Super League Round 22 Review
Warrington Wolves 14-20 St Helens
Jordan Turner scored a late try to move St Helens momentarily top of the table after a hard fought 20-14 win over Warrington Wolves on Thursday night.
It was the second game in succession that Saints left it late for the win after a last gasp drop-goal saw the side beat Huddersfield 35-34 the previous week.
St Helens, who brought back Jon Wilkin into the side, lost their skipper early on with a thumb injury which he never returned from. Despite this setback James Roby dived over from close range on 14 minutes for the first try of the game.
In a game littered with penalties Luke Walsh made the most of a Warrington infringement and proceeded to establish an 8-0 lead.
Ryan Atkins spurred a good opportunity seeing his pass to Gene Ormsby go straight into touch and Anthony England had a try disallowed for a forward pass. Three minutes later and disappointment turned into joy when Ben Currie took Stefan Ratchford’s pass to cross.
Gareth O’Brien converted to cut the deficit to two points going into the interval in a half which contained sixteen penalties.
Walsh threw a speculative pass which Kevin Penny intercepted to race away which again O’Brien converted to put the Wolves ahead 12-8. The lead lasted all of five minutes as the towering stature of Mose Masoe saw him barge his way under the sticks to restore the away side’s advantage.
Joe Philbin would have scored if it wasn’t for Turner knocking the ball out of his grasp but O’Brien levelled the game when he kicked a penalty for a ball steal.
Saints won the game late on when a break from Adam Quinlan from his own half saw his new side switch the ball to the left allowing Turner to score with Walsh kicking his fourth goal for all two points.
Leeds Rhinos 70-6 Salford Red Devils
Zak Hardaker scored 26 points on his return from suspension helping Leeds Rhinos rout Salford Red Devils 70-6 at Headlingley Stadium to return to the top of the table.
Leeds dropped to second place following the win for St Helens but returned to the summit in the most impressive of fashions scoring 13 tries in the process.
For Salford it puts an end to their two game winning run, abruptly halting their upturn in form seeing them settle for a place in the Middle 8s.
Both sides were missing key men with Leeds resting record point-scorer Kevin Sinfield and Salford seeing Rangi Chase fail to recover from a recent back injury.
The tone of the game was set as early as the seventh minute when Danny McGuire found a way to score his 12th try of the season before Salford began to crumble.
Adam Cuthbertson swiftly followed by Kallum Watkins both scored before Adrian Morley was sent to the sin-bin. This didn’t help proceedings and with Leeds in devastating finishing form, Brett Delaney, Zak Hardaker, Ryan Hall and Joel Moon all crossed before half-time as they averaged a point a minute.
Salford’s leading try scorer and former Leeds Rhino Ben Jones-Bishop almost got his side on the scoresheet but his try didn’t stand with Junior Sau’u throwing a forward pass in the build-up.
Leeds got back to their try scoring ways literally seconds after when Ash Handley broke free before assisting Hardaker in his second try of the fixture.
Niall Evalds grabbed a mere consolation try for the visitors but further tries from Hall, Jimmy Keinhorst, Josh Walters and a brace from Carl Ablett saw the Rhinos emerge as resounding victors.
Hull Kingston Rovers 12-22 Hull FC
Hull FC all but ended the hopes of Hull KR achieving a top-eight finish with a 20-12 victory at the KC Lightstream Stadium on Friday night.
The win for the Black and Whites certainly was hard-fought having lost Leon Pryce and Gareth Ellis to serious looking injuries.
The Robins, will now look to maintain their Super League status in the league spilt, were given a boost prior to kick-off with Albert Kelly fit enough to partake in the game but his enthusiasm couldn’t stop their rivals earning the win.
It was the home side that struck first when Shaun Lunt saw a gap from close-range and dived over for an early try. By this point Leon Pryce had been taken off after falling heavily on his shoulder to be replaced by Jordan Abdull.
Marc Sneyd then put his mark on the game with a pinpoint kick to the corner which saw Steve Michaels ground superbly. But Rovers will point to a shoulder charge on Kelly from Liam Watts in the previous set which went unpunished.
Albert Kelly’s high kick caused panic in the Hull defence allowing Kris Welham to take the ball before offloading to Josh Mantellato, who touched down, and converted his own try.
Gareth Ellis then went down under no pressure before leaving the field with a suspected snapped Achilles injury which would rule him out for the remainder of the season.
Hull struck back twice just before half-time with the departing Tom Lineham getting both despite a suspiciously forward looking pass in the build-up to one try – seeing Sneyd add both extras from a difficult angle as the hooter went.
Lee Radford’s side furthered their advantage on 53 minutes when Ken Sio lost the ball in a collision with Michaels before he gathered the ball and dived over for his brace. Sneyd’s third goal saw the cross-city side open up a ten point lead and didn’t look like losing the game from that moment forth.
Tony Puletua, who was one of Rovers’ better players, did his upmost to ground the ball but was held up over the line.
Hull could have made the scoreline more favourable with Lineham and Jack Logan going close but they saw the game out to record a 22-12 win securing their place in their Super 8s.
Wigan Warriors 20-10 Widnes Vikings
Wigan maintained their push for a top-two finish with a narrow 20-10 win over Widnes Vikings who themselves have to settle for a place in the Middle 8s.
This was anything but a comfortable victory for Shaun Wane and his Wigan boys who had to wait till the last ten minutes to secure the win through late tries from Ryan Hampshire and Anthony Gelling.
Denis Betts’ side have a rotten record at the DW Stadium having not won there since 2003 and that record didn’t look like being rectified when Josh Charnley, who kept his place in the side, was put in for a try by Hampshire early on.
Tom Gilmore, who earned rave reviews last week filing in for the injured Kevin Brown, was released after good work from Aaron Heremaia and Rhys Hanbury seeing the half-back score.
Gilmore then turned provider when he put in Chris Dean through a gaping hole in the Warriors defence to score after 34 minutes with the scoreline 10-4 in the Vikings’ favour.
Widnes looked to be heading into half-time with a lead but Wigan had other ideas. Gelling’s grubber kick was hacked forward by Joe Burgess with the Sydney Roosters-bound wingers able to pick up the ball and score.
Matty Smith added the two point conversion with the game locked at 10-10 a piece going into the interval.
Patrick Ah Van went agonisingly close to scoring but fine defence from Charnley forced his opposite number into touch. Gelling then had a chance to score but again solid defence from Joe Mellor and Dean meant the Wigan man was unable to ground the ball.
Ah Van looked to have got Widnes back into the lead but referee Phil Bentham ruled he had knocked on.
Wigan then responded when Gelling and Burgess combined before the winger offloaded to the supporting Hampshire to score. The result was confirmed when Gelling touched down as Widnes threw caution to the wing in a last-gasp attempt to gain anything out of the game.
Catalans Dragons 12-14 Huddersfield Giants
Huddersfield kept their hopes of a top-four finish alive with a narrow 14-12 victory in the South of France against Catalans Dragons.
The defeat for Catalans means they are virtually guaranteed a Super 8 spot baring a 72 point swing in favour of Hull KR.
The return to home soil will have been a welcome return for Laurent Frayssinous’s side who have lost three times on the road but the quality of the game was poor was errors aplenty.
The game was just two minutes old when Elliott Whitehead suffered a head injury tackling Ukuma Ta’ai which, after ten minutes treatment, saw the Dragons player stretchered off.
The Giants took the lead just before the half hour mark when Jamie Ellis fed Leroy Cudjow who attracted the Catalans defence before offloading to Jermaine McGillvary who scored on the right flank – Ellis added the extras.
As Huddersfield looked to be heading for a half-time lead Danny Brough was sent to the sin-bin for reacting to a tackle. Catalans made their numerical advantage pay as Krisnan Inu grounded Morgan Escare’s kick allowing Scott Dureau to level the game.
The French side then went into the lead with Inu breaking from inside his own half following a Joe Wardle error before releasing Escare who scored under the sticks.
The return of Brough saw an instant fightback as the Giants attacked down the right with Scott Grix finding McGillvary who picked up his brace.
Ellis converted to restore parity once again and five minutes later kicked a penalty to give the away side a slender advantage.
Dureau had a chance from the tee to convert his side’s own penalty but it drifted wide of the mark as Huddersfield held on to become only the second team to beat Catalans at the Stade Gilbert Brutus in 2015.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 20-58 Castleford Tigers
Justin Carney scored four tries as Castleford routed local rivals Wakefield Trinity Wildcats to keep alive their bid for a top-four finish.
Both sides welcomed back key men with Castleford able to turn to the services of Luke Gale who was instrumental in their victory. Whilst Wakefield had Tim Smith back at their disposal from a three-match absence with a knee injury.
Smith made his mark on the game as early as the fifth minute when his grubber kick was grounded by Reece Lyne but in truth Carney should have dealt with the danger, with former Castleford player Joe Arundel converted for a 6-0 lead.
Two quick tries in succession for Cas but them into the lead, first Grant Millington showed good footwork to bounce away from three defenders to cross before Gale kicked forward a loose pass to score.
Brian Smith had to reshuffle his side when Kevin Locke was forced off with a serious looking shoulder injury. The change meant Jacob Miller had to revert to full-back and drew level when Anthony Walker crashed over from close-range.
In-form Denny Solomona had been taken from the field with an injury but the Tigers did go into the sheds ahead when Mike McMeeken twisted his body in the tackle over the line to ground.
A devastating opening 12 minutes of the second-half saw Cas well and truly stamp their authority on the match. A break from deep inside their own-half saw Michael Shenton play in Oliver Holmes who had supported the play.
Luke Gale provided the next assist as his pass to Luke Dorn saw the full-back flick a dummy to slice through the Wildcats defence for another try. Carney bagged two tries with the right flank to put his side in the ascendancy at 40-12.
Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone crossed for two tries of his own in the space of five minutes as the Wildcats demonstrated some of their fighting qualities but in truth the damage was already done.
Carney completed his hat-trick eight minutes from full-time and gathered another pin-point pass from Gale for his fourth with Dorn also scoring late on to round off a comprehensive victory.
Published on July 20 2015 for Rugby AM.