Super League Super 8s Round 2 Review
Castleford Tigers 17-16 Warrington Wolves
Liam Finn kicked a late drop-goal to ensure Castleford remain in the hunt for a top four spot after edging out Warrington Wolves 17-16 on Thursday night.
The two points for Castleford momentarily lifted them into fourth putting all the pressure on Huddersfield to beat Catalans the day after. For Warrington their hopes of reaching the Semi-finals of the Super 8s look slim with the club six points behind.
The result was a stark contrast to the last time the teams met less than three weeks ago with Warrington hammering the Tigers 44-6 in the regular season.
Justin Carney opened the scoring finishing off a free-flowing move from right to left to bag his 16th try of the Super League season. Luke Gale converted the try to establish a six point advantage and this was furthered when Michael Shenton, who scored four tries against Hull last round, cut through the Wolves defence.
Gale missed the conversion but the home side looked good value for their 10-0 lead but Warrington had other ideas and hit back through Richie Meyler with Chris Sandow adding the extras. Gale notched over a penalty to ensure his side maintained their ten point lead going into the interval.
Cas extended their lead early in the second-half when Carney fended off the defensive tackle of Rhys Evans to score in the corner. Gale struck the posts with his conversion attempt but the side thought they had killed the game off when Ashley Gibson went in – only for the officials to spot a foot in touch.
The visitors were gifted a lifeline ten minutes from time when Liam Finn’s kick bounced up into the clutches of Meyler who streaked away 90 metres to score.
Sandow, who has endured a mixed time of late in Super League, couldn’t convert but after Gale missed a drop-goal attempt the Australian did level the scores when he added the extras after Kevin Penny had crossed in the corner.
Three minutes remained and the scores were locked but Finn was the hero for Cas keeping his cool to fire over the one pointer.
St Helens 22-32 Hull FC
Curtis Naughton scored a hat-trick as Hull FC overcame an 18-6 deficit to beat reigning Super League champions St Helens 32-22 at Langtree Park.
The win for Hull keeps their chances of reaching the top four alive but it remains a tall order whilst the defeat for Saints means they have now lost the last three games and further lost ground on Leeds Rhinos at the top.
Both sides were missing key men but it was Hull who started brightly with both Tom Lineham and Naughton going close early doors.
Despite some resilient defence from Saints, Hull couldn’t get the crucial breakthrough and we’re left to rue their missed chances when Luke Thompson scored his third of the season. But the Black and Whites hit back when Marc Sneyd intercepted Travis Burns’ pass to race away before sending Naughton over.
With the scores levelled with both kickers converting, Saints regained the lead with two tries in quick succession. First Adam Swift added another try to his tally before James Roby took a pass from Josh Jones to score to give what the hosts thought was a healthy 18-6 lead.
With the words of Lee Radford still ringing in the player’s ears Hull immediately hit back through Lineham for his 22nd try of the year when he finished off after Jordan Rankin’s long pass.
The Airlie Birds cut the gap to just two points after 53 minutes when Joe Westerman powered his way over with Sneyd converting before Jamie Shaul raced onto the half-back’s kick to touch down.
Naughton grabbed his brace when Matthew Fleming fumbled a kick on his own in goal with the winger quickest to react and ground the ball. Naughton completed his hat-trick when he picking up a poor Mark Flanagan kick to race away.
Mark Percival scored a mere consolation late on but the damage was already done as Saints were beaten 32-22 on home soil.
Leeds Rhinos 25-18 Wigan Warriors
Leeds Rhinos extended their lead at the top of the Super 8s table with a 25-18 victory over second-placed Wigan Warriors at Headlingley.
Leeds came into the game without Paul Aiton who suffered a broken arm in their last game but both teams had a good run of form heading into this clash.
Danny McGuire gave the home side an early third minute lead after much deliberation from the video ref but he ruled that the veteran had stayed in touch. But back hit Wigan almost instantly when Tom Briscoe made a mess of George Williams’ kick with Liam Farrell quickest to react and ground the ball.
Matty Smith couldn’t match his goal kicking counterpart so Leeds held a slender 6-4 lead after the opening ten minutes.
Joel Moon gave Leeds some breathing room when he scored with Kevin Sinfield adding the extra two points before he was kicked a penalty after Joel Tomkins had caught Stevie Ward.
Mitch Achurch, who was making his first appearance since Magic Weekend, didn’t have the return he would have wanted and was stretched off with head injury causing a fifteen minute delay.
After the break in play Wigan were awarded three penalties in succession but miserly Leeds defence kept out the Warriors. Left to rue their missed opportunity Wigan were made to pay as Ryan Hall scored a minute before the break again after deliberation by the video referee.
Shaun Wane’s side did make a breakthrough just before the hour mark when Farrell crossed for his second of the match when he scampered his way over from dummy-half.
Any comeback was diminishing with every passing minute so when Kallum Watkins scored Wigan’s hopes were almost over. Zak Hardaker added to their misery with a drop-goal before John Bateman and Dom Manfredi scored consolation tries late on.
Huddersfield Giants 24-12 Catalans Dragons
Huddersfield regained their fourth spot with a 24-12 victory over Catalans Dragons at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Giants dropped down to fifth spot with Castleford beating Warrington so the pressure was on to get the two points and the side found themselves under the cosh early on.
Krisnan Inu just failed to reach Scott Dureau’s grubber kick in the third but their pressure did tell on the back of the returning Todd Carney’s 40-20. This gave the French side good field position and they duly took advantage when the unmarked Willie Tonga scored.
Tonga turned from hero to zero when he dropped a high kick allowing Jack Hughes, who has signed a deal with Warrington, to pounce getting the home side back in the game.
The try was the foothold Huddersfield needed and they took charge towards the end of the half with tries from Aaron Murphy and Jermaine McGillvary for a 16-6 half-time lead.
Danny Brough punished Catalans when they were found guilty of holding down in the tackle and the Scot kicked the resulting penalty.
In the 58th minute Morgan Escare appeared to block the run of Aaron Murphy by the away dugout which the two squared up to about.
Brough edged the lead to 20-6 with another penalty for interference and despite the game getting scrappy McGillvary scored his second after a solo run past Escare seven minutes from time.
Carney crossed for a late try but the clock was against Catalans as their poor away form continued.
Published on August 17 2015 for Rugby AM.