GRAND FINAL DAY LOCKED IN | Three big fixtures next Sunday at Sydney's ANZ Stadium! Burleigh and Ill...
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Vikings boost survival hopes
Widnes boosted their engage Super League survival hopes and dragged Wakefield into the relegation dogfight with a terrific seven-try 47-34 win at Belle Vue.
The vibrant Vikings ended their five-match losing run in style to haul themselves off the foot of the table and close the gap on the ninth-placed Wildcats to just four points.
Widnes coach Frank Endacott labelled the game a four-pointer in the Vikings? battle for survival and he will be delighted with his side?s efforts in an eventful match in which three players were sin-binned and four spent time in the blood bin.
Scrum-half Stephen Myler scored 22 of their points with a try and nine goals from as many attempts but the victory platform was laid by a dominant pack in which Shane Millard, Terry O?Connor and John Stankevitch were outstanding.
Wakefield, who have won just one of their last five matches, suffered an early blow with the loss of forward David Wrench with a badly-smashed face, the result of collision with team-mate Darrell Griffin.
Simon Finnigan (Widnes), Michael Korkidas (Wakefield) and Sid Domic (Wakefield) were also forced into the blood bin during a ferocious half which began with a flare-up.
Stankevitch was shown the yellow card after only 90 seconds following a spat with Korkidas but the Vikings still managed to score the game?s first two tries while down to 12 men.
O?Connor crashed over from Owen Craigie?s inside pass and influential skipper Millard fashioned another score for loose forward Simon Finnigan. Myler landed both conversions to put his side 12-0 up but the Wildcats hit back with two tries in four minutes from winger Colum Halpenny.
The Australian marked his return from a six-week lay-off by touching down straight from a scrum, after smart work by loose forward Rob Spicer, and then collected a high kick from scrum-half Ben Jeffries to register his second.
Undeterred, Widnes continued to bely their League position by producing some enterprising rugby and Wakefield struggled against their continued offloads.
Former Wakefield centre Adam Hughes took an inside ball from impressive second rower Sala Fa?alogo on 20 minutes and Myler stretched his side?s lead to 20-10 with a conversion and penalty.
The home side were down to 12 men with Griffin sin-binned for a professional foul on 26 minutes and they went further behind when Domic was deceived by a wicked bounce from Craigie?s kick, allowing Myler an easy try.
Wakefield kept themselves in touch when Jeffries and Steve Snitch carved out a try for French international Olivier Elima, to which Jamie Rooney added his second goal.
But the lively Vikings added a fifth try just before half-time, with centre Aaron Moule forcing his way over at the corner, and Myler extended his side?s lead to 34-16 early in the second half with a second penalty, his seventh success from as many attempts.
Wakefield scored a fourth try when Rooney supported a break by Jeffries and he kicked his third goal, but their hopes ended when Widnes full-back Gary Connolly rolled back the years with a brilliant tackle to deny Domic in full flight for the line.
Vikings substitute Mark Smith then made his mark with two tries in 15 minutes and Myler maintained his 100% record with the boot to stretch his side?s lead to 46-22.
Korkidas became the third player to be sin-binned when he was punished for holding down on 63 minutes but the 12-man Wildcats scored two tries in his absence to give the home fans a flicker of hope.
Demetrio grabbed an interception try against his old club and Jeffries scythed through the visitors defence for their sixth try. But Craigie eased any fears the Vikings might have had with a drop goal as they comfortably held on for victory.
Wakefield: M. Field, Halpenny, Demetriou, Domic, Tadulala, Rooney, Jeffries, Griffin, March, Korkidas, Wrench, Elima, Spicer. Replacements: J. Field, Snitch, Kirk, Feather. Widnes: Connolly, Emelio, Moule, Hughes, Viane, Craigie, Myler, O'Connor, Millard, Stankevitch, Fa-alogo, Frame, Finnigan. Replacements: O'Neill, Hulse, Whitaker, Smith.
Wakefield: (16) 34. Tries: Halpenny 2, Elima, Rooney, Demetriou, Jeffries. Goals: Rooney 5. Widnes: (32) 47. Tries: O'Connor, Finnigan, Hughes, Myler, Moule, Smith 2. Goals: Myler 9. Drop Goals: Craigie.
Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens) Att: 3,822
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Giants defeat faltering Broncos
Centre Nero opened the scoring after five minutes when he brushed off Jon Wells to score the opener, with Michael de Vere adding the goal. Winger Wells made amends when he finished off an excellent move to score in the corner.
De Vere?s penalty edged Huddersfield back in front, but the game began to swing back London?s way as the impressive Thomas Leuluai perfectly weighted a kick to create a try for substitute Tyrone Smith.
Paul Sykes?s goal gave London the lead for the first time, but it did not last long, as De Vere?s superb dummy and break created a score for Giants winger Stuart Danlan.
But, incredibly, the see-saw match swung back the visitors? way as the Broncos superbly kept the ball alive on the sixth tackle for winger Nick Bradley-Qualilawa to score, with Sykes?s goal giving the home side the half-time lead.
Nine minutes into the second half, Nero showed great power and strength on a 20-metre run to the line, taking a clutch of defenders over with him as he scored in the corner. De Vere added the goal, and there was no stopping Australian Nero as he completed his hat-trick with a try from close range on 57 minutes.
Bradley-Qualilawa claimed his second try seven minutes later in controversial circumstances, as it looked like he touched the corner flag in the act of scoring, but referee Richard Silverwood allowed the try to stand.
Nero then turned creator, creating a gap for winger Hefin O?Hare to claim the next try, and when De Vere landed the towering touchline goal, it looked all over for London. Leuluai scored with seven minutes to go to set up a nervous finish.
But London?s best player turned villain with two minutes to go as Chris Thorman intercepted his kick on the sixth to go in under the posts and condemn London to yet another defeat, with the excellent De Vere adding his fifth goal of the game to end a three-match losing run for the Giants.
Huddersfield: St Hilaire, O?Hare, Nero, De Vere, Donlan, Thorman, Gene, Crabtree, Drew, Jackson, Jones, Smith, Roarty. Replacements: March, Grayshon, Gannon, Clayton. London: McLinden, Wells, Sykes, O?Halloran, Bradley-Qalilawa, Dorn, Leuluai, Tookey, Highton, Armour, Haumono, Purdham, Hopkins. Replacements: Lolohea, Smith, Mbu, Trindall.
Huddersfield: (12) 34. Tries: Nero 3, Donlan, O'Hare, Thorman. Goals: De Vere 5. London: (16) 24. Tries: Wells, Smith, Bradley-Qalilawa 2, Leuluai. Goals: Sykes 2.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury) Att: 3,618
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Wolves fight back for victory
Warrington scored two late tries to stun Wigan 28-22 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and leapfrog the Warriors in the engage Super League. Danny Lima swung a tense game in the Wolves? favour with his second try of the match nine minutes from time before Nathan Wood intercepted Dennis Moran to wrap up the win.
Wigan had led by 10 points with an hour gone after tries from Martin Aspinwall, Danny Tickle and Moran but Warrington were never out of the game. Mike Wainwright and Logan Swann also crossed for the Wolves with Chris Bridge kicking four goals.
Wigan had been lucky not to fall behind in the opening few minutes after Jerry Seuseu knocked on from a Kevin Brown pass in front of his own posts after the kick-off.
The Wolves pressed hard for six tackles but Wigan repelled the threat and claimed the lead with a strange try from Aspinwall after five minutes.
Warrington?s players stopped after Stephen Wild appeared to knock on but referee Ashley Klein felt a Wolves hand had been involved and allowed play to go on. Aspinwall casually trotted in behind the posts and Danny Tickle added the easy conversion.
Warrington hit back midway through the first half when Wainwright took a superb Wood pass at speed and cut inside to touch down for a try converted by Bridge.
Poor defending however allowed the visitors to reclaim the lead just three minutes later as Tickle spotted a gap from dummy-half and charged for the line. Warrington were too slow to react and Tickle crashed over for four points he had no problem improving to six.
Warrington responded again to level the scores at 12-12 at half-time after Bridge powered to the line and Danny Lima sneaked off from dummy-half. Bridge again added the extras.
The second half was a tight affair but Wigan gained the initiative with two penalties from Tickle. They increased their lead to 10 just before the hour when Brown found a gap and sent Moran over to score.
Tickle?s conversion appeared to give Wigan a healthy cushion but Warrington were not done and got themselves straight back into the game as Swann cut in from the right for his side?s third try.
Swann?s score gave Warrington a momentum that led to Lima?s second with 71 minutes on the clock. Lima powered over from close range and, with Bridge adding his third goal, the Wolves had the lead for the first time in the match.
Wigan could sense the game slipping away and with time running out, Moran floated a desperate pass out wide. Wood intercepted and raced away to put the seal on a fine fightback. Bridge?s missed conversion was his first failed attempt of the afternoon but the Wolves had done enough and held on in the face of late Wigan pressure.
Wigan winger Brett Dallas thought he had claimed what would have been a dramatic try in stoppage time but Klein felt he did not get the ball over the line.
Warrington: Grose, Faa?fili, M. Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Gaskell, Bridge, N. Wood, Leikvoll, Clarke, Hilton, Swann, Wainwright, Westwood. Replacements: M. Gleeson, P. Wood, Lima, Noone. Wigan: Brown, Dallas, Vaealiki, Aspinwall, Carney, Orr, Moran, Seu Seu, Newton, Guisset, Hansen, Wild, Tickle. Replacements: Godwin, Allen, McDonald, Sculthorpe.
Warrington: (12) 28. Tries: Wainwright, Lima 2, Swann, N. Wood. Goals: Bridge 4. Wigan: (12) 22. Tries: Aspinwall, Tickle, Moran. Goals: Tickle 5.
Referee: Ashley Klein (London) Att: 12,790
- - - - - Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for another excellent article.