vikings within two points of the Red Devils at 22-20 but the comeback was denied a happy ending though as Flanagan crossed for his second try five minutes from the end with Dobson converting to complete a 28-20 success.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Super League Round Two Review

A busy week has led to a delay in the review of the second weekend of Super League XXI which alike the opening weekend saw some surprise results. After two games, two of last season's top four are yet to see success while the current league leaders ended 2015 in the middle 8's.

Super Salford Stun Sorry Saints

Thursday night saw Salford Red Devils host St Helens at the AJ Bell Stadium looking to avenge their opening defeat to Hull and seal a first win against Saints at the AJ Bell.

The Red Devils stormed into an 18-0 lead inside 12 minutes with tries from Greg Johnson, Craig Kopczak and Robert Lui converted twice by Josh Griffin and the latter by Michael Dobson. Saints hit back through Alex Walmsley four minutes later with Luke Walsh converting for 18-6 before a penalty goal from Dobson made it 20-6.

Two tries in as many minutes gave Salford a commanding 32-6 lead after Niall Evalds crossed ahead of a second from Lui with Dobson converting both just before the interval. Adam Walne extended the lead within three minutes of the restart before a try from Dobson on 56 minutes made it 40-6. Adam Swift reduced the deficit to 40-10 just after the hour mark but the rout was completed three minutes from the end as Evalds crossed for his second try for 44-10 final score.

Giants Gutted As Warriors Win

Friday night's action came from the John Smith's Stadium as Huddersfield Giants hosted Wigan Warriors looking for their first win after an opening defeat while the Warriors hoped to extend their perfect start.

The Giants struck first with 2015 top try scorer Jermaine McGillvary crossing in the 25th minute with Jamie Ellis converting for 6-0. The first half was a tight one with just a six point gap into the interval but Wigan staged a comeback in the first 15 minutes of the second half with Liam Farrell crossing in the 44th minute ahead of a 59th minute try from Dom Manfredi with Matty Smith converting both for a 12-6 lead.

Jamie Foster marked his Giants debut with a try on 65 minutes with Ellis adding a penalty to level at 12-12 before putting the hosts 13-12 ahead with a drop goal with ten minutes remaining. However, the Giants joy was soured with 77 minutes on the clock as a clever move saw Josh Charnley score in the corner with Smith sealing an 18-13 win win the resulting conversion.

Dragons Devastated By Fabulous FC

Saturday's action came from the Stade Gilbert Brutus as Catalan Dragons hosted Hull FC with the Dragons looking to continue their fine home from from last season while FC had eyes on a second consecutive win after an opening success. 

A good start for the visitors saw them take the lead inside eight minutes with a try from Fetuli Talanoa for 4-0 before Pat Richards levelled for the Dragons just five minutes later for 4-4. Sika Manu regained the lead for FC with Marc Sneyd converting to make it 10-4 but yet again Catalans hit back through Richards who converted his second try for 10-10. However, FC were back ahead for a third time with two scores in six minutes as Josh Bowden and Jack Logan crossed with Smeyd converting both to open up a 22-10 lead which lasted into the interval. 

Sneyd added a penalty goal on 57 minutes before Gareth Ellis crossed for a try and with Sneyd on target with the boot for 30-10, the Dragons needed a miraculous comeback to avoid a rare home defeat but their hopes were dashed in the space of three minutes. Talanoa claimed his second try on 63 minutes before Jamie Shaul completed the win on 66 for a 38-10 final score. 

Wonderful Wolves Humble Hull KR

Sunday saw three games starting with Warrington Wolves hosting Hull Kingston Rovers at the Halliwell Jones Stadium with the Wolves looking for back-to-back wins while Rovers hoped to build on a draw in the opening weekend. 

Ben Currie put the hosts ahead inside five minutes with Kurt Gidley converting for 6-0 before Joe Westerman extended their lead with a try on 17 minutes with Gidley again with the boot for 12-0. Tom Lineham made a habit of scoring against the Robins when at city rivals Hull FC and he continued that run with a 43rd minute effort for 16-0. Iain Thornley got the Robins off the mark on 50 minutes to make it 16-4 but a Gidley penalty goal followed by a second try from Lineham (Gidley conv) made it 24-4. The Robins hit back again through Keiran Dixon for 24-8 but were cast aside by two further tries for the Wolves in the final seven minutes. Lineham completed his hat-trick before Daryl Clark raced over with Gidley converting both before adding a penalty goal to reach a 14 point personal tally in a 38-8 success. 

Vikings Vanquish Rocky Rhinos

Ahead of this weekend's World Club Challenge against North Queensland Cowboys, Leeds Rhinos travelled to face Widnes Vikings at the Select Security Stadium looking to avenge their opening defeat while the Vikings had the chance to extend their perfect start. 

The Vikings raced into a 16-0 lead inside 14 minutes with tries from Stefan Marsh, a self converted effort from  Setaimata Sa and Corey Thompson with Rhys Hanbury converting only the first of two chances. The Rhinos suffered three injuries in the first half with Carl Ablett, Tom Briscoe and Ashton Golding all unable to continue and the Vikings were able to take advantage with two more scores in the first half as Lloyd White crossed ahead of an effort from Charly Runciman with Hanbury converting both for a 28-0 lead. Leeds had the last say on the half as Kallum Watkins crossed with Jordan Lilley converting to make it 28-6 at the interval.

Widnes resumed their scoring spree less than eight minutes after the restart with two tries in four minutes as Thompson claimed his second try ahead of an effort from Joe Mellor with Hanbury converting both for 40-6. The Vikings wrapped up a huge win with Thompson's hat-trick try (Hanbury conv) on 64 minutes before a try from Connor Farrell was followed by Marsh's second for 56-6 and with two minutes left Leeds reached double figures with a try from Rob Burrrow which Lilley converted for a 56-12 final score.

Terrific Tigers Trounce Woeful Wildcats

The final game of the round saw a derby encounter at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle as Castleford Tigers hosted Wakefield Wildcats with both sides looking for their first win after a draw and defeat in the opening weekend. 

Alike their first game, Wakefield scored the opening try with Stuart Howarth crossing in side seven minutes with Liam Finn converting for 6-0 before Denny Solomona crossed for the hosts just sixn minutes later with Luke Gale's conversion levelling at 6-6. Ben Roberts's 24th minute try saw Gale convert to put the Tigers 12-6 ahead before an effort just before the interval from Luke Dorn (Gale conv) opened up an 18-6 advantage.

Oliver Holmes struck within two minutes of the restart with Gale adding the extras for 24-6 before the Tigers wrapped up the win with three tries in the space of 12 minutes around the hour mark as Adam Milner crossed on 50 minutes before Solomona's second with Gale converting both before Holmes completed the rout on 62 minutes as the Tigers eased to a 40-6 win.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Super League Round One Review

It feels like a long time since the final hooter sounded at Old Trafford to end the 2015 season but finally the 2016 season has begun. Round one saw some really close opening ties with just two games featuring a double figure winning margin.

Rueful Rhinos As Wolves Win

The opening game of Super League XXI came from Headingley Stadium as 2015 treble winners Leeds Rhinos hosted a new-look Warrington Wolves. The Rhinos defence to their title began of course without the legendary trio of Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai. The mixed weather conditions and amount of new players in the sides resulted in a close first half which saw the sides remain level until the 37th minute when Chris Sandow crossed for the first try of 2016 which Kurt Gidley converted for a 6-0 lead.

Brad Singleton hit back for the hosts with 47 minutes on the clock with Zak Hardaker converting to level at 6-6  before a try from Ryan Hall just eight minutes later put the Rhinos ahead at 10-6. However, the final say came from the Wolves as Kevin Penny raced over to score in the 67th minute and with Gidley converting for a second time, he sealed a 12-10 victory. 

Fabulous FC Rout Red Devils 

Friday night saw a new-look Hull FC host Salford Red Devils at the KC Stadium with both sides looking to start well after mixed campaigns in 2015. A perfect start for the hosts saw Leon Pryce score the first try in the fourth minute with Marc Sneyd converting for 6-0 before Josh Griffin drew Salford level on 11 minutes at 6-6 with a self-converted try. Mahe Fonua marked his FC debut with a try on 19 minutes to make it 10-6 before three scores in seven minutes from Jordan Thompson, Fetuli Talanoa and debutant Carlos Tuimavave were coupled with two Sneyd conversions to open up a 26-6 lead at the interval. 

The FC charge resumed just four minutes into the second half as Josh Bowden (Sneyd conv) pushed the score to 32-6 before two further scores in the next ten minutes  from Jack Logan and Jamie Shaul (Sneyd conv) put FC in control at 42-6. Salford responded with a try from Junior Sa'u for 42-10 before a late fight back in the final ten minutes saw Niall Evalds score ahead of a second from Sa'u which Michael Dobson converted for a 42-20 final score. 

Warriors Weather Catalans Charge

Last season's Grand Final runners up Wigan Warriors opened their campaign at home to Catalan Dragons who were celebrating their 10th birthday as a Super League team. Horrible weather conditions meant the pitch at the DW Stadium was akin to a mud bath and in the first 20 minutes, Wigan utilised the conditions the better as Michael McIlorum ran in two tries in three minutes. Matty Smith converted only the latter to give the Warriors a 10-0 lead which lasted into the interval but their advantage was cut within two minutes of the restart as Justin Horo touched down allowing former Warriors legend Pat Richards to make it 10-6 with the conversion. Smith added a penalty goal for 12-6 on 52 minutes but with just a single score between the sides, the contest remained a tight one right until the final hooter as Wigan held on for the win. 

Super Saints Stop Groggy Giants

Completing a Friday night trilogy was a meeting between last season's play-off losers as St Helens hosted Huddersfield Giants at Langtree Park. The Saints started superbly as Marc Percival crossed for the opening try inside six minutes for 4-0 but the Giants hit back through Aaron Murphy just seven minutes later as he levelled at 4-4. Atelea Vea regained the hosts' lead with a try on 23 minutes which Luke Walsh converted for 10-4 before adding another conversion on 36 minutes after Percival's second try for a 16-4 lead at the interval.

Jordan Turner (Walsh conv) crossed just seven minutes after the restart to extend the lead to 22-4 before a try just before the hour mark from Ukuma Ta'ai which Danny Brough converted made it 22-10. Luke Thompson regained the Saints' 18-point advantage with a 61st minute try which Walsh converted for 28-10 but the Giants remained in the hunt with ten minutes left as Jake Connor crossed for a try which Jamie Ellis converted for 28-16. The last say on the score came three minutes from the end as Walsh comfirmed a 30-16 win with his fifth successful goal. 

Last Gasp Rovers Deny Tigers

Sunday saw the remaining two games in the opening round starting with Hull Kingston Rovers hosting Castleford Tigers at the KC Lightstream Stadium. The Tigers opened the scoring with an effort from Denny Solomona in the 17th minute which was converted by Luke Gale for a 6-0 lead. James Donaldson crossed for KR just before the interval with Josh Mantellato converting to send the sides into half-time level at 6-6. 

Jake Webster regained the lead for the Tigers with a try against his former club just nine minutes after the restart with Gale converting for 12-6, Mantellato cut the gap to 12-10 with a try on 57 minutes before a second from Webster made it 16-10. The Tigers looked set to claim an opening victory as the game went into the final minutes but KR had other ideas as Mantellato claimed his second try and swept over a superb touchinr conversion with the final kick of the 80 minutes to seal a 16 all draw. 

Wishful Wildcats As Vikings Victorious

The final game of the opening round came from the Rapid Solicitors Stadium as Wakefield Wildcats hosted Widnes Vikings in a battle between two sides who ended last season in the middle eights. The Wildcats made a superb start as Stuart Howarth put them 4-0 ahead inside seven minutes before a try from Setaimata Sa on 20 minutes which was converted by Rhys Hanbury put the Vikings ahead at 6-4. 

Hanbury added a self-converted try to make it 12-4 in the 35th minute before a second score from Sa which Hanbury converted gave Widnes an 18-4 lead at the interval. Reece Lyne cut the gap to 18-8 before Liam Finn converted to make it 18-10 within four minutes of the restart. The Vikings regained a 14-point advantage on 51 minutes as Lloyd White (Hanbury conv) made it 24-10 but Wakefield remained in the hunt as Michael Sio crossed for a try on 69 minutes which Finn converted for 26-14 but it proved to be the final say on the outcome as Widnes held on for the win.