Super League Round 21 Review
Wigan Warriors 26-24 Leeds Rhinos
Matty Smith kicked a late penalty to ensure Wigan Warriors beat league leaders Leeds Rhinos 26-24 to close the gap at the top with two games remaining.
Wigan welcomed back captain Sean O’Loughlin who was instrumental in securing their 10th consecutive win at the DW Stadium.
It was Leeds who got the first converted score of the evening when Paul Aiton scampered over from dummy half after a Danny McGuire break.
The home side hit back with two converted tries of their own when Joe Burgess superbly kicked the ball infield on the left seeing the supporting Liam Farrell collect the ball and race in to the left of the posts. O’Loughlin then barged his way over three minutes later when he collected Matty Smith’s pass with Kallum Watkins unable to prevent him grounding the ball.
Adam Cuthbertson, whose offloads were caused havoc, playing a key role in Leeds’ next score when his pass into the hands of substitute Brad Singleton, saw the youngster crash over the line, with Kevin Sinfield levelling the.
McGuire had a try chalked off for an obstruction decision before Wigan regained their advantage just before half-time. Matty Bowen gathering a George Williams’ high kick seeing Smith add the extras for an 18-12 score going into the interval.
Recalled winger Josh Charnley furthered their lead when his touched down Smith’s accurate kick after a superb solo run from Bowen had given the Warriors’ good field position.
Ash Handley cut the deficit to six when he scored before Rob Burrow scored a trademark weaving run to cross with just three minutes remaining – with Sinfield kicking both tries.
Aiton then gifted Wigan the chance for the two points when he was penalised for obstruction which Smith duly took advantage off scoring and winning the match 26-24.
St Helens 35-34 Huddersfield Giants
Adam Quinlan marked his Super League debut with a first-half hat-trick to help St Helens record a 35-34 victory over Huddersfield Giants.
The win for St Helens sees the club come within a point of Leeds at the top of the table and for Huddersfield it sees a run of three consecutive wins come to an end in the narrowest of circumstances.
Despite the Giants never being in front throughout the game they hit back to level the scores no less than five times and will feel aggrieved not to have left Langtree Park with a point at least.
Quinlan, who became the seventh Saints player to adopt the full-back role, opened his Super League account when he collected a ricochet off Scott Grix. The former Paramatta Ells player was again in the right place at the right time when Andre Savelio’s offload fell perfectly for him to grab his second with Luke Walsh adding both conversions.
Jack Hughes managed to plant the ball over the try line in a two-man tackle before Jermaine McGillvary gathered a Grix grubber kick in two quick replies for the Giants.
But 22-year-old Quinlan made sure his side went into the break ahead when he completed his hat-trick supporting James Roby’s break.
The game was levelled for the third time five minutes into the second-half when Leroy Cudjoe threw a dummy to cross for his 99th career try.
Mark Percival, reverting back to his centre position, scored his first try penetrating the Giants’ defence for his side’s fourth try of the game to give them a 24-18 advantage.
In a frantic game, back came Huddersfield but immense defence from Saints saw both Craig Kopczak and Kyle Wood held up over the line. Their defences were breached shortly after when Grix’s long pass got McGillvary over for his second try of the encounter to restore parity once again.
Joe Greenwood scored after Roby’s short pass and they looked to have won the game when Percival gathered Walsh’s pass. Walsh missed the first conversion of the night but his side still had a scoreline of 34-24 in their favour.
Eorl Crabtree and Aaron Murphy forced their way over to set up a grandstand finish but Walsh remained calm and slotted over a drop-goal two minutes from the end to give Saints a 35-34 win.
Widnes 29-22 Catalans Dragons
Widnes ended their five-game losing run in all competitions after overcoming Catalans Dragons 29-22 at the Stobart Stadium.
Catalans had threatened to end their dreadful away form when they raced into a 12-0 lead thanks to tries from Louis Anderson and Elliott Whitehead.
After a poor opening 15 from Widnes, they soon clicked into gear and got a much needed score when Patrick Ah Van dived in at the corner with Stefan Marsh converting from a tight angle.
Tom Gilmore, standing in for skipper Kevin Brown, then brought the sides level with a great solo try chipping the ball over the defensive line before grounding the ball.
Gilmore again played a part in Widnes gaining the lead two minutes before the break which ended with Paddy Flynn finished off a flowing move. Marsh added the extras to give them an 18-12 half-time advantage with the game swinging in favour of the home side.
Flynn again was the scorer to further his side’s lead when he shrugged off the Catalans’ defenders to cross for his second of the game.
Gilmore added a penalty and slotted over a drop goal to see Catalans needing three scores to win. Ah Van grabbed his brace when he touched down Gilmore’s neat kick and late tries from Whitehead and Morgan Escare made the scoreline more respectable for the French outfit.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 20-40 Warrington Wolves
Jacob Miller scored four tries in vein as Wakefield Trinity Wildcats were undone 20-40 against Warrington Wolves.
The win for Tony Smith’s side overcoming his brothers club saw them guarantee a top-eight finish whilst remaining in the hunt for a top four spot.
The Wolves took an early lead which they never looked like relinquishing when Stefan Ratchford, playing loose forward, supported a break by Chris Hill to score seeing Gareth O’Brien kick the extras.
Joe Philbin was gifted a try by Jordan Tansey as the former Castleford man looked to offload near his line. Wakefield responded through Miller who scored from close range but full-back Matty Russell and Ben Westwood furthered Wolves’ lead.
Miller scored his second when he weaved through no less than four Warrington players for a fantastic solo effort to make it 10-22 in favour of the visitors at the interval.
The break did little to dampen the mood of Miller who continued where he left off by scoring his hat-trick from close-range. But Warrington hit back with two tries in as many minutes through Daryl Clark and Catalans-bound Richie Myler.
The Wildcats, to their credit, didn’t roll over with Michael Sio and Scott Anderson going close before Miller scored his fourth of the game.
Warrington had the last word when Russell scored his brace scampering hi way through a tiring defence four minutes from the end.
Salford Red Devils 31-18 Hull Kingston Rovers
Salford Red Devils produced a superb second-half comeback against Hull Kingston Rovers to make it a winning start for Tim Sheens as their new director of rugby.
The hosts were trailing 18-4 at half-time but rallied and ran in five tries without reply denting Rovers’ hopes of a top-eight finish in the process.
It was Rovers who got off the mark quickest with the influential Albert Kelly sending stand-in captain Tyrone McCarthy over after just three minutes and Josh Mantellato added the conversion.
The away side were their own worst enemy when ill-discipline saw them concede back-to-back penalties which Salford duly took advantage of with Ben Jones-Bishop scoring in the corner.
Rovers had a succession of penalties on the Salford line but failed to breach their defence with five sets with ball in hand.
With nine minutes to the break Kelly found space to score under the posts with Mantellato adding the extras.
The Robins were then on the receiving end of numerous penalties which saw the side placed on a team warming before Kevin Larroyer was sin-binned for holding down. Despite being a man down Kelly notched his 15th Super League try of the season just before the break to make it 18-4 to Chris Chester’s men.
The Red Devils needed to start the second-half well if they were to have any chance of getting something out of the game and did exactly that. Cory Paterson’s pass allowed Josh Griffin to score after they had lost Jordan Walne to injury.
The momentum swung in the favour of the Red Devils when a kick rebounded off Liam Salter into the path of Weller Hauraki to slice the deficit with Dobson’s conversion being good. Theo Fages then put Jones-Bishop over his second of the game to level proceedings.
Mantellato missed a late penalty, much to the disbelieve of the travelling Rovers fans, before Salford sealed the win with late tries from Hauraki and Niall Evalds.
Hull FC 21-18 Castleford Tigers
Hull FC boosted their chances of reaching the Super 8s with a 21-18 victory over in-form Castleford Tigers at the KC Stadium.
The Tigers looked on course for their first win in their last four outings in West Hull when they lead 14-6 at the break but Hull hit back to end Cas’ five-game winning run.
Daryl Powell’s men, missing through illness their lynchpin Luke Gale, opening the scoring through Denny Solomona after just six minutes but Liam Finn was unable to convert.
Back hit Hull when veteran Richard Whiting scored after an initial 40-metre break from Steve Michaels gave the black and whites good field position. They capitalised a few plays later with Whiting crossing and Sneyd converting against his former loan club.
Jake Webster and Luke Dorn combined with the latter getting the Tigers back into the lead after 18 minutes with Finn making it 10-6 with a successful conversion attempt.
Six minutes from half-time Cas were well in the ascendency as Solomona scored his brace to add to Hull’s troubles going into the break 14-6 to Cas.
Hull, no doubt with the words of Lee Radford ringing in their ears, emerged full of energy and pegged Castleford back when Jordan Abdull forced his way over and Sneyd cut the gap to two points.
Danny Houghton was held up over the line as Hull pressed for the lead and the try eventually came through Warrington-bound Tom Lineham when his acrobatics saw him ground the ball in the corner.
Sneyd’s conversion opened up a two-point lead and this was furthered when Lineham again did the damage to score.
Despite Sneyd missing the conversion he kicked a drop goal to leave Cas needing two tries to win the match.
Ben Roberts found his way over when he spun in the tackle from close-range with Leon Pryce being shown a yellow-card for protesting to the referee.
Despite their numerical advantage for the remaining minutes Cas couldn’t find another opening a succumbed to a 21-18 defeat.
Published on July 13 2015 for Rugby AM.