Super League Super 8s Round 6 Review
Leeds Rhinos 22-29 Castleford Tigers
An inspired Luke Gale performance ensured the race for the league leaders’ shield goes down to the final weekend as Castleford Tigers beat Leeds Rhinos 29-22 at Headingley.
The defeat for Leeds further backed up evidence of a Challenge Cup hangover which has seen them now lose the last three games since their Wembley appearance against Hull Kingston Rovers.
The away side raced into a 12-0 lead after eight minutes to stun the Leeds home support. Gale, who came through the Academy ranks at Leeds but failed to make the first-team, opened the scoring when he combined with Grant Millington to score.
Denny Solomona scored his 18th try of the season after good work from skipper Michael Shenton as the visitors raced into a 12 point advantage.
Leeds hit back through Ryan Hall who leapt highest to gather Kevin Sinfield’s kick to the corner. Joel Moon then got the home side right back into proceedings when he scored after Danny McGuire’s kick.
Given belief having been 12-0 down, Leeds went into the lead when Hall barged his way past Ashley Gibson to touch down for his brace.
But back hit Cas just before half-time through Luke Dorn, despite claims of obstruction which were waved away, to give a half-time score of 16-16.
The game swung in the favour of the Tigers when the influential Sinfield limped off seven minutes into the second-half. Things got even worse for the Challenge Cup winners when Matt Cook produced a superb clean break allowing Gale to finish off for his second try of the game.
Then in a contender for try of the weekend Ben Roberts jinked past Mitch Garbutt to race clear before passing to Gale who flicked a brilliant inside pass back to Roberts who scored just to the left of the posts.
Adam Cuthbertson showed great willingness to barge his way over to give the home support hope in the 52nd minute and had further tries go a begging when both Brad Singleton and Cuthbertson were held up over the line.
Leeds tried their hardest but uncharacteristic errors were their downfall and the game was over as a contest when Roberts slotted over a drop-goal late on.
St Helens 18-14 Wigan Warriors
Reigning Super League champions St Helens left it late to record a dramatic 18-14 victory over Wigan Warriors to blow the race for the top spot wide open.
Operating at stand-off, in the absence of the injured Travis Burns, Jordan Turner had an early try chalked off for obstruction in a bruising opening ten minutes.
Joel Tomkins, who could have been running out at Twickenham for the England rugby union team, instead had to settle for opening the scoring at Langtree Park after sidestepping his way past Saints’ full-back Adam Quinlan.
The hosts had to rely on their defence which held firm after conceding three goal-line drop-outs and Wigan were let off the hook when Mose Masoe was unable to take a pass close to the Wigan line.
Seven minutes from the interval and Saints drew blood to level the game after Luke Walsh threw a dummy before darting through a hole to score.
Tony Clubb threw a high shot at the returning Atelea Vea which sparked a brawl between both sets of players typifying the intensity between the two sides.
Matty Bowen punished Saints for interference in the ruck by kicking over a penalty and was again called upon to successfully convert a great solo try from George Williams.
Adam Swift got his side’s second try when he gathered a Walsh floated pass but still had work to do to beat two defenders and cross the whitewash.
Walsh added the extra two points to cut the deficit to just two points but his side had to wait until three minutes from full-time to take the lead.
The departing Josh Jones leapt above Bowen to collect Jon Wilkin’s high kick to touch down for a vital try on what could potentially be his final home game.
Hull FC 20-34 Huddersfield Giants
Huddersfield Giants continued their good Super 8s form by beating Hull FC 34-20 to make it five victories on the trot.
The Giants could now finish the campaign in the top two providing they beat Leeds Rhinos in the final game of the Super 8s and earn themselves a home semi-final.
Going against the script Hull FC took the lead as early as the fourth minute when the West Tigers-bound Jordan Rankin opened the scoring darting from dummy half.
Craig Huby was shown a yellow card for a high shot on Rankin but the Giants didn’t let their numerical deficit get to them, if anything it galvanised the side and they scored through Aaron Murphy in the corner to score for the fifth consecutive match.
Back to a full contingent, Huddersfield took the lead when Jake Connor dived in at the corner and it got better for the Giants when Scott Grix finished off a good move involving Jack Hughes down the right flank.
Rankin added to his try tally after he showed great footwork to record his brace before the interval but a Danny Brough penalty ensured his side went into the break with an 18-10 lead.
Eight minutes into the second-half and Hull scored again when the returning Josh Bowden pounced on a Huddersfield mix-up in defence after a Marc Sneyd grubber-kick.
Kirk Yeaman, who celebrated signing a new contract at the club midweek, brought the scores to 18-20 bringing himself onto ninth on the all-time leading Super League try-scorers list.
Murphy combined with Connor with a smart offload to ease any nerves creeping into the Giants’ game on the hour mark.
Jermaine McGillvary, who had been kept quiet for large parts of the game, wasn’t to be denied when he slid over for remarkably his 12th try in his last six games – which incidentally was also his 100th try for the club.
There was still time for Huddersfield to add further gloss to the scoreline when Jamie Ellis got on the end of Brough’s kick for his side’s sixth try.
Warrington Wolves 48-6 Catalans Dragons
Joel Monaghan scored a hat-trick on his final Warrington home fixture as his side cruised to a 48-6 victory over Catalans Dragons.
Neither side had anything to really play for having been cast adrift of the top four positions in previous weeks but take nothing away from Monaghan who was at his devastating best.
Catalans, whose solitary away win was at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in April, suffered an injury blow before kick-off with half-back Todd Carney pulling out and replaced by Stan Robin.
It took only five minutes for Warrington to establish a lead when Ashton Sims fed Stefan Ratchford with the latter putting Monaghan in for his first of the evening.
Kevin Penny leapt highest to collect Chris Sandow’s kick before play switched to the other flank to allow Ryan Atkins to cross in the corner. Sandow failed to add the extra points as his side opened up a 10-0 advantage after as many minutes.
After conceding a drop-out Monaghan intercepted a Catalan ball to race the full length of the pitch rolling back the years much to the delight of the home crowd. Two minutes later and their lead was stretched again when Penny send Jack Johnson over for his first senior try in only his third appearance.
Four minutes from half-time and Chris Hill gathered Scott Dureau’s kick to send Ben Currie racing away 70 metres to score under the sticks for a comfortable 26-0 lead.
The Wolves had to wait until the 53rd minute to extend their advantage over their French opponents when Atkins got his brace.
Catalans were reduced to twelve men when Ben Garcia was shown a yellow card for a spear tackle and Warrington made their numerical advantage pay dividends when Monaghan completed his hat-trick in the corner.
Johnson grabbed his brace before Richie Meyler scored a try with Roy Asotasi, who is another of the departing contingent at Warrington kicked a rare conversion to add to their already convincing scoreline
Not to be nilled the Dragons did scored four minutes from the end when Robin gathered Elliott Whitehead’s pass with Dureau adding the extras.
Published on September 21 2015 for Rugby AM.