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Engage Super League XVI Round 1 Review
Engage Super League XVI got off to a big bang as all teams headed to Cardiff's Millennium Stadium for the Magic Weekend to open up the 2011 season.
60,214 people attended the weekend which was moved from its usual date in May, to give the new season a blockbusting start.
In the opening game of the weekend Huddersfield Giants produced a bit of a shock as they defeated highly fancied Warrington Wolves 28-18, by running in five tries.
New signing, Joel Monaghan opened the scoring on his Warrington debut after just five minutes. However, Huddersfield hit back with a Keal Carlile try and took the lead with a 90-meter run from Danny Brough ten minutes from the interval and he who also kicked a goal as the Giants led 10-6 at the break.
Close range efforts from Darrell Griffin and Shaun Lunt in the second half gave the Giants a useful 22-6 lead. Ben Westwood pulled one back for Warrington, but the day belonged to Brough who scored a brilliant individual effort as he side-steeped his way through the defence to effectively win the game for Huddersfield.
Ryan Atkins scored a late consolation for the Wolves but they suffered some worrying injuries to Matt King and Chris Bridge, who were both helped off the field.
Harlequins RL overcame Catalans Dragons 11-4 in the second game of day one, as new Quins coach Rob Powell got off to a winning start. This game was a scrappy affair with both teams making errors. Howver it would be the Luke Gayle show for the London outfit as he scored all of their points.
On 3 minutes thanks to Gayle's 40-meter run Harlequins took the early lead and minutes later Luke Dorn followed up a high kick to leap in the air and pass to the supporting Gayle who scored underneath the posts to make it 10-0 at the break.
The next score did not arrive until 62 minutes when Gayle added a one pointer to make it 11-0. Finally with time running out a neat pass from Ben Farrar led to Damien Blanch scoring in the corner , but it was to late for the Dragons who went down to defeat.
Castleford Tigers ran out convincing winners over local rivals Wakefield Wildcats 40-20 in game three of day one.
Joe Arundel got the Tigers off to the perfect start with an early try. Wakefield, who were rescued from Administration on Friday, levelled through French hooker Julien Rinaldi.
In a game littered with numerous penalties Arundel was the first of three players to be sin-binned for persistence infringements. Dale Ferguson gave the Wildcats the lead but with one man light the Tigers roared back and went into the break with an 18-10 advantage thanks to scores from Brett Ferres, Nick Youngquest and Dean Withers when Sam Obst was in the sin-bin.
With their one man advantage, immediately after the re-start Rangi Chase intercepted a Tommy Lee pass to put the Tigers further ahead.
Teenager Adam Milner added another before Ferguson scored is second the game and
Luke George scored a long distance effort as the Wildcats cut the gap to 28-20.
Daryl Millard became the third player of the game to visit sin-binned and this effectively ended any hopes of a Wildcats win.
Paul Jackson and Widders secured Castleford the points with the last tries of the game.
Bringing the curtain down on the first day was a repeat of last years Grand Final as champions Wigan had to settle for a draw against St Helens who came from 16-0 with 15 minutes to go.
Saints started well and pounded the Warriors line but some brilliant scrambling defence kept them out. After soaking up the pressure Wigan broke away for Ryan Hoffman to score his debut try. Harrison Hansen added another as the Warriors led 12-0 at half time.
On 50 minutes George Carmont went in out wide to give Wigan a 16-0 lead.
James Roby brilliant pass led to Jon Wilkin getting St Helens back into the game. Tony Puletua stretched over to make it 16-12 with just over 10 minutes to play.
With just over 5 minutes left Francis Meli Scored in the corner to level up at 16-16 both teams missed drop goal opportunities as the points were shared.
Welsh team Crusaders delighted the locals by getting the better of a new look Salford City Reds 42-12 in the first game of Day 2.
New Salford singing Luke Pattern knocked on and this led to Rhys Williams open the scoring for Crusaders. Daniel Holdsworth made things all square with a try and goal.
Michael Witt glided through to regain the Welsh team the lead on 18 minutes and two minutes later Stuart Reardon made it 16-6 with a close range score.
Patten opened his City Reds account by latching on to a Matty Smith kick but just on half time Clinton Schificofske added a penalty as the Welsh team went into the break with an 18-6 advantage.
On 54-minutes Jason Chan Forced his way over as Crusaders began to take control. Michael Witt was at the heart of everything for the local side and he went on to score two more tries, to complete his hat-trick.
Stuart Reardon completed the scoring as Crusaders gave new coach Iestyn Harris the perfect start and Salford's day went from bad to worse as Wayne Godwin was sent-off in the last minute for running in and throwing a punch.
Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls served up another Millennium classic as the Rhinos came from 28-10 down to snatch the game in the last 15 minutes 32-28.
Both teams came into this game with new head coaches. Mick Potter for Bradford, Brian McDermott for Leeds.
Young Winger Ben Jones-Bishop opened the scoring for Leeds, but Bradford hit back with the sin-binning of the Rhinos Brett Delaney for holding a player back, Elliott Whitehead scored a double from two kick through the defence.
Patrick Ah Van intercepted a Brent Webb pass and raced 80-meters to give the Bulls a 16-4 lead. Ryan Hall hit back for the Rhinos and just on half-time Kevin Sinfield made it 16-10 with a penalty goal.
In the early stages of the second period Bradford took control. New signing from Leeds, hooker Matt Diskin nipped in from dummy half and Whitehead completed his hat-trick as the Bulls made it 28-10.
With just over 15-minutes left in the game Leeds stunned Bradford by coming back into the contest. Jones Bishop added his second and minutes later Kylie Leuluai added another before Rob Burrow raced away and with Sinfield adding the extras the Rhinos had cut the gap to 28-26 going into the last ten-minutes of the game.
There was to be a dramatic finish as Ben Jones-Bishop took a pass and kicked towards the line after he was taken out by Gareth Raynor the video referee awarded a penalty try and Leeds snatched a dramatic win.
Bringing the curtain down on the weekend was the city derby as Hull KR saw off great rivals Hull FC 34-22.
The Black and Whites took control early on as Kirk Yeaman opened the scoring. Lee Radford added another and with three goals from Danny Tickle Hull FC led 14-0.
Rovers got back into the game with a try on debut for Blake Green. Further scores from Clint Newton and Ben Galea made it 18-14 at the interval.
Immediately after the re-start Galea increased Hull KR lead and another from Kris Whelham after a good pass from Mick Dobson gave Rovers a healthy 28-14 advantage.
Will Sharp pulled one back for Hull FC but the Red and Whites when down to the other end and clinched the game thanks to a second score for Whelham.
In the last seconds of the game Yeaman scored a consolation to finish off proceedings for the weekend as Engage Super League XVI got off to a big bang.
Summary of Results - ESL Round 1
Huddersfield Giant 28 def. Warrington Wolves 18
Harlequins RL 11 def. Catalans Dragons 4
Castleford Tigers 40 def. Wakefield Wildcats 20
Wigan Warriors 16 drew St Helens Saints 16
Crusaders 42 def. Salford City Reds 12
Leeds Rhinos 32 def. Bradford Bulls 28
Hull KR 34 def. Hull FC 22