Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Warrington Wolves romped home over Crusaders in Wrexham, to cement top spot.
It looked as it was going to be a long night for the Crusaders as they shipped in two tries in the first ten minutes. Matt King and Adrian Morley were the Wolves try scorers.
But, to their credit Crusaders would not lie down and hit back Elliot Kear, Hep Cahill and Jarrod Sammut, set up by Michael Witt's kick, turned the game around.
Clinton Schifcofske's two conversions gave the Welsh outfit a 16-12 lead approaching half-time.
However, in the last two minutes of the half the visitors showed their quality. Ben Westwood scored from close range, before Ryan Atkins raced the length of the field unopposed to score form the kick off.
Chris Bridge then linked up with the impressive King and Paul Wood was on hand to finish off as the Wolves went into the break 28-16 in front.
The second half was one-way traffic as Warrington ripped Crusaders apart. Brett Hodgson crossed straight after the restart before Wood went in for a second to effectively kill the game off.
Richard Myler then scored before Hodgson went over to complete his hat-trick with two tries in three minutes as the Wolves ran in fifty points for the seventh time in nine matches.
Tries: Kear, Cahill, Sammut
Goals: Schifcofske 2
Warrington Wolves 56
Tries: Hodgson 3, Wood 2, King, Morley, Westwood, Atkins, Myler
Goals: Hodgson 4
St Helens stayed fourth as they ran riot in the second half to defeat Leeds Rhinos at Stobart Stadium Widnes.
With both teams coming into this game on contrasting form, the first half was fiercely contested. Both teams had tries chalked off from the video referee and it was the Rhinos who took a 4-0 lead thanks to two penalty goals form skipper Kevin Sinfield.
St Helens finally broke the deadlock after a short pass from the ever impressive James Roby sent James Graham over and with Jamie Foster adding the extras Saints went into half time with a narrow 6-4 lead.
However, in the second period Leeds' capitulation mirrored their collapse against Warrington last week as St Helens hit them with a six try burst.
Roby finished off some good work by Jonnie Lomax to get the hosts on their way and Francis Meli intercepted a Sinfield kick and raced 70-meters to score moments later.
Saints then claimed their third try in the space of less than 10 minutes as Sia Soliola ripped through the defence and offloaded for Scott Moore to score underneath the posts. Just after the hour Jon Wilkin' superb flick pass led to Paul Wellens making it 36-4 as St Helens were running riot.
Leeds did mange to make the score more respectable by adding two consolations from Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Lee Smith. But it was Lee Gaskell who had the final say for Saints as in the last minute he intercepted a Sinfield loose pass to cross to wrap up an impressive win.
St Helens 42
Tries: Graham, Roby, Meli, Lomax, Moore, Wellens, Gaskell
Goals: Foster 5
Leeds Rhinos 16
Tries: Jones-Buchanan, Smith
Goals: Sinfield 4
Salford City Reds proved too strong for Wakefield Wildcats as they ran out winners at The Willows.
In the week that Salford, announced Matthew Parish would join them in mid-July as their new head coach, the City Reds were hoping to improve on only one win in their last five league games.
But, it was Wakefield who made the perfect start as Tommy Lee dummied his way over the line after just two minutes. Gareth Moore added the extras from the touchline on his debut.
Daniel Holdsworth got Salford back into the game with a try out wide and than his 40-20 led to Stefan Ratchford giving the hosts an 8-6 lead.
The city Reds increased their lead as Ratchford side-stepped over from Luke Patten's pass for his second of the game.
Wakefield's right-hand side was exposed again after 26 minutes with Vinnie Anderson's pass allowing Jodie Broughton to grab his first Super League try since April 16 but again Salford failed to convert as they went into half time 16-6 in front.
Normal service resumed after the break as Lee Jewitt powered his way over the line and to loud cheers from the home fans Holdsworth added the conversion.
Smart inter-passing from Holdsworth, Matty Smith and Patten led to Ratchford going over and completing his hat-trick.
Ex Bulldog Jarrad Hickey marked his debut by scoring a consolation for the Wildcats on 66 minutes, before Luke Adamson brushed off Lee on a charging run to the line as the City Reds completed a convincing win.
Salford City Reds 34
Tries: Ratchford 3, Holdsworth, Broughton, Jewitt, Adamson
Goals: Holdsworth 3
Wakefield Wildcats 12
Tries: Lee, Hickey
Goals: Moore 2
Catalan Dragons shocked Champions Wigan Warriors in Montpellier to complete a double for the season.
After getting past Wigan in April's reverse fixture, Catalan were in a determined mood to claim a second win in this match played at the Yves du Manoir Stadium in Montpellier.
The French-side started the better and deservedly took the lead after a pass from Scott Dureau sent Jean Philippe-Baile in for the first try of the game.
Wigan turned on the pressure and this led to Sam Tomkins scoring underneath the posts. On the Half hour the Dragons regained the lead after good work by Jamal Fakir led to Daryl Millard scoring out wide.
A mistake by Clint Greenshields gifted Tomkins his second try of the game. But just before the interval Dureau kicked a penalty as Catalan took a slender 14-12 lead.
The second half was a tight affair as both teams cancelled each other out. But a superb pass from Greenshields sent in Millard for his second of the game as the Dragons completed a good win over the Champions.
Catalan Dragons 20
Tries: Baile, Millard 2
Goals: Dureau 4
Wigan Warriors 12
Tries: S.Tomkins 2
Goals: Richards 2
Bradford Bulls made it back-to-back wins as they got past Harlequins RL at the Stoop.
It was the host's who held most of the early possession and deservedly went ahead when Chad Randall found former Bull Karl Pryce, who went over from close range.
Ben Jeffries broke away from the defence and allowed Patrick Ah Van to sprint clear to score a converted try as the Bulls took the lead.
Just on half-time Bradford increased their lead to 12-4 as Shad Royston brushed off Chris Riley to score. Ah Van added the extras.
Shortly after the restart Au Van was on hand again as his try and conversion gave the visitors a 12 point advantage.
Quins were given some hope as Karl Temata found a big gap in the visitors defence and raced clear to score.
Elliot Whitehead intercepted a pass and ran over unopposed as Bradford continued to hold the lead.
Pryce made it double for the Londoners but skipper Andy Lynch took Heath L'Estrange's pass to win the game for the Bulls as Harlequins winless run goes to eleven games.
Harlequins RL 16
Tries: Pryce 2, Temata
Goals: Gale 2
Bradford Bulls 30
Tries: Ah Van 2, Royston, Whitehead, Lynch
Goals: Ah Van 5
Hull KR claimed the bragging rights as they saw of local rivals Hull FC at a packed Craven Park.
The Hull derby was another enthralling game as both teams went at each other from the start. After taking control the Black and Whites took the lead after Sean Long sent in Kirk Yeaman for his 16 score of the season.
Just before the break Rovers got on terms as Ben Galea's pass sent Kris Welham in. Michael Dobson missed the conversion as the teams went into half-time at 4-4.
After the break an outrageous dummy from Joe Westerman flat footed Shaun Briscoe as Martin Gleeson out Hull FC back in front. Danny Tickle added the extras to make it 10-4.
Moments later, the visitors suffered a major blow as influential scrum-half Sean Long had to leave the field with a dislocated shoulder.
Rovers made the most of this as a dink through from Blake Green was lost by Gleeson over his own line and Briscoe was on hand to make it 10-10.
It was now Rovers turn to get on top and they took the lead for the first time in the game as Green set up Briscoe for his second. Dobson added the conversion to make it 16-10.
FC tried to get back into the game but on 77 minutes Dobson slotted over a one-pointer as Hull KR claimed the win to move within a point of the top eight.
Hull KR 17
Tries: Welham, Briscoe 2
Goals: Dobson 2
Drop Goal: Dobson
Hull FC 10
Tries: Yeaman, Gleeson
Huddersfield Giants kept the pressure on Warrington Wolves with a routine win over Castleford Tigers at The Shay.
With the Galpharm Stadium having their pitch reseeded, the Giants switched the game to The Shay in Halifax and this did not prevent them from making a fast start to the match.
On three minutes Leroy Cudjoe took Scott Grix's pass to give Huddersfield the early lead. Rangi Chase and Danny Orr all got involved in a move which saw Richard Owen level things up for the Tigers.
Luke Robinson then turned provider as he set up firstly Eorl Crabtree who crashed over the line and then his break led to Cudjoe going over for his second of the half as the Giants led 18-6 at half time.
The tempo was upped by Huddersfield in the second period. Cudjoe sent David Hodgson away and after a 40-20 from Danny Brough, Lee Gilmour effectively put Castleford out of the game.
Brough was then carried off with a suspected ankle injury, and the England international may now be an injury doubt for Friday's match international Origin game against the Exiles at Headingley.
The Giants were reduced to 12 men after 55 minutes when Jermaine McGillvary was sin-binned for kicking the ball away.
Orr and Owen replied late on for Castleford. But Huddersfield had the last word with late tries from McGillvary and David Fa'alogo to stay level on points with leaders Warrington Wolves.
Huddersfield Giants 40
Tries: Cudjoe 2, Crabtree, Hodgson, Gilmour, McGillvary, Fa'alogo
Goals: Brough 4, Cudjoe 2
Castleford Tigers 18
Tries: Owen 2, Orr
Goals: Dixon 3