Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
The crowds were up from last years as a total aggregate of 63,144 turned up for the two day event just over 4,300 more than the previous figure.
Huddersfield Giants 34 Tries: Raleigh 2, Robinson, Lawrence, Jensen, Skandalis Goals: Robinson 3, Hemmingway 2
Warrington Wolves 36 Tries: Briers 2, Monaghan, Reardon, Bracek 2 Goals: Hicks 6
Huddersfield dominated the first half and took a 22-6 lead at the break. Michael Lawrence, Luke Robinson, Andy Raleigh and Rod Jensen all got on the score-sheet. Michael Monaghan was the Wolves try scorer.
At the start of the second half Jensen knocked on with the line at his mercy and this turned the whole game around, Warrington then produced a devastating spell of four tries in nine minutes to lead 30-22. Stuart Reardon, Lee Briers and an Andy Bracek double were the try scores.
John Skandalis gave the Giants some hope by narrowing the gap to two points but Briers scored his second in the 76 minute to effectively win the game. Raleigh did manage a last gasp try but this was only a consolation.
Castleford Tigers 16 Tries: Owen, Westerman, Shenton Goals: Dixon 2
Wakefield Wildcats 54 Tries: Grix 3, Blanch 2, Watene, Obst, Moore, Atkins Goals: Brough 9
The Wildcats continued their dominance in the second half. Scott Grix scored a hat-trick, and Damien Blanch helped himself to a double against one of his former clubs. Joe Westerman and Michael Shenton scored consolations for the Tigers as they were well beaten by a rampant Wakefield side.
Bradford Bulls 26 Tries: Tadulala 2, Hape, Burgess Goals: Deacon 5
Leeds Rhinos 40 Tries: Watkins, Anselme, Senior, Webb, Hall, Donald, Leuluai Goals: Sinfield 6
Bradford scored the opening try of the game when Semi Tadulala squeezed in at the corner. Leeds Rhinos, who were missing six frontline players hit back with a try from teenager Kallum Watkins. Two Paul Deacon penalty goals gave the Bulls a 10-6 lead at the break.
After the break Leeds upped the tempo and scored four tries in sixteen minutes. French international Eric Anselme scored on his debut; Keith Senior, Scott Donald and Brent Webb were also try scorers as the Rhinos led 28-10. Tadulala got one back for Bradford and with a Shontayne Hape score the Bulls had a chance but an interception try from Ryan Hall and a Kylie Leuluai touchdown won the points for the Champions. However Sam Burgess did manage a last minute consolation for the Bulls.
Catalans Dragons 18 Tries: Croker, Touxagas, Murphy Goals: Bosc 3
Harlequins RL 16 Tries: Worrincy, Hill, Melling Goals: Purdham 2
Catalans Dragons remained in second place after coming from behind to defeat Harlequins RL.
Jason Croker opened the scoring for the Dragons in the fifth minute but Quins hit back and with tries from Michael Worrincy and Scott Hill to take a 10-6 lead in to the break.
An early Chris Melling try in the second half looked to have sealed the game for Harlequins. However their was late drama as first Julien Touxagas raced 90 meters to score and in the 78 minute Justin Murphy followed up a Thomas Bosc chip kick to snatch the win for the French side.
Hull FC 17 Tries: Raynor 2, Washbrook Goals: Tickle 2 Drop Goal: Dykes
Hull KR 22 Tries: Fox, Fitzhenry, Walker, Webster Goals: Cooke 3
Hull FC got off to the best possible start with a Gareth Raynor try after only 48 seconds. Rovers hit back with a Peter Fox try and extended their lead with Daniel Fitzhenry touchdown. But just before the break Raynor scored his second as the teams went into half time all square 10-10.
Danny Washbrook put the Black and Whites back in front with an early second half score, only for Chev Walker to respond for the Robins and tie the match up again. Both teams tried to get the winning score and on 72 minutes Adam Dykes edged F.C. in front with a drop goal. However, there was late drama as Jake Webster