Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
Hull FC 20
Tries: Houghton, Manu, Berrigan
Goals: Tickle 4
Hull KR 14
Tries: Newton, Charnley, Watts
Goals: Dobson 2
Hull FC maintained their hopes of a top three finish by defeating their local rivals Hull KR in a dramatic derby at KC Stadium.
The hosts took the lead after Sam Latus dropped a high kick and the ball found its way to Danny Houghton who got over the line. Danny Tickle edged Hull FC further in front with a penalty goal.
Mark Calderwood dropped the ball with the line beckoning and this was punished by Rovers after good work by Clint Newton led to Josh Charnley getting his team on the scoreboard.
Another Tickle penalty made sure the home-side went into half time with a 10-6 advantage.
Immediately, after the restart Newton ran on to a Mick Dobson pass as the visitors drew level. The Black and Whites then took control and scored two tries from Willie Manu and Shaun Berrigan to move into a 20-10 lead.
In the last ten minutes of the game there was a 26-man brawl which resulted in Calderwood and Ben Cockayne being sin-binned. Liam Watts went over to give Rovers some hope. However, a brilliant tackle by Tom Briscoe, in the last minute on Peter Fox, won the game for the Black and Whites which ended their local rivals four match unbeaten run.
Leeds Rhinos 21
Tries: Clarkson, Hall, McGuire
Goals: Sinfield 4
Drop Goal: Sinfield
Tries: Lunt, Hodgson 2, Patrick
Goals: Brough, Cudjoe
Leeds Rhinos snatched a dramatic last minute win over Huddersfield Giants at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
The first half was a very tight affair as defence was on top. Leeds made the most of Darrell Griffin's yellow card for taking a kicker out by opening the scoring through Chris Clarkson. A neat pass from Luke Robinson sent Shaun Lunt away as the Giants cut the gap at the interval to 6-4.
In the early stages of the second half, Huddersfield turned the game around with a brace from left winger David Hodgson. The first came in highly contentious circumstances, as a grubber kick from Danny Brough looked to have been guided into touch by Lee Smith, but Hodgson got a fingertip to the ball and referee Ben Thaler gave the try.
The second followed shortly after. The Rhinos got back into the game as Ryan Hall burrowed his way over the line. Skipper Kevin Sinfield levelled the game up at 14-14 with a penalty goal.
The game came alive in the last ten minutes Larne Patrick ran through the middle of the host's defence to score but the Rhinos hit back thanks to a Danny McGuire try. Going into the dying seconds of the game Kevin Sinfield popped over a drop goal as the Champions claimed a last gasp win to stay in touch of fourth place Hull FC.
Wigan Warriors 16
Tries: Riddell, Tuson, Richards
Goals: Richards 2
Warrington Wolves 23
Tries: Hicks, Myler, Atkins, Westwood
Goals: Westwood 3
Drop Goal: Briers
Warrington Wolves cut the gap at the top of the table to two points as they defeated league Leaders Wigan Warriors at a packed DW Stadium.
Coming into this game with just four points between the sides, Wigan took the early lead with a Pat Richards penalty goal and then extended their advantage with a try from dummy-half from Mark Riddell.
The visitors got themselves together and they hit back after a smart move down the left hand side led to Chris Hicks going in at the corner. Warrington went into the break with a 10-6 lead after a great kick from Lee Briers was pounced on by scrumhalf Richard Myler.
Shortly after the break Atkins gathered Chris Riley's kick to extend the Wolves lead, but Wigan came roaring back through Tuson, who gathered Sam Tomkins' deft pass and charged over. Pat Richards intercepted a lose pass and raced 90-metres for an unconverted try as the Warriors levelled things up.
With just under 15 minutes left Ben Westwood raced on to a pass and charged over to regain the lead for the visitors and the game was won by Briers who added a one pointer late on. This win open's the race for the League leaders shield with just 5 games remaining of the regular season.
Catalans Dragons 22
Tries: Greenshields 2, Casty
Goals: Bosc 5
Tries: Hauraki, Chan, Hanbury, Lupton
Goals: Schifcofske 5
Crusaders kept alive their hopes of a top eight finish by defeating bottom of the table Catalans Dragons in Perpignan.
In the non-English tie the Welsh outfit drew first blood as Weller Hauraki got over the line on 5 minutes after Jarrod Sammut made the initial break.
After a spell without scoring full back Clint Greenshields turned things around by scoring a brace. He got on the end of a Thomas Bosc grubber kick and then his second came from a good pass from Bosc.
Just on half time the game was all square as Jason Chan crossed for the visitors in the corner.
The Crusaders continued where they left off as Rhys Hanbury twisted his way over the line to give his side an 18-12 lead.
On 53-minutes Dallas Johnson sent Remi Casty away as once again the game was level. Both teams exchanged penalty goals as going into the last ten minutes we were all square at 20-20.
A Bosc penalty goal on 72-minutes edged the hosts ahead, but there was to be a late twist as Sammut made a fine run before slipping the ball to Peter Lupton who went over and claimed the points for the Welsh outfit.
Bradford Bulls 26
Tries: Menzies, Finigan 2, Reardon, Whitehead
Goals: Addy 3
Salford City Reds 30
Tries: Broughton 2, Tyrer, Gibson, Fitzpatrick
Goals: Holdsworth 5
Salford City Reds withstood a late Bradford Bulls comeback to claim the points at Grattan Stadium Odsal.
Second from bottom City Reds got off to a dream start as Jodie Broughton went the full length of the field to score. Minutes later an Ashley Gibson pass sent in Steve Tyrer as the visitors doubled their lead.
Bradford finally built some pressure and it resulted in Steven Menzies getting them on the scoreboard. Gibson punished a Bulls error to increase the City Reds lead but just before the break Vinny Finigan scored on his debut as Salford's lead was cut to 18-10.
Immediately, after the restart Jeremy Smith sent Karl Fitzpatrick under the posts. The game looked to be all over as Broughton raced away to double his tally as Salford led 30-10.
However, the Bulls had other ideas and produced a comeback. Stuart Reardon squeezed over in the corner to cut the deficit. Then, Elliott Whitehead finished a flowing move.
Finigan scored his second of the game from Brett Kearney's offload but the fight back was all in vain as Salford held on for the win and hand out an ninth straight defeat to the Bulls.
Castleford Tigers 40
Tries: Dixon 2, Wainwright, Widders 2, McGoldrick, Hudson
Goals: Westerman 5, Dixon
Wakefield Wildcats 16
Tries: Morrison 2, Blaymire
Goals: Cooke 2
Castleford Tigers produced a remarkable second half performance to see off rivals Wakefield Wildcats at the Jungle.
In the early stages of the game both sides exchanged tries. Glenn Morrison was the Wakefield scorer with Kirk Dixon responding for the Tigers.
Sean Gleeson was placed in the sin-bin for dissent but despite being down to twelve men, Matt Blaymire went over to give the Wildcats a 10-6 half time lead.
The first 18-minutes of the second half both teams failed to score, however Castleford ran riot and blew the Wildcats away in the last quarter by running in six tries.
Dean Widders helped himself to a quick-fire brace. Dixon scored his second of the game and Michael Wainwright went in at the corner after good work from ex Wildcat Brett Ferres.
Morrison scored a consolation for the hosts before Michael Shenton carved out a try for full-back Ryan McGoldrick and skipper Ryan Hudson supplied the finishing touches with a seventh touchdown a minute from the end.
The win for the Tigers lifted them into eight as they swapped places with Wakefield.
St Helens 32
Tries: Magennis, Meli 2, Wellens 2, Dean
Goals: Lomax 3
Harlequins RL 18
Tries: Golden, O'Callaghan, Esders
Goals: Orr 3
St Helens got back on track and all but ended Harlequins' hopes of a play-off place, with victory at GPW Recruitment Stadium Knowsley Road.
After back to back defeats St Helens opened the scoring thorough 20-year-old Shaun Magennis who scored his first senior try. Tony Clubb sent Jason Golden away as Quins got on terms.
Francis Meli and Paul Wellens both got on the score-sheet as Saints moved into a 14-6 lead and Meli powered over for his second just before the break as the hosts had a comfortable lead.
Quins came out firing in the second half and they cut the gap to just two points with a couple of tries. Danny Orr's long pass put Jamie O'Callaghan over in the corner and Ryan Esders went over from short range.
In the last fifteen minutes the hosts regained their composure and eased home thanks to tries from Chris Dean and Wellens after being put in by Leon Pryce. This win for Saints keeps them in pole position for a top three finish.