Sunday, 24 July 2016

Super League Round 23 Review

The final round of the regular season has traditionally seen positions still to be confirmed and this season was no different with top and bottom still to be decided as well the finishing position of every team.

Rhinos Deny Rallying Robins

Leeds Rhinos ensured they will play four home games in The Qualifiers after holding on for a 24-20 win over Hull Kingston Rovers at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

An opening ten minutes dominated by errors from both sides saw the Robins score the opening try five minutes later as Matty Marsh crossed with Josh Mantellato converting for 6-0. Leeds fought back within three minutes as Jimmy Keinhorst touched down with Liam Sutcliffe levelling with the boot for 6-6. 

Rob Burrow ghosted through the Robins defence to put the Rhinos ahead at 6-12 before Maurice Blair connected to a superb pass from Albert Kelly to cross for 10-12 just before the interval.

Ken Sio made it a perfect restart for the hosts as he crossed inside the opening seconds of the second half with Mantellato kicking for a 16-12 advantage. Leeds fought back with a cleverly worked try for James Segeyaro who opened his account for the Rhinos for 16-16 with Sutcliffe kicking them ahead.

Ryan Hall looked to have sealed the win with a try three minutes from the end for 16-24 but the Robins still had hope as they crossed with a minute to go through Kieran Dixon but a failed conversion left them at 20-24 and allowed the Rhinos to celebrate the win. 

FC Seal Top Spot With Salford Win

Hull FC end the regular season as league leaders after a hard fought 28-20 win over Salford Red Devils at the AJ Bell Stadium.

FC started superbly as Steve Michaels crossed for the opening try inside five minutes which Marc Sneyd converted for 0-6. Salford fought back through Michael Dobson with Gareth O'Brien levelling at 6-6. Frank Pritchard regained the lead for FC who went into the interval leading 6-12.

Mason Caton-Brown crossed for the hosts on 53 minutes to cut the gap to 10-12 before a Chris Green try on the hour mark gave FC a 10-18 advantage. However, Salford rallied back to not only cut the gap through Niall Evalds but take a 20-18 lead with Robert Lui's effort. Hull regained the lead with a self-converted score from Sneyd before Mahe Fonua's try three minutes from the end wrapped up the win and top spot for Hull ahead of the Super 8s.  

Saints Secure Derby Success Over Warriors 

St Helens boosted their hopes of a top four spot ahead of the Super 8s with a comfortable 23-4 derby win over Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium.

Saints made the better start of the two sides with Mark Percival opening the scoring with a penalty goal inside five minutes. Wigan fought back with a try from Lewis Tierney for 4-2 before Percival levelled with another penalty goal for 4-4 on 25 minutes. The Saints centre went over for a try of his own which he converted for a 4-10 lead and Morgan Knowles crossed for 4-16 at the interval.

The second half saw a closer game between the sides with the score remaining at 4-16 until six minutes from the end as Luke Walsh swept over a drop goal for 4-17 before James Roby wrapped up the win in the final minute. 

Wolves Edge Giants 

Warrington Wolves secured third spot ahead of the Super 8s with a 34-30 win over Huddersfield Giants at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Stefan Ratchford and Ben Currie crossed early on to put the Wolves 10-0 ahead inside 13 minutes before former Wolves winger Gene Ormsby crossed twice either side of an Aaron Murphy effort to give the Giants a 10-14 lead but a Ben Westwood try made it 16-14 to the hosts ahead of the interval. 

Nathan Mason regained the lead for the Giants within five minutes of the restart before efforts from Chris Sandow and Ryan Atkins made it 28-20 before Ormsby completed his hat-trick and Craig Huby crossed for the visitors who now led 28-30 with ten minutes left. The win was to go to the Wolves though as Daryl Clark crossed four minutes from the end to condemn the Giants to rock bottom in the standings. 

Terrific Tigers Trounce Trinity

Castleford Tigers secured sixth spot ahead of the Super 8s with a comfortable 46-20 win over neighbours Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at Belle Vue.

The Tigers who claimed the Adam Watene trophy with the win suffered early on with Wakefield racing into a 10-0 lead after tries from Jacob Miller and Joe Arundel. Greg Minikin and Oliver Holmes brought the Tigers level to 10-10 before a second try from Arundel sent the hosts into the interval leading 16-10.

Andre Savelio crossed for a try on his Tigers debut as they levelled at 16-16 before Reece Lyne crossed for 20-16. Castleford staged a stunning comeback as Luke Gale and Junior Moors crossed ahead of a second try from Minikin to take a 20-34 lead.

Tom Holmes and Ryan Hampshire crossed late on with Gale improving both for an personal tally of 18 points as the Tigers finished the regular season two places above their fierce rivals.

Valiant Vikings Devastate Dragons

Widnes Vikings secured their highest regular season finish with a strong 32-4 win over Catalans Dragons at the Select Security Stadium.

The Vikings' pursuit of seventh spot ahead of the Super 8s saw them start well with Corey Thompson crossing and converting for 6-0 inside eight minutes. Dave Taylor replied for the Dragons with Todd Carney somehow missing a conversion from in front of the posts at 6-4. Patrick Ah Van crossed with Thompson converting before adding to penalty goals for a 14-4 lead into the interval.

Joe Mellor extended Vikings spree on the hour mark with Stefan Marsh taking over the kicking duties for 20-4 with Aaron Heremaia crossing for a try ahead of an effort from Marsh late on. The centre converted to wrap up comfortable victory and ensure that the Dragons missed out on a top four spot ahead of the split.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Super League Round 22 Review

Fabulous FC Rout Robins 

Hull FC returned to the Super League summit for at least 24 hours after they eased to a 36-12 derby win over city rivals Hull Kingston Rovers who now face 'The Qualifiers'.

A close first ten minutes between the sides ended with FC striking the opening try as Liam Watts crossed and Marc Sneyd converted for 6-0 before a clever kick from Sneyd saw Danny Houghton increase the lead for 12-0. FC seemed in control before the 25th minute as Mark Minchello benefited from a KR mistake from a Sneyd kick to cross for an 18-0 lead which lasted into half-time.

The hosts' spree resumed seven minutes after the restart as Minichello claimed his second try for 24-0 before Steve Michaels crossed with the resulting conversion brining up the 30 point mark. The Robins finally got off the mark on 55 minutes as Adam Walker crossed and Josh Mantellato converted for 30-6. The win was cemented for the hosts with 13 minutes to go as Michaels claimed his second try for 36-6 but the Robins had the last say in style as Iain Thornley dummied superbly to cross on 78 minutes with Mantellato converting for 36-12.

Vikings Vanquished By Red Devils

Salford Red Devils boosted their hopes of finishing ninth ahead of the split as they secured a 32-24 win away to Widnes Vikings. 

The Red Devils made a superb start as Mason Caton-Brown crossed inside three minutes for 0-6 before Matt Whitley crossed for the Vikings for 6-6. Justin Carney and Patrick Ah Van exchanged tried for 12-12 into the interval. 

Caton-Brown and Whitley claimed their second tries for 181-18 before Josh Jones' effort and two Gareth O'Brien penalties put the visitors 18-26 ahead. Widnes hit back through Corey Thompson for 24-26 but were unable to avoid defeat as Caton-Brown completed his hat-trick for the win. 

Revitalised Rhinos Deny Weakened Warriors

After defeating league leaders Hull FC last week, Leeds Rhinos claimed consecutive scalps as they edged second placed Wigan Warriors 18-16 at Headingley.

The Rhinos struck first through in-form Kallum Watkins who battled his way over with Liam Sutcliffe converting for a 6-0 advantage. Wigan fought back with an effort from Josh Charnley but Matty Smith dragged the conversion attempt wide at 6-4. The sides battled on for the rest of the first half with defence coming out on top as the two point gap remained into the interval.

A superb try from Adam Cuthbertson saw the Rhinos move to a 12-4 lead before they looked to have sealed the win on 67 minutes as Brett Ferres crossed for 18-4. Wigan have been experts at staging late comebacks this season and they looked to be on their way to a superb one when Jack Higginson opened his Warriors account with 11 minutes to go to cut the gap to 18-10.

George Willliams left the Rhinos defence in his wake as dummied and crossed on 72 minutes with Smith converting for 18-16. Wigan came close to scoring a vital winning try but were inevitably denied by the strong Rhinos defence which held on to move them off the foot of the table.

Dragons Denied As Wildcats Win

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats moved up to sixth in the standings after securing a 30-28 win away to Catalans Dragons at Stade Gilbert Brutus.

Trinity made the better start as Max Jowitt opened the scoring inside seven minutes with Liam Finn converting for 0-6 before Tony Gigot crossed for the hosts with Pat Richards levelling with the boot for 6-6. The Dragons took control with tries from Dave Taylor and Justin Horo for 18-6 but Wakefield battled back superbly with efforts from Jon Molloy and Craig Hall sending them into the interval level at 18-18.

The visitors completed the turnaround within eight minutes of the restart with Bill Tupou going over for 18-24 before Morgan Escaré drew the Dragons level at 24-24. Both sides were wary of their last meeting which saw Wakefield win 25-24 and Tony Gigot attempted a drop goal only to miss the target but Trinity ensured the attempt didn't matter as Mick Sio put them ahead on 67 minutes at 24-30.

Catalans set up a tense final ten minutes with Fouad Yaha scoring out wide but a failed conversion from Richards left the score at 28-30. Both sides pushed for further scores but it was to be Wakefield's day as they claimed a superb victory.  

Super Saints Stop Giants

St Helens kept up their hopes of a top four spot ahead of the Super 8s split with a 34-18 away to Huddersfield Giants.

The visitors raced into a 0-6 lead inside two minutes as Joe Greenwood crossed and Marc Percival converted but the Giants were soon level as Danny Brough crossed ad converted for 6-6 on nine minutes. The sides traded scores again as Jack Owens and Tom Symonds crossed with only Brough converting as the Giants led 12-10. St Helens took control ahead of half-time with tries from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Jordan Turner for 12-22 at the interval.

Huddersfield fought back with an effort from Jermaine McGillvary for 18-22 but it was to be in vain as Adam Swift dashed over for a superb try ahead of an effort from Alex Walmsley with Marc Percival ending the afternoon with five successes with the boot in a comfortable win. 

Wolves Win Despite Solomona Quartet

Warrington Wolves closed the gap on the top two with a comfortable 42-26 win away at Castleford Tigers.

The Tigers made a perfect start as Frankie Mariano opened the scoring inside three minutes for 4-0 before Rhys Evans crossed twice in five minutes to give the Wolves a 4-10 advantage. Denny Solomona matched Evans as he crossed for a brace with Luke Gale converting the latter for 14-10. Stefan Ratchford put the Wolves back ahead at 14-16 but Solomona completed his hat-trick with three minutes left of the half to send the Tigers into the interval leading 18-16.

Brad Dwyer put the Wolves ahead within six minutes of the restart with Chris Sandow kicking the conversion before adding a penalty goal for an 18-30 lead. Warrington took full control of the game with a trio of tries in the space of ten minutes as Ben Currie, Toby King and Daryl Clark all crossing for a huge 18-42 lead.

Denny Solomona continued his personal success in the game with a fourth try for 22-42 but another miss from Gale left them behind at 22-42. The Tigers did have the last say on the score though as Ben Crooks crossed in the final minute for 26-42.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Super League State of Mind Round 21 Review

Wolves Condemn Red Devils To Qualifiers

Warrington Wolves closed up on the top two with a comfortable 40-14 over Salford Red Devils who will end their season in the bottom four and the Middle 8s.

The Red Devils actually started the better of the two sides with Junior Sa'u crossing for the opening try inside eight minutes for 0-4. Warrington battled back with an effort from Joe Westerman before a rapid brace from Ryan Atkins sent them into the interval leading 18-4.

Tom Lineham marked his return to the team with a try four minutes after the restart before Josh Griffin cut the gap for the visitors at 22-8. Westerman claimed his second score with Declan Patton marking a good evening with the boot with a self-converted try to open up a 34-8 advantage.

Matty Russell collected a clever kick from Chris Sandow to touch down for a try before the last say on the contest came from Salford as Robert Lui crossed nine minutes from the end with former Wolves fullback Gareth O'Brien kicking a first successful conversion of the night for a 40-14 final score. 

Rallying Robins Edge Giants 

Hull Kingston Rovers kept up their hopes of reaching the top eight with a 20-19 win at home to Huddersfield Giants which saw them overturn a 6-19 deficit.

The Giants started the brighter of the two sides with Ryan Brierley crossing for the opening try inside nine minutes before Matty Marsh crossed and Ben Cockayne levelled with the boot for 6-6. Tries from Jake Connor and Jamie Ellis put the Giants in control at 6-18 ahead of the interval before a Danny Brough drop goal made it 6-19 on 46 minutes.

The Robins fought back superbly with efforts from Albert Kelly and George Lawler in a four minute period before the hour to cut the gap to 18-19 before Cockayne swept over a 72nd minute penalty to complete the comeback and seal the win. The result confirms that the Giants will take part in 'The Qualifiers'.  

Saints Stop Vikings

St Helens kept up their hopes of reaching the top four ahead of the split with a narrow 12-10 win over Widnes Vikings. 

A rapid start from the hosts saw Jordan Turner open the scoring inside three minutes before Corey Thompson crossed with Rhys Hanbury converting to give the visitors a 4-6 lead. 

Matty Fleming restored the lead for the Saints to give them a 10-6 lead into the interval. 

The second half saw just two scores with Patrick Ah Van crossing to level the game at 10101 before a late penalty from Marc Percival sealed a 12-10 win for the Saints. 

Hull FC Stunned By Rallying Rhinos

A battle between top and bottom saw Hull FC stunned as they lost 20-15 to defending champions Leeds Rhinos.

The Rhinos struck an early opener through Liam Sutcliffe inside four minutes for 0-4 before efforts from Carlos Tuimawave and Kirk Yeaman coupled with a last-gasp drop goal from Marc Sneyd saw FC lead 13-4 into the break. Joel Moon closed the gap to 13-8 for the Rhinos only for Sneyd to add a penalty for 15-8 on the hour.

Leeds staged a superb comeback in the final ten minutes spearheaded by Kallum Watkins as he crossed in the 72nd and 75th minutes to ensure the Rhinos claimed a home/away double over FC. 

Bad Tempered Warriors Deny Wildcats 

Wigan Warriors moved to the Super League summit with a last-gasp 22-18 win over Wakefield Trinity despite playing an hour with 12 men.

Wakefield struck an opening try through Max Jowitt inside seven minutes before Dom Manfredi was sin-binned while Wigan attacked in the 19th minute.The 12 men cut the gap through Oliver Gildart for 4-6, Manfredi came back on to then be replaced in the bin by Josh Charnley within seconds. The 12 men crossed for a second time as Sam Powell's effort made it 10-6 but the half ended horribly for the hosts as captain Sean O'Loughlin was sent off on 38 minutes for a high shot.

Wakefield regained their earlier lead within three minutes of the restart as Reece Lyne crossed for 10-12 before Ben Jones-Bishop increased the lead to 10-6. Liam Finn converted a penalty goal just after the hour mark to make it 10-18 but Wigan were not to be cast aside as Lewis Tierney cut the gap to 16-18 before crossing for a second time in the final minute with Matty Smith kicking to confirm the win. 

Dragons Denied As Terrific Tigers Seal Super 8s Spot

Castleford Tigers wrapped up a Super 8s spot with a 38-24 win at home to Catalans Dragons who missed the chance to close on the top three.

The Tigers struck an early opening try as stand-in winger Ryan Hampshire crossed for 4-0 inside eight minutes before Justin Horo replied for the visitors with Thomas Bosc converting for a 4-6 lead. Hampshire claimed his second try of the afternoon before Frankie Mariano marked his comeback from injury with an effort for 14-6. Paul McShane went in in the last minute of the half with Gale converting for a second time to make it 20-6 at the interval.

Luke Dorn continued the Tigers' spree within two minutes of the restart but the Dragons stemmed the run with a try from Fouad Yaha for 26-12. Oliver Holmes grabbed a try before Dorn claimed his second to give the hosts a comfortable lead at 38-12. Catalans battled back after the hour mark with a try from captain Remi Casty before having the last say on the contest in the final minute as Julian Bousquet crossed and Bosc converted for a fourth time at 38-24.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Super League Round 20 Review

Huddersfield Giants Glorify In Halting Hull FC

Huddersfield Giants kept up their hopes of reaching the top eight ahead of the split as they claimed a shock win at home to league leaders Hull FC at the John Smith's Stadium.

The Giants took a surprise lead after 17 minutes as Michael Lawrence crossed with Jamie Ellis converting for a 6-0 lead. Ellis added a penalty goal in a tight first half of torrential rain to give the Giants an 8-0 advantage at the half-time interval.

Hull fought back with a try from Danny Washbrook just four minutes after the restart with Marc Sneyd converting for 8-6 but a first try in claret from Tom Symonds saw Huddersfield go 14-6 ahead before a superb three minute brace from Jermaine McGillvary put the Giants in control at 22-6.

FC rallied to stage a comeback but were only able to make a dent in the gap as Mahe Fonua crossed three minutes from the end for 22-12 but for FC it was an evening to forget as the Giants secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season while ending FC's stunning winning run.

O'Brien Kicks Red Devils Past Tigers

Salford Red Devils boosted their top eight hopes ahead of a potentially pivotal appeal hearing with a 22-18 win over Castleford Tigers at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The Tigers started the better of the two sides with Jake Webster crossing for the opening score inside nine minutes with Luke Gale converting for 0-6 before a try from Gareth O'Brien cut the gap to 4-6. Michael Dobson crossed for the hosts before Webster claimed his second effort as the Tigers held a 10-12 lead into the interval.

Luke Dorn extended the lead within five minutes of the restart before a first try of the season for Mason Caton-Brown put the score to 16-18. From there it was simply the Gareth O'Brien show as he kicked three penalty goals in the final nine minutes, the latter a last-gap kick to confirm the win.

Rallying Robins Deny Wolves Win

Hull Kingston Rovers remain in the hunt for a top eight spot after denying Warrington Wolves late on in a 16-all draw at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

The poor weather conditions certainly played their part in a tight first half that looked to be ending all square at 0-0. However, the game came alive in the final minutes of the half with James Green and Jordan Cox involved in a fracas which saw Green sent off for the hosts after punching the Wolves forward. 

Strangely, the hosts were given the penalty and they used it superbly as James Donaldson crossed for the first try of the evening which Ben Cockayne converted for 6-0 at the interval.

Thomas Minns extended the lead to ten points within four minutes of the restart but the Wolves fought back against the 12 men with tries from Matty Russell, Brad Dwyer and Jack Hughes all crossing to give the visitors a 10-16 advantage.

The Robins battled on despite being a man light and managed to draw level just two minutes from the end as Iain Thornley crossed and Cockayne converted to seal a potentially vital point in a 16-16 draw.

Dragons' Party Popped By Warriors 

Wigan Warriors moved level with Hull FC at the Super League summit with a 26-6 win against Catalans Dragons at Stade Gilbert Brutus. The game was part of a festival for the Dragons as they marked the 10 year anniversary of the first meeting between the sides. Pat Richards got the Dragons on the board with the first points as he kicked a tenth minute penalty for 2-0.

Wigan lost Lee Mossop to the sin-bin but seemed to play better with just 12 men as Dan Sarginson and Ryan Sutton crossed to give them a 2-12 lead. Oliver Gildart extended the led further with Matty Smith on fine kicking form as he added a penalty goal for 2-20 at the interval.

Justin Horo cut the gap for the hosts within four minutes of the restart for 6-20 before Wigan looked to wrap up the game with a try from Dom Manfredi just before the hour mark. Both sides pushed for more points but the Warriors held on to their lead to complete a superb win that puts them level with Hull FC and rights the wrongs of last season's horror show in France.  

Vikings Fightback Sends Rhinos Into Middle 8s

A superb 13-point turnaround from Widnes Vikings secured a 23-22 win against Leeds Rhinos, the result condemning the treble winners to the upcoming Middle 8s (The Qualifiers) and all but securing a top eight spot for the Vikings.

The Rhinos struck first with Kallum Watkins opening the scoring on seven minutes with Liam Sutcliffe converting for 6-0. Corey Thompson got the Vikings off the mark for 6-4 before tries from Ryan Hall and Joel Moon put the hosts 16-4 ahead. Joe Mellor cut the gap for the visitors for a 16-10 half-time scoreline.

Mitch Garbutt pushed the Rhinos to a 22-10 lead but from there Leeds were hit by a Widnes comeback that saw Patrick Ah Van cross ahead of Rhys Hanbury who also converted to level the game at 22-22. Both sides had 20 minutes to score a winner and the drop goal attempts came as time went on but it was to be a late one from Mellor as he secured the victory with 90 seconds remaining.

Saints Hold Off Wildcats 

St Helens kept up their hopes of catching the top four with a 44-32 win away to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats who missed the chance to confirm a top eight spot.

The hosts struck early with a Jacob Miller try putting them 6-0 ahead before Marc Percival crossed for Saints to make it 6-4. Greg Richards put the visitors ahead at 6-10 before a Tom Johnstone effort levelled the score at 10-10. A brace from Jonny Lomax gave Saints a 10-22 lead before Miller claimed his second try to send the sides into the break at 16-22.

Morgan Knowles crossed to push the Saints' lead to 16-28 before Miller completed his hat-trick for 22-28 but Saints were not to allow the hosts;' to dent the lead further as James Roby went over for 22-34. Wakefield scored back-to-back efforts for the first time all afternoon as Liam Finn and Ben Jones-Bishop closed the gap to 32-34 with Finn missing a chance to level with a conversion.

The miss proved not to be vital as St Helens sealed the win with two scores in the last nine minutes as Jordan Turner and Matty Fleming scored rare tries to wrap up the win.