Super League Super 8s Round 5 Review
Castleford Tigers 38-42 St Helens
Adam Swift recorded a hat-trick to all end Castleford’s top-four hopes whilst securing St Helens a place in the Super League semi-finals after a 42-38 victory.
The victory for the Saints saw them record back-to-back wins for the first time in the Super 8s phase after their 32-18 win over Leeds Rhinos in the previous round.
The loss for Castleford meant they could have still mathematically reached the final four but that chance was extinguished with Huddersfield’s win over Warrington.
The reigning Super League champions raced into an 18-0 lead with three tries in eight minutes with Adam Swift bagging an early brace and Mark Percival also scoring – with Luke Walsh adding all three conversions.
The Tigers could quite easily have rolled over but to their credit they fought back through Luke Dorn, who gathered Luke Gale’s pass before showing neat footwork to get past Adam Quinlan.
Dorn then reduced the deficit furthermore with another solo try taking him to eighth on the all-time Super League scorers chart. Ben Roberts brought the sides to within two points and Gale kicked the conversion to level the scores at 18-18 going into half-time.
A superb Mike McMeeken break allowed Ben Roberts to finish off putting Cas into the lead for the first time in the fixture. Percival brought Saints back into the game with his second of the contest but a long-range Gale penalty edged his side into the lead once more.
Straight from the restart Roberts gifted Saints the field position with a poor error which they duly took advantage of with two tries in quick succession from Quinlan and Tommy Makinson.
Walsh was as accurate with the boot as ever and despite Denny Solomona replying for the home side, Swift completed his hat-trick late on. Junior Moors’ try in the dying embers of the game was nothing but a consolation.
Wigan Warriors 30-24 Hull FC
Wigan Warriors survived a scare against a severely depleted Hull FC side but managed to prevail with a 30-24 victory at the DW Stadium.
The win for Shaun Wane’s side puts them now level on points at the top of the table going into the two remaining fixtures. But for Hull only pride was on the line and despite the loss the players did their coach proud.
The opening exchange of sets showed Lee Radford his young team, which featured an array of Academy players, were more than ready for the test ahead of them with some good defensive sets.
But as Wigan have shown so often this season their class eventually began to show and the side, back on home soil after their exploits in London, established an 18-0 lead with three tries in a 21 minute spell.
19-year-old Oliver Gildart opened the scoring after neat work from John Bateman and George Williams before the recalled Anthony Gelling flung a superb one-handed pass to send Josh Charnley across the whitewash.
Charney had a try ruled out for a forward pass but Bateman ensured his side extended their lead with a powerful run from close range.
Already without a plethora of first-team members their injury crisis worsened when Tom Lineham was forced off with an eye injury from which he never recovered from.
Described as “mentally weak” by Lee Radford in recent weeks his side didn’t let the scoreline get the better of them and Jamie Shaul raced almost the full length of the field when he scooped up a Wigan fumble.
Jack Logan cut Wigan’s lead when he evaded the tackles of two home defenders before Marc Sneyd slotted over the conversion making it 18-12 at the interval.
Wigan had three tries disallowed by the video ref the last one due to Ben Flower taking out Jordan Abdull preventing him getting back in the defensive line. But Flower made amends for his error when he scored from close range.
Ryan Hampshire opted to take the two points with a penalty with 13 minutes remaining but back hit Hull through Jordan Rankin and Logan for a second for two tries in as many minutes.
Taulima Tautai was sin-binned late on to set up a tense finish but them nerves were allied when Joe Burgess touched down after a move which started in his own half ensuring the win.
Catalans Dragons 46-16 Leeds Rhinos
Catalans Dragons produced their best performance of the season by toppling Leeds Rhinos 46-16 to give a number of departing players a fond final home game farewell.
It was a home game to remember for a number of players moving onto pastures new the likes of Scott Dureau, Elliott Whitehead, Zeb Taia and Benjamin Garcia despite nothing to play for.
The defeat for Leeds sees the side now level of points after Wigan’s victory over Hull FC and sets up a tense final two fixtures in the hunt for the League Leader’s Shield.
Half-back Dureau intercepted a pass early doors before breaking away and feeding his half-back partner Thomas Bosc who scored and converted the opening try in the 15th minute.
Todd Carney was pulling the strings in the middle of the park and it was from his kick that Krisnan Inu grounded the ball, before Carney himself got in on the act with a try of his own taking the score to 18-0 at half-time.
The break didn’t halt the home side’s momentum and they scored again when the NRL-bound Elliott Whitehead played in Bosc for his second of the match.
Inu added another try in bizarre circumstances after Jordan Lilley had completely missed Dureau’s kick and from the restart Carney sent Jordan Sigismeau racing away down the left sideline to score from 70 metres.
It took Leeds until the hour mark to finally register some points coming via Ryan Hall after Joel Moon had made space in the corner. Kevin Sinfield was unable to add the conversion but the French outfit extended their lead through Jeff Lima and Whitehead to all but secure the win.
The Rhinos added late tries from Jamie Peacock, Danny McGuire and Moon but it was too little too late for the club from Yorkshire who were handed their heaviest defeat of the season.
Huddersfield Giants 48-10 Warrington Wolves
Jermaine McGillvary scored four tries as Huddersfield Giants confirmed their place in the semi-finals of Super League with an emphatic 48-10 win over Warrington Wolves at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Giants continued their good end of season form by running in nine tries against a Warrington outfit who look disjointed at best with nothing left to play for.
Ben Westwood was held up over the line early in the clash but it was Huddersfield who recorded the first points of the game when Danny Brough’s long pass out wide allowed Aaron Murphy to cross in the corner.
Things took a turn for the worst for Warrington when they lost both Gary Wheeler and Joel Monaghan to injury and went further behind nearing the half hour mark through McGillvary with Brough dispatching the conversion.
Leroy Cudjoe produced a superb flick pass allowing McGillvary to notch his brace and climb ahead of Joe Burgess in the try scoring charts and saw his side head into the break 18-0 to the good.
The second stanza was barely two minutes old and McGillvary bagged his hat-trick showing great strength to get back Warrington half-back Chris Sandow.
Joe Wardle was put through a gaping hole by Brough to further their advantage but were reduced to ten men after Jake Connor was shown a yellow card. The away side made their numerical advantage count when Ben Westwood got on the scoresheet and not long after, Roy Asotasi barged his way across the whitewash.
Huddersfield were in scintillating form completed the scoring with two more from Murphy, completing his hat-trick, another from McGillvary and Jamie Ellis to lift Huddersfield upto third above St Helens with just two games remaining.
Published on September 14 2015 for Rugby AM.