Sunday, 4 September 2016

Super 8s Round Four Review

Vikings Stun Warriors

Wigan Warriors' hopes of claiming top spot were dented by an 8-6 defeat last night to Widnes Vikings at the DW Stadium.

The last meeting between the sides saw Wigan edge a 7-0 win at Widnes and with the two sides currently the second and third worst attacking in the Super 8s, a night of strong defence was to be expected. Widnes opened the scoring after ten minutes as Corey Thompson was left wide open to cross in the corner and after a video referral, Widnes led 0-4.

Lloyd White was unable to convert as he was for a second score from Thompson on the half hour mark which was also subject to a video referral. Wigan looked a shadow of the side that nilled St Helens a fortnight ago and at the interval they were half way to a nilling themselves at 0-8.

Wigan got off the mark with a clever move resulting in Liam Farrell crossing, Jake Shorrocks converted in the absence of Matty Smith who missed the game due to illness but he was clearly missed in a Wigan attack that looked fruitless. Widnes paid the penalty of two team warnings with Jack Buchanan and Connor Farrell sent to the sin-bin.

Even two men light, Widnes looked the better of the two sides but as the game entered the final stages, Wigan were awarded three penalties in front of the sticks but decided to tap rather than level the game with a kick at goal. The choices proved to be costly as the Warriors threw to touch on the final set leaving Widnes to celebrate a surprise win and the home fans to wonder why Shaun Wane and the team chose not to claim a draw.

Classy Cas Trounce Trinity

Castleford Tigers eased to a 46-22 win over neighbours Wakefield Trinity Wildcats with Denny Solomona running in a superb hat-trick.

The Tigers winger opened the scoring inside six minutes for 4-0 before Reece Lyne crossed to draw the visitors level at 4-4. Rangi Chase claimed the first try of his current Tigers stint with Luke Gale converting for a 10-4 lead. Solomona completed a 16 minute hat-trick with two further tries which Gale improved for a 22-4 lead.

Wakefield remained in the hunt as Tom Johnstone marked his return from injury with a 27th minute effort. However, Castleford would go into the interval with a 26 point lead as Luke Dorn and Paul McShane crossed with Gale kicking his his fourth and fifth conversions for 34-8.

Wakefield's hopes of a comeback started early with Bill Tupou touching down within three minutes of the restart for 34-12 but Jake Webster went over with Gale kicking to bring up the 40 point mark at 40-12. Castleford's defence has been an issue this season and Wakefield broke through twice in three minutes after the hour mark as Nick Scruton crossed ahead of Johnstone's second for 40-22.

The gloss on the Tigers win came as Luke Gale crossed for a try of his won in the final five minutes which he converted for a personal 18 point haul as the Tigers closed upon fifth spot. 

Saints Stroll To Hand Hull FC Hangover 

St Helens closed the gap to rivals Wigan Warriors in third with a comfortable 31-10 win over a Hull FC side who suffered a hangover from last weekend's Challenge Cup success.

Hull FC made seven changes from their Wembley win but the depth of their squad paid off early as Mahe Fonua crossed inside three minutes with Curtis Naughton converting for 0-6. St Helens battled back with two tries in as many minutes with Jack Owens and Matt Fleming crossing with Owens converting once for a 10-6 lead which they held into the interval.

Atelea Vea boosted the hosts' lead just ten minutes after the restart and with Owens on good kicking form, they led 16-6. Hull FC responded with Sika Manu touching down but a missed kick from Naughton left the gap at one score at 16-10. Owens sent over a penalty goal for 18-10 before Vea claimed his second try to seal the win for the Saints at 24-10.

However, they were far from finished as Jordan Turner swept over a drop goal a couple of minutes later before Owens completed a superb performance with his second try four minutes from the end.

Currie Crushes Dragons Hopes 

Warrington Wolves left it late to move atop the Super 8s table as they secured a 26-22 win over Catalans Dragons.

The Wolves fielded a changed side from their Wembley upset and one of the incoming players gave them an early lead as Declan Patton crossed for the opening try inside seven minutes before converting for 0-6. A superb move saw Stefan Ratchford pick out Kevin Penny who raced over with Patton improving for 0-12. Catalans were unable to avoid a first half nilling as Patton claimed his second try in the final minute and converted for an 0-18 lead at the break.

Catalans got off the mark through Vincent Duport before former Wolves half Richie Myler crossed with Tony Gigot converting for 12-18 but a Patton penalty goal made it 12-20 as the game began to heat up.

Warrington were pegged back by superb seven minute spree from the Dragons with Benjamin Garcia crossing ahead of two penalties from Gigot as the hosts took a 22-20 lead. Another score was sure to come in such a tense match and it did with three minutes left on the clock as Ben Currie sealed the win for the Wolves with Patton kicking the conversion.