Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
WARRINGTON WIZARDS 30 CRUSADERS COLTS 44 By Ian Golden at Wilderspool
Crusaders Colts, despite missing a number of first choice players, cemented their position at the top of the Co-operative Conference National after beating Warrington Wizards 44-30 at Wilderspool on Saturday.
Colts gave debuts to Steve Parry, Shane Regan and Neil Davies - who was playing his first game of rugby league for three years. His last game was for the full Welsh side against Ireland in their 31-10 win in Dublin in the 2005 European Nations Cup.
Josh Hannam had a try disallowed in the second minute as the referee had already blown for an infringement while Wizards' Carl Lloyd had the same a few minutes later after he stepped into touch.
Crusaders took the lead on ten minutes when Greg Callow picked up a loose ball and ran home for the first of his five tries. Welsh international Aled James converted.
It was 12-0 on 16 minutes when Steve Parry ran through while Josh Hannam also eased his way over the line straight from kick-off for a third Welsh try. James converted both.
Wizards hit back on 23 minutes when Matt Wilson broke through with Matt Clarke adding the extras but Crusaders restored the balance ten minutes later as Lee Williams twisted his way over the line from close range.
And a fine passing move ending with an excellent run down the wing by Callow gave the Colts a fifth try, that was converted by James, and a deserved 22-point lead at the interval.
Warrington were first on the board in the second half through a Jono Smith try.
But Callow waltzed over for his hat-trick ten minutes later looking to have put the Crusaders out of reach.
However the Wizards staged a comeback. Smith ran over for his second try on 56 minutes with Mellor converting while Anthony Beckett created a score for fellow substitute Stewart Pirrie to put the Wizards to within two converted tries.
But two length of the field tries from Callow in as many minutes finally sealed the game for the Welsh with seven minutes remaining. James converted the first and Lee Williams the second.
Beckett grabbed a consolation try straight from kick-off with Mellor converting again while Alan Reddecliff followed him over minutes later to complete the scoring.
WIZARDS 1. David Yi 2. Ian Stephenson 3. Vinny Reardon 4. Matt Taylor 5. Carl Lloyd 6. Chris Mellor 7. Warren Ayres 8. Scott Davidson 9. Steven Smythe 10. Matt Clarke 11. Jono Smith 12. Matt Wilson 13. Alan Reddecliff Subs: 14. Billy Sheen 15. Stuart Pirrie 16. Anthony Beckett 17. Matt Barber
Tries: Wilson (23), Smith (42, 56), Pirrie (65), Beckett (76), Reddecliff (79) Goals: Watson 1/1, Mellor 2/5
CRUSADERS 1. Elliot Kear 2. Ashley Griffiths 3. Greg Callow 4. Lee Williams 5. Josh Hannam 6. Steve Parry 7. Aled James 8. Philippe Gardent 9. Tom Burnell 10. Barrie Phillips 11. Gil Dudson 12. Mark Wool 13. Chris Vitalini Subs: 14. Lewis Mills 15. Shane Regan 16. Neil Davies 17. Olly Hughes
Tries: Callow (10, 40, 52, 72, 73), Parry (16), Hannam (19), Williams (32) Goals: James 5/7, Williams 1/1
Referee: David Sharpe (Wigan)
Scoring Sequence: 0-6, 0-12, 0-18, 6-18, 6-22, 6-28, 10-28, 10-32, 16-32, 20-32, 20-38, 20-44, 26-44, 30-44 Half-time: 6-28