Super League Round 20 Reviews
Warrington Wolves 17-6 Wigan Warriors
Warrington Wolves defied their injury troubles to record a 17-6 victory over Wigan Warriors and further cement their top-eight place.
The Wolves have no less than eight first-team squad member sitting on the sidelines through suspension or injury and produced a fine display to get back-to-back wins following their progression in the Challenge Cup.
Wigan, without skipper Sean O’Loughlin, missed the opportunity to close the gap on league leaders Leeds Rhinos and will be left ruing a missed opportunity.
The home side went ahead through a superb piece of individual skill from Richie Meyler when he kicked behind the defensive line with the ball bouncing up, seeing him chip the ball over Matty Bowen to re-gather and score.
Wigan thought they had got a foothold in the game when Joe Burgess touched down in the corner but the try was disallowed when the television match official ruled he was in touch.
Gareth O’Brien added a drop goal to his earlier conversion before Brad Dwyer released Ryan Atkins to race through a gap to score their second try of the game. O’Brien added the extras making it 13-0 at the interval with Wigan looking a team lacking cohesion.
Warrington furthered their advantage when O’Brien threw a dummy and crossed for his side’s third try of the evening. Having failed to make the conversion the scores stood at 17-0 but Wigan were their own worst enemies making uncharacteristic errors right across the field.
Returned Wigan winger Dom Manfredi pulled a try back on 56 minutes when he beat Gene Ormsby for pace – with Bowen landing the conversion but the damage was already done by a dominant Wolves outfit.
Leeds Rhinos 46-18 St Helens
Keiron Cunningham described the performances of some of his senior players as “disgusting” as St Helens crashed to a 46-18 defeat against Leeds Rhinos.
The win for the Rhinos extended their lead at the top to three points in a devastating show of finishing which saw Ash Handley run in a second-half hat-trick.
The tone of the match was set early doors for St Helens when prop Kyle Amor fumbled the ball from the kick-off and although they weather that storm the worst was yet to come.
Kallum Watkins got the opening try when Paul Aiton intercepted a Mark Percival pass turning defence into attack before the youngster got over in the corner. Marking his 250th appearance veteran Kylie Leuluai took Aiton’s pass to crash through the Saints defence after winger Matty Dawson’s handling error.
The forward pack of Leeds did the damage again shortly after which saw Danny McGuire release Ryan Hall to score to see the scoreboard 18-0 in Leeds’ favour.
Jimmy Keinhorst bombed a certain try when he fumbled and Kevin Sinfield couldn’t hit the target with a drop-goal attempt as Leeds looked to apply more pressure. Ash Handley got the first of his three towards to end of the 40 with a half-time score of 22-0 to Leeds.
A shell-shocked St Helens began the second-half in the best possible fashion by getting on the scoresheet within three minutes when Josh Jones crossed.
To give the away side the slightest glimmer of hope Zak Hardaker, on the eve of signing a new four-year deal, was sin-binned for a tackle on Travis Burns.
Even with 12 men Leeds rampaged forward with Carl Ablett and Handley both scoring tries in quick succession the latter after a great break from Watkins.
Jordan Turner and Amor cut the deficit before Handley completed his hat-trick when Rob Burrow and Sinfield combined to get the 19-year-old over the line.
Hall added further salt to an already gaping St Helens’ wound by scoring his second and Sinfield converted a last-minute penalty, adding further gloss to a convincing victory.
Salford Red Devils 18-14 Catalans Dragons
Salford came from 12-0 down to overcome Catalans Dragons 18-14 to keep their slim hopes of a top-eight finish alive.
Ian Watson taking charge in the absence Iestyn Harris on sick leave, gave a debut to Olsi Krasniqi but Adrian Morley, Lama Tasi, Tommy Lee, Cory Paterson were all out injured.
Laurent Frayssinous also had his own injury troubles with Zeb Taia the latest player to join Vincent Duport, Thomas Bosc, Todd Carney, Willie Tonga and Micahel Oldfield in the treatment room. The defeat continues the Dragons’ poor away form and leaves them with still work to do if they are to clinch a top-eight spot.
The home side, who offered free admission to fans which brought 5078 to the ground, couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start when Remi Casty powered his way over after his side had been awarded an early penalty.
Scott Dureau added the conversion and slotted over a second when Louis Anderson ploughed through Theo Fages to make the scores 12-0 and that was the way it stayed until half-time.
Niall Evalds made his mark on the match when he broke past two defenders for his 11th try of the campaign seeing Josh Griffin add the extra two points. The try gave the Red Devils a much needed injection of energy and levelled the game after Krisnan Inu made a mess of Michael Dobson’s high bomb with the former Hull KR half-back profiting with a score.
Dureau edged the away side back into the lead with a penalty but Mason Caton-Brown broke from inside his own half before drawing Tony Gigot and passing to Dobson for his second try of the game.
Huddersfield Giants 32-14 Hull Kingston Rovers
Huddersfield Giants all but secured their place in the top-eight after a 32-14 home victory over Hull Kingston Rovers in deteriorating conditions.
The deserved win for the Giants brought about their third straight win and also saw Danny Brough notch up his 100th career try.
For Rovers the defeat ends a prosperous spell, which had seen them win three games in the league and progress to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup. Fatigue will no doubt have played a part in their defeat with the Robins playing three games within a ten day period.
It took just nine minutes for Huddersfield to score and Brough was the architect when he chased his own kick forcing John Boudebza to spill allowing Michael Lawrence to touchdown – Brough converting from the easiest of angles.
Kris Welham scored on 15 minutes to make it 6-4 but the Giants were in fine form and wasted two chances before they regained the lead after Kevin Larroyer lost possession allowing Aaron Murphy to stroll in.
Hull KR hit back through Albert Kelly when he dived over from on-loan Shaun Lunt’s pass with Josh Mantellato converting from a difficult angle. But it was Huddersfield who had the last points of the opening half after Jamie Ellis put Leroy Cudjoe in for another Giants try which saw Brough convert to make a half-time score of 16-10.
The heavens opened in the second-half and Brough’s kicking game saw the Giants home in abysmal conditions, which made for an error strewn second 40 minutes. Finding the target with a penalty on 45 minutes, Brough then scored his try after he supported a Kyle Wood break to slide across the whitewash.
Jermaine McGillvary and Ukuma Ta’ai both scored tries later in the match before Mantellato bagged a consolation try with seconds remaining.
Castleford Tigers 34-20 Widnes Vikings
Denny Solomona scored a hat-trick as Castleford overcame Widnes Vikings 34-20 to further strengthen their top-four hopes.
The victory for the Tigers saw them guarantee a top-eight finish whilst denting Widnes’ dwindling hopes of a similar finish. The Vikings sit in tenth on 15 points three points from eight placed Hull FC a need to win their remaining three games to stand a chance.
Despite losing Nathan Massey early on in the fixture, Cas got off to a blistering start with Luke Dorn, on his return to the side from injury, showing neat footwork before passing to Solomona for the first of his three. Luke Gale converted the opening score and Dorn picked up another assist from a scrum when he played in Solomona who backed himself against Jack Owens to touch down in the corner.
Jake Webster scampered over from dummy-half on his 150th appearance in the British game to give the Tigers an 18-0 advantage.
Widnes looked shell-shocked and without the leadership of Kevin Brown looked lost in the middle, their cause wasn’t helped when Rhys Hanbury kicked the ball straight out on the full after the restart.
Jack Owens got Widnes’ first try despite appeals for obstruction which saw Webster earn himself a sin-bin for his protestations to referee Joe Cobb. A further Widnes try lessened the deficit when Chris Clarkson crossed the try line from close range but Castleford remained composed.
Three minutes later and Cas scored when Matt Cook took a pass from Luke Gale to score for the 12-men to send the Tigers into the break with a scoreline of 24-10 in their favour.
With storm clouds on the horizon, Justin Carney collected a pin-point kick from Gale to score on the left edge.
Rain began lashing it down at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle and although Cas’ dominance was halted briefly when both Tom Gilmore and Macgraff Leuluai scored they ended with Solomona squeezing into the corner after good combination play from Liam Finn and Webster to give Cas a 34-20 triumph.
Hull FC 31-24 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
Hull FC halted their poor run of form by beating Wakefield 31-24 at the KC Stadium, a result which sees them leapfrog neighbours Hull KR.
The win for Lee Radford’s side addressed a run of four defeats in all competitions to climb back into the top-eight if only on points difference.
Despite the loss Wakefield can take great heart by the way they performed considering they named nine fresh faces in their squad from their win over the same opponents in the last round.
Matty Ashurst, making a return after three months out with a torn groin, made an immediate mark scoring after two minutes on the clock. Jacob Miller, one of five former Hull FC players in the side, kicked the conversion.
Joe Westerman slid his way over in torrential rain to get the Black and Whites off the mark at 6-6 before another returning Hull man did the damage for Wakefield when Jordan Tansey sprinted 80-metres kicking the ball twice to score.
Miller added the two points before Hull began to tick into gear when Jake Logan finished off a move from Steve Michaels with Marc Sneyd, on his return from suspension, unable to convert.
Miller kicked a penalty to give the away side a four point advantage but Michaels bagged a try when he stretched for the line to level the game with Sneyd striking the post from the conversion attempt. A penalty on the hooter saw Sneyd make no mistake as Hull went into the break 16-14 to the good.
Logan secured his brace four minutes into the second-half after Tom Johnstone failed to deal with the danger from a Sneyd kick. Reece Lyne slid in before Mickey Paea then went on a jinking run unbefitting of his stature to carve an opening for full-back Jordan Rankin to score.
Wakefield hit back through Johnstone, who made amends for his earlier error, but Miller missed the critical conversion which would have levelled the game but instead FC had a slim lead 26-24.
Michaels rounded off the performance with a try in the 63rd minute and Sneyd kicked a drop goal to ensure victory for Hull FC.
Published on July 6 2015 for Rugby AM.