Our weekly feature - The Armchair Expert - returns just in time for the finals!
This week we look a...
14 hours ago
Bradford Bulls 18 (Pryce, St Hilaire, Vainikolo 2 tries; Deacon 1 goal) v Hull FC 12 (Brisoce, Domic tries; Brough 2 goals). Att: 10,700.
Bradford extended their unbeaten run to 18 matches with hard fought win over Hull FC at Odsal. The Bulls opened the scoring after only 68 seconds when Karl Pryce barged over from close range. Hull, who were missing several key players, managed to hold out until the 33 minute when Bulls winger Lesley Vainikolo crashed over. But Hull never laid down and deservedly got on the score sheet just before half time through Sid Domic.
At the start of the second half Vainikolo scored again but then turned villain by gifting a try to FC?s Kirk Dixon. With 20 minutes left on the clock the visitors cut the Bulls lead to only 14-12 with a Danny Brough penalty. Then with less than 10 minutes left Marcus St Hilaire, a surprise eve-of-season signing from Halifax, scored the important try to give the Bulls a cushion of 6 points. A draw looked on the cards with only minutes left when Shaun Briscoe spilled a pass from Peter Lupton with the line beckoning.
Wigan Warriors 12 (Fletcher, Godwin tries; Tickle, Moran goals) v Warrington Wolves 24 (Fa?afili, Bridge, Barnett tries; Briers 4 goals, 4 field goals). Att: 16,640.
The nightmare continued for Wigan Warriors as Warrington Wolves, led by their inspirational skipper Lee Briers, masterminded the visitors? first win at Wigan for over 13 years.
The home side had opened the scoring through new signing Bryan Fletcher, making his debut after recovering from bowel surgery, but despite seeing little of the ball in the Wigan half, Warrington hit back through Richie Barnett and Chris Bridge to lead at the halfway mark.
After the break Briers then took control of the game by landing 4-drop goals, a penalty goal and converting a Henry Fa?afili try. Wigan?s only consolation was a last minute try for Wayne Godwin converted by Denis Moran which by then was only witnessed by a small section of the 16,640 crowd as most of the home fans had enough of another poor Warriors performance.
Catalans Dragons 10 (Murphy, Dobson tries; Frayssinous 1 goal) v Leeds Rhinos 58 (Senior, Walker, Diskin, Smith, McGuire 2, Donald, Tansey, Burrow, Lauitiiti; tries Sinfield 7, Burrow 2 goals). Att: 5,783.
Seven days after being out muscled by Champions Bradford Bulls, the Dragons were given another harsh lesson of life in the Engage Super League as they were ripped apart by a rampant Leeds Rhinos team manfully lead by captain Kevin Sinfield.
The Game was over in the first ten minutes as the Rhinos raced to an 18-0 lead with two tries by Danny McGuire and a walk-in by scrum-half Rob Burrow. Catalans new short-team Australian signing Michael Dobson finally got the home side on the board, but four further Rhinos tries gave them a commanding 34-6 lead after only 20 minutes. Surprisingly the visitors did not add to their tally in the remainder of the opening period. However on the stroke of Halftime the Dragons prop Alex Chan was sent off for punching Chev Walker who in turn was sin binned for retaliating.
Catalans showed plenty of spirit and opened the second half scoring from a Justin Murphy try in the corner. With 20 minutes left on the clock the Dragons finally cracked as the Rhinos racked up four further converted tries to send home the near 3,000 travelling away fans happy on a cold, wet and windy evening in the South of France.
Salford City Reds 48 (Highton 2, Robinson, Finnigan 3, Brocklehurst, Fitzpatrick tries; Hodgson 8 goals) v Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 10 (J Field, Demetriou tries; March 1 goal). Att: 4,060
Simon Finnigan scored a hat-trick for Salford as they continued their fine start to the Engage Super League season, outclassing a dismal Wakefield Wildcats at The Willows.
The Reds remained in the top four of the league with a thrilling first half performance by scoring 6 unanswered tries from Paul Highton (2), Finnigan (2), Fitzpatrick and Brocklehurst all converted by David Hodgson.
Finnigan completed his hat-trick early in the second half before Jamie Field and Jason Demetriou restored some pride to the visitors. In the final minutes Luke Robinson wrapped up the scoring for the hosts with a try. The only downside it that only 4,060 turned out to watch another sparkling Reds display.
Harlequins RL 20 (Leuluai, Weisner, Hopkins, Clubb tries; Gafa 2 goals) v Castleford Tigers 34 (Sculthorpe, Fletcher, Pryce, Henderson, McGoldrick, Shenton tries; Huby 5 goals). Att: 3,535
Castleford Tigers got their season back on track as they overturned a 14-point deficit to beat Harlequins and move above them in the Super League table.
Quins suffered a bitter blow when they lost captain Mark McLinden to injury in the warm-up. The home team scored all their points in the first half with tries by Leuluai, Weisner, Hopkins and Clubb with two Gafa conversions.
Castleford replied with a Waine Pryce try and Ryan McGoldrick then further reduced the gap when he sprinted 60 meters for a fine individual try. After half-time, the Tigers controlled the game with Andy Henderson rounding off victory with a 73rd-minute try.
Huddersfield Giants 16 (Drew, Wild tries; Thorman 4 goals) v St Helens 18 (Gardner, Lyon, Fa?asavalu tries; Lyon 3 goals). Att: 8,010.
St Helens held off a spirited Huddersfield Giants to keep their 100% record intact and return to the top of the Engage Super League in front of another bumper crowd at the Galpharm Stadium.
A first minute Ade Gardner try opened the scoring for the Saints and Jamie Lyon added a second try just before the break. Chris Thorman kept the Giants in touch with two first-half goals and a third after the restart before a try from ex-Raider Brad Drew reduced the deficit to two.
Maurie Fa'asavalu hit back with a try for Saints, with a late Stephen Wild four-pointer not enough for the hosts.