ICYMI, on Thursday the @NRL - National Rugby League released the 2018 #NRLDraw.
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Hull FC 34 Salford City Reds 12
Hull FC ran out easy winners over a disappointing Salford City Reds at KC Stadium.
The Black and Whites continued their good run of form as they made a strong start to the game. Salford withstood a barrage and failed to capitalise on the sin-binning of the host's hooker Danny Haughton for holding down. They were made to pay as Craig Hall and the influential Sean Long gave Hull a 12-0 lead.
Salford suddenly spring into action and levelled with tries from Karl Fitzpatrick and a superb 50-meter effort from big forward Adam Sidlow. Just on half time the hosts regained the lead through Richard Whiting who squeezed in at the corner.
Hull took control of the second half. Jordan Tansey scored a sparking try form a scrum-base 30 meters out. Ex City Red Jordan Turner crossed just after the hour mark as the hosts moved into a 30-12 lead.
Hall rounded things off for the Black and Whites with his second of the game late on to keep his side in fourth place within touching distance of the top three.
Hull FC (34)
Tries: Hall 2, Long, Whiting, Tansey, Turner
Goals: Tickle 5
Salford City Reds (12)
Tries: Fitzpatrick, Sidlow
Goals: M. Smith 2
St Helens 30 Huddersfield Giants 22
St Helens were made to battle as they defeated Huddersfield Giants at GPW Stadium.
Missing seven regulars including James Graham and James Roby, who were on England duty, St Helens made a great start after Matt Gidley took a Kerion Cunningham inside pass to score. Gary Wheeler doubled the lead as he stole the ball from Brett Hodgson to score.
David Faiumu pulled one back for Huddersfield on 17 minutes. Tony Puletua made it 16-4 as he powered his way over from 10-meters out. Just before the break the Giants hit back to level at 16-16 with a two try burst from Lee Gilmour and Scott Grix.
Early into the second half Nick Fozzard put the hosts back in front with his first try for over three years. Leroy Cudjoe jinked his way over as Huddersfield once again got on terms at 22-22.
In the last ten minutes St Helens wrapped the game up with a David Foster penalty goal and Andrew Dixon who finished off a half break form Leon Pryce to claim the points to stay in third.
St Helens (30)
Tries: Gidley, Wheeler, Puletua, Fozzard, Dixon
Goals: Foster 5
Huddersfield Giants (22)
Tries: Fa'alogo, Gilmour, Grix, Cudjoe
Goals: B Hodgson 3
Warrington Wolves 35 Hull Kingston Rovers 16
Warrington Wolves maintained their challenge for a top two finish as they disposed of Hull KR at H.J. Stadium.
The Wolves missing Adrian Morley, Chris Bridge and Ben Westwood on International duty made a bright start as they continued to pound the Rovers line. Rovers showed their great scrambling defence and against the run of play they took the lead after a grubber kick from Michael Dobson was pounced on by Kris Welham.
But Lee Briers intercepted a Ben Galea pass to sprint 90 metres to score and he added the extras from the touchline as the Wolves went into half time with a narrow 6-4 lead.
Early in the second half Warrington continued to press but once again the Robins defence held tight until the game change on the sin-binning of ex Storm second-rower Clint Newton on 52 minutes for a grapple tackle after his team had been warned for persistence infringements.
The Wolves made the extra man count and ran in three scores from Louis Anderson, Briers and centre Ryan Atkins to take control of the match. Mike Ratu pulled one back for Rovers but a Briers drop Goal gave his side a 23-10 advantage.
Ben Fisher added a late consolation for the visitors but the Wolves rounded of a convincing win with further tries from Michael Monaghan and Matt King.
Warrington Wolves (35)
Tries: Briers 2, Anderson, Atkins, Monaghan, King
Goals: Briers 2
Drop Goals: Briers
Hull KR (16)
Tries: Welham, Ratu, Fisher
Goals: Dobson 2
Leeds Rhinos 42 Harlequins Rugby League 22
Leeds Rhinos made it seven wins on the bounce as they overcame Harlequins RL at Twickenham Stoop.
Coming into this game Leeds had 10 players missing due to injury and England call up. In tight start to the game both defence were on top until a mistake by Tony Clubb was pounced on by Lee Smith who raced away and opened the scoring for the visitors.
Moments later, scrum-half Paul McShane crossed after Brent Webb had been tackled just short. On 25 minutes, the Rhinos increased their lead further to 16-0 when full-back Webb shrugged off a poor tackle attempt from Gale to score. Just before the break Luke Dorn gave Quins some hope as he finished off a neat move. Danny Orr added a penalty as the hosts cut the gap at the interval to 16-6.
At the start of the second half Clubb made amends for his earlier mistake as he sent Dorn away to cut the gap to 16-12. However, the Rhinos upped the tempo and gave themselves some daylight when prop forward Luke Ambler scored from close range. Lee Smith scored his second of the game before a great run from Greg Eastwood led to Carl Ablett going over as Leeds increased their lead to 36-12.
As the visitors took their foot off the gas, Quins added two quick-fire through Howell and Gale to give them some hope. But the game was finally lost when Smith added a late score to round off his hat-trick as the under-strength Rhinos took the point's home.
Harlequins RL (22)
Tries: Dorn 2, Howell, Gale
Goals: Melling, Orr 2
Leeds Rhinos (42)
Tries: Smith 3, McShane, Webb, Ablett, Ambler
Goals: Smith 7
Wigan Warriors 48 Wakefield Wildcats 6
Wigan Warriors cemented top spot with a comprehensive victory over Wakefield Wildcats at Hearwell Stadium.
Played in heavy rain Wigan showed their intent from the start. Sean O'Loughlin backing up from last night's Test match sent in Karl Pryce on two minutes. Five minutes later O'Loughlin crossed as the visitors doubled their lead, but then he left the field with a leg injury.
Liam Farrell made it 16-0 after the quarter hour. Wakefield came close to scoring when Wigan had Phil Bailey in the sin-bin for persistent offside. As the mistakes were apparent on both sided s just before the interval Pryce got over for his second of the half as the Warriors effectively had the game won with a 20-0 lead.
In the early moments of the second period Pryce completed his hat-trick as he took Pat Richards kick to the corner. Damien Blanch got the home side on the score-sheet after Jason Demetriou's acrobatic offload of Paul Cooke's kick through.
Richards hit back for Wigan and then they made the most of Dale Ferguson's yellow card as Amos Roberts, Richards and Sam Tomkins all went over the whitewash to complete an easy win for the Warriors.
Wakefield Wildcats (6)
Wigan Warriors (48)
Tries: Pryce 3, O'Loughlin, Farrell, Richards 2, Roberts, S Tomkins
Goals: Richards 6
Celtic Crusaders 44 Bradford Bulls 20
Crusaders ran out convincing winners over Bradford Bulls at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham.
Ex Welsh union star Gareth Thomas got the Crusaders off to the best possible start with the opening try. Vince Mellars finished off a move and Weller Hauraki scored underneath the posts as the Welsh side took control.
Chris Nero scored in the corner to give hop to the Bulls and Dave Halley cut the gap to 18-10. Clinton Schifcofske penalty stretched the home side's advantage back to 10 points just before the break.
Michael Worrincy and Tony Martin exchanged tries at the start of the second half. Bradford gained the bulk of the possession but Crusaders stayed water tight and went further ahead when Rhys Hanbury put Nick Youngquest in near the posts.
The hosts made sure of the win with a good effort from Lincoln Withers. The Bulls did score the last try of the game from Elliott Whitehead, but they were well beaten.
Tries: Thomas, Mellars, Hauraki 2, Martin, Youngquest, Withers
Goals: Schifcofske 8
Bradford Bulls (20)
Tries: Nero, Halley, Worrincy, Whitehead
Goals: Sykes 2