Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Super League Round 19 Review

After the break for the Challenge Cup last eight, Super League officially returned with Round 19 with the run-in to the Super 8s beginning.

The round opened on Thursday night with a battle at the bottom as Widnes Vikings leapfrogged Leigh Centurions after a 36-10 win.

The Vikings raced into a 10-0 lead inside six minutes with a Chris Houston effort following a self-converted try from Chris Bridge. The Centurions suffered a first half nilling as Corey Thompson crossed before Houston claimed his second try in the final seconds with Bridge converting for 20-0.

Leigh got off the mark ten minutes after the restart as Nick Rawsthorne crossed, Josh Drinkwater converting for 20-6. Thompson claimed his second try with Bridge converting for a 26-6 lead. Leigh hit back through Atelea Vea for 26-10 but Widnes went on to confirm the win with two tries in the final seven minutes from Ryan Ince and Matt Whitley with Danny Craven converting the latter on the hooter.

On Friday night, I travelled to see Huddersfield Giants draw 19-19 with Wigan Warriors.

The Giants opened up a 13-0 lead inside 25 minutes with Leroy Cudjoe and Lee Gaskell crossing for tries which Martyn Ridyard and Danny Brough converted, Brough also kicking a drop goal at 6-0.

Wigan cut the gap to 13-12 into half-time with two tries in three minutes from John Bateman and Liam Marshall, George Williams converting both.

The Warriors went ahead within four minutes of the restart as Marshall claimed his second try with Williams converting for 13-18. A try from Jermaine McGillvary and conversion from Brough edged the Giants ahead at 19-18. The sides drew 16-16 in the reverse meeting and they would share the points again as Williams levelled at 19-19 with a drop goal. Both sides pushed for the win late on including missed drop goal attempts.

Hull FC moved into second spot with a comfortable 40-18 win over Wakefield Trinity.

FC opened up a 10-0 lead with efforts from Jamie Shaul and Fetuli Talanoa and a Marc Sneyd conversion.. Trinity fought back and would go into half-time with a 10-12 lead as James Batchelor and Sam Williams touched down for tries which Liam Finn converted.

A Reece Lyne score within four minutes of the restart saw Finn convert for 10-18. However, FC staged a superb comeback with tries from Jake Connor, Marc Sneyd and a second from Shaul all converted by Sneyd giving them a 28-18 lead with ten minutes to go.

The hosts completed a near perfect second half with two scores in the final five minutes as Mahe Fonua dashed clear ahead of a Jansin Turgut effort, Sneyd converting both to bring up the 40 point mark.

Friday's televised game saw Castleford Tigers move seven points clear at the top with a 23-12 win at Leeds Rhinos.

The Rhinos opened the scoring inside nine minutes through Ash Handley, Liam Sutcliffe converting for 6-0. The Tigers drew level within eight minutes as Greg Eden crossed with Luke Gale converting for 6-6 before adding a penalty goal on 33 minutes for a 6-8 lead into half-time.

Zak Hardaker crossed against his parent club within five minutes of the restart with Gale converting for 6-14 before improving a try from Grant Millington for 6-20. Leeds cut the gap to 12-20 with an Adam Cuthbertson try and Sutcliffe conversion. However, Castleford wrapped up the win with a penalty goal and drop goal in the final nine minutes from Gale. 

The game of the round came as St Helens secured a last-gasp 25-24 win over Salford Red Devils.

Salford took the lead on 11 minutes with a Todd Carney penalty goal before going 8-2 behind as Matty Smith crossed for a try which Marc Percival converted before adding a penalty goal.

The sides went into half-time level as Niall Evalds crossed for a try which Carney improved for 8-8. Salford took control as Greg Johnson and Robert Lui touched down ahead of a second Evalds score with Carney converting twice for a huge 8-24 lead.

The saying goes ' Never Write Off The Saints' and it came to fruition in a stunning late show from the hosts as James Roby, Regan Grace and Jonny Lomax all crossed in a four minute period from the 73rd-77th minutes with Percival levelling at 24-24 with the boot. A draw looked on the cards as the seconds ticked down but an error from Lui proved costly as Saints collected the ball and Smith swept over a drop goal on the hooter from 40+ metres out to seal the win.

The round ended on Saturday afternoon as new Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara suffered an opening 24-16 loss at Warrington Wolves.

A frantic start saw Jodie Broughton cross inside three minutes for the visitors before Benjamin Jullien levelled for the hosts on seven minutes with Kurt Gidley kicking for 6-4. Ryan Atkins increased the lead to 10-4 with a 20th minute try before Richie Myler crossed against his former club with Luke Walsh converting for 10-10.

The Wolves led 12-10 into the interval with a last-gasp penalty from Gidley and he extended the lead with a penalty just before the hour for 14-10. Atkins and Myler (Walsh conv) claimed their second tries for 18-16 with nine minutes to go. Warrington secured the win with a minute to go as André Savelio touched down and Kurt Gidley converted.