Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
Tries: Platt, Kearney, Menzies
Goals: Orford 3
Drop Goal: Orford
Harlequins RL 12
Tries: Melling, Orr
Goals: Orr, Gale
Bradford Bulls moved into the top-eight with a hard-fought victory over Harlequins RL at Odsal.
Bottom of the table Quins opened the scoring after 13-minutes when Chris Melling got over the line. Danny Orr added on the extras. Immediately Bradford hit back after a kick behind the visitors defence caused panic and Michael Platt pounced to score.
The Bulls continued to probe but stout defence from Quins and poor handling kept the score the same until just before the break a fine pass from Platt sent Brett Kearney clear. Matt Orford added the conversion as the hosts went into the interval with a 10-6 lead.
On 52-minutes, the Bulls scored their third and the decisive try of the game. Steve Menzies weaved his way through the Harlequins defence to score and with the extras the hosts led 16-6.
Quins scored a fine breakaway effort from Orr but a penalty and a drop-goal from Orford saw the Bulls home.
Tries: Westerman, McGoldrick, Dixon, Thompson
Goals: Westerman 3
Tries: Mellars, Chan, Hauraki
Goals: Witt 2
Castleford Tigers held off a Crusaders fight-back to claim their first win at the Jungle this year.
The Tigers came into this game looking for their first win at home since last September and they got off to a great start on 17-minutes with Kirk Dixon going in at the corner. Crusaders hit back through Vince Mellars who cantered 50-metres to the line.
Crusaders made a good start to the second-period and on 58-minutes they were rewarded with a try from Jason Chan. Westerman added a penalty to give Cas some breathing space and Rangi Chase set up youngster Jordan Thompson to score the match winning try.
But Hauraki grabbed a late consolation and a second conversion from Michael Witt ensured a nervy finish before the points were safe as the Tigers secured a third win this season.
Tries: Atkins 2, Bridge, Riley 3
Goals: Bridge 4
Tries: Korkidas, Murphy, Obst
Goals: Cooke 2
Chris Riley scooted over on three minutes as the Wolves got off to a good start. Chris Bridge Chipped ahead and scored as the hosts increased their lead. Wakefield hit back through Aaron Murphy but this was short lived as Riley finished off a flowing move to increase Warrington's lead.
Substitute Michael Korkidas barged over for Wakefield minutes before the break to briefly get them back into it, Paul Cooke adding a simple kick to leave them only six points behind. But, with seconds left in the half, ex Wildcat Ryan Atkins got a hand to Simon Grix's grubber kick and Bridge converted to leave the hosts with a healthy 22-10 lead.
Warrington completed the win with two early second half tries. Riley completed his hat-trick minutes after the restart and David Solomona offloaded for Atkins to score his second of the game. Sam Obst scored a consolation for the Wildcats as the Wolves failed to add any further points.
Tries: Carmont, Goulding 2, J. Tomkins
Goals: Richards 4
Injury hit Leeds still missing nine regulars looked most likely to score in a fully committed, error strung first half. It took the video referee to deny them an opening score, ruling that Rob Burrow had failed to get the ball down as he rolled over the line held by Pat Richards and Thomas Leuluai.
Just after the restart, the Rhinos got on terms, as Ryan Hall took Jamie Jones-Buchanan's pass to score in the right hand corner. Wigan then turned the screw and took control of the game. Amos Roberts and Pat Richards had made stunning breaks to set up Darrell Goulding to score out wide. Joel Tomkins scored from close range and the win was secure as Goulding scored his second of the game.
This was Wigan's seventh win in eight games, while reigning champions Leeds slipped to their fifth defeat as they dropped out of the top eight.
Salford City Reds 27
Tries: Sidlow, Fitzpatrick 2, Broughton 2
Goals: Holdsworth 3
Drop Goal: Holdsworth
Hull FC 20
Tries: Long, Yeaman, Lauaki, Lyne
Goals: Tickle 2
Salford made a good start to the game and they opened the scoring on three-minutes through Adam Sidlow who stretched over the line. Sean Long followed up his own kick as the visitors got back on terms.
Daniel Holdsworth then put Steve Tyrer clear to set up Fitzpatrick. But Stuart Littler's high tackle allowed Yeaman to out jump two defenders from Long's kick to cut the deficit to two points. And the Black and Whites went ahead for the first time when Lauaki's strength took him over, Danny Tickle's conversion earning a 16-12 interval lead.
Straight after the restart Jodie Broughton crossed in the corner as the Reds got on terms. And they went back in front, 20-16, when Holdsworth's kick looked to be heading out of play until cleverly tapped back by Tyrer for Fitzpatrick to bag his second try.
Teenage Hull winger Reece Lyne scored his debut try as once again the match was tied up at 20-20. In a see-saw battle Broughton scored the decisive try for the Reds and Holdsworth made sure of the points with a one-pointer on the hooter.
Tries: Bell, Gossard, Carlaw
Goals: Bosc 2
Hull KR 10
Tries: Webster, Welham
Rovers dominated the early stages but they were made to pay for missing several clear cut chances. On 33-minutes, against the run of play, Catalans opened the scoring. Chris Walker set the play up for ex Sea Eagle Steven Bell. Returning French Star Thomas Bosc added the extras as the hosts went into the break with a 6-0 lead.
In the early stages of the second half the French-side doubled their advantage with Dane Carlaw scoring without any Hull players around him. The hosts continued to stay in control and this led to Cyrille Gossard going over and taking the advantage to 16-0.
The visitors got themselves back into the game on 73-minutes as Jake Webster scored out wide and minutes late Liam Colbon palmed the ball into Kris Welham's path to score their second try of the night. Colbon suffered a broken jaw in the lead-up.
Catalans managed to hang on and claim a much needed win.
Goals: B Hodgson
St Helens 24
Tries: Meli 2, Graham, Eastmond
Goals: Eastmond 4
Saints made a very strong start to this game and led by Francis Meli, who scored a brace they led 10-0 after 10-minutes. The first try was set up by England scrum half Kyle Eastmond after a clever switch of play. James Graham's run led to the second try.
Huddersfield came out strongly in the second half and this led to Scott Grix taking Kevin Brown's high pass to score out wide. On 54-minutes Eastmond added a penalty goal to give the visitors a cushion.
St Helens made sure of the points with late scores from Graham and an opportunist try by Eastmond.
This win for Saints moved them up to third ahead of Good Friday's blockbuster with leaders Wigan Warriors.