Monday, 3 July 2017

Super League Round 20 Review

The run in to the end of the regular season is in full swing with just three rounds left until the 8s split after this weekend saw Round 20.

Thursday night's round opener saw Leeds Rhinos edge a 24-22 win over St Helens to move into second spot.

The Saints lost playmaker Matty Smith to injury inside six minutes but opened the scoring through Adam Swift's try on 16 minutes for 0-4 before Joel Moon levelled for the Rhinos just two minutes later,4-4. A penalty from Jordan Lilley just before half-time saw Leeds lead 6-4 at the break.

Stevie Ward crossed within four minutes of the restart with Lilley kicking for 12-4 but Saints hit back quickly with a self converted effort from Tommy Makinson to cut the gap to 12-10. The visitors went ahead as James Roby touched down,Makinson converting for a 12-16 lead.

Leeds took control with Saints having Jon Wilkin sin-binned as Kallum Watkins went over and on Wilkin's return, Ryan Hall went over with Lilley improving both for 24-16. Saints forced a frantic finish with Alex Walmsley's 78th minute try which Makinson converted for 24-22 but were unable secure consecutive comeback victories.

Friday's action saw a battle at the top as Castleford Tigers moved clear by edging a 24-22 win over Hull FC.

A rapid start from FC saw Mahe Fonua cross inside six minutes for 4-0 before a self-converted effort from Luke Gale saw the Tigers lead 6-4 after 11 minutes. A penalty from Gale was swiftly followed by a Mike McMeeken try and Gale conversion for 14-4. The Tigers were in control at half-time as Zak Hardaker went over in the final minute with Gale kicking for 20-4.

Gale added to the lead with a penalty for 22-4 before a second try from Fonua saw Marc Sneyd convert for 22-10. Gale made it six goals with another penalty for 24-10 with ten minutes to go but a five minute brace from Fetuli Talanoa saw Sneyd convert to set up a tight finish which saw the Tigers just about hold on for the win.

Saturday's televised action saw Catalans Dragons come from behind to claim a 40-36 win over Leigh Centurions.

Leigh raced into an 0-18 lead inside the opening quarter with tries from Matty Dawson, Danny Tickle and Ben Renyolds with Renyolds converting all three. Catalans stemmed the Leigh spree with scores from Jodie Broughton and Mickael Simon with Luke Walsh converting both for 12-18 but a brace late in the half from Sam Hopkins saw Renyolds convert once for 12-28 into half-time.

The Dragons cut the gap with two scores in three minutes as Simon claimed his second try ahead of a Vincent Duport try, Walsh converting once for 22-28. A self-converted second-try from Renyolds moved Leigh clear at 22-34. Catalans cut the gap through Sam Moa (Walsh conv) for 28-34 and drew level with ten minutes to go as Justin Horo touched down with Walsh kicking for 34-34.

Leigh regained the lead with six minutes to go via a penalty from Renyolds for 34-36 but they were stunned in the final minute as Julian Bousquet crossed and Walsh kicked to seal the win for the Dragons.

Saturday evening saw Wakefield Trinity continue their push for the top four with a 26-12 win over Warrington Wolves.

The hosts opened up a slim 2-0 lead after eight minutes with a penalty goal from Liam Finn before the visitors took the lead through Brad Dwyer on 12 minutes with Stefan Ratchford converting for 2-6 .

Trinity regained the lead with a try from Bill Tupou which Finn converted before adding a penalty goal four minutes later for a 10-6 lead. Wakefield increased their lead just before half-time as Ben Jones-Bishop crossed for 14-6.

A try from Kyle Wood ten minutes after the restart saw Finn convert to open up a 20-6 advantage which was cut to 20-12 within five minutes as Chris Hill went over and Ratchford converted. Wakefield confirmed the win five minutes from the end as Mason Caton-Brown crossed with Finn converting.

Sunday afternoon saw Salford Red Devils move into second spot with a 36-20 victory over Huddersfield Giants.

The Giants opened the scoring with six minutes played as Leroy Cudjoe touched down with Danny Brough converting for 0-6. Salford responded with three scores in five minutes, Junior Sa'u, Robert Lui and Kris Welham all crossing with Michael Dobson converting for 18-6. Hudds cut the gap just before half time with an effort from Aaron Murphy for 18-10 at the interval.

Another Salford spree began with two tries within nine minutes of the restart, Sa'u crossing for his second try ahead of a score from Gareth O'Brien for a 26-10 lead that soon became 36-10 with Greg Johnson and Ben Murdoch-Masila crossing and Dobson adding a conversion. Hudds cut the gap to 36-14 with an effort from Kruise Leeming before Darnell McIntosh finished off a stunning play in the 78th minute with Brough converting.

My attendance this week saw a return to the DW Stadium on Sunday as Wigan Warriors ended their winless streak with a 28-12 win over Widnes Vikings.

The Warriors went ahead with a try from Sean O'Loughlin on his 350th SL appearance with George Williams converting for 6-0. Two quick tries before half-time for the hosts saw Tony Clubb score on his comeback from kidney removal and Lewis Tierney cross with Williams converting once for 16-0. Widnes avoided a first half blank with a self-converted try from Lloyd White  just before the interval for 16-6.

Widnes cut the gap to 16-12 just before the hour as White crossed and converted for a second time but a five minute brace from Joe Burgess saw Williams convert twice to end the Warriors' winless run.