First Utility Super League - Round 18 Review

Round 18 saw league leaders St Helens get the better of great rivals Wigan Warriors in a tight local derby.

Three other games went down to the final wire as both London Broncos and Bradford Bulls remained adrift at the wrong end of the table.

Have a look below at how everything panned out:-

Hull KR 22

Tries: D. Hodgson 2, Welham, Gardner
Goals: Burns 3

Huddersfield Giants 26

Tries: Cudjoe, Ta'ai, Crabtree, Patrick 2
Goals: Brough 3

Att: 8,953

Huddersfield Giants were made to work all the way as they saw off Hull KR at the KC Lightstream Stadium to make it nine wins in 10 games.

Rovers, were once again down on numbers as they took on the inform Giants and the hosts made the most of a mistake by Brett Ferres when quick passing created the try for David Hodgson after four minutes.

The visitors soon got on terms as Danny Brough collected his chip over the Rovers defence and kicked again for winger Jermaine McGillvary to put Leroy Cudjoe over the line.

In this see-saw half full of end-to-end action, Rovers took the lead with a Kris Welham try just before the twenty minute only for big Huddersfield second rower Ukuma Ta'ai to power over the line shortly later.

There was still time for both sides to exchange touchdowns. Ade Gardner got the one for the Hosts as Kris Keating's high kick caused havoc in the visitors defence.

Eight minutes before the break Eorl Crabtree was put through a gap by Luke Robinson and sidestepped his way past Greg Eden to score.

Brough kicked the extras to make it 16-14, but for the fourth time in the first half Travis Burns tied up the scores with a late penalty goal.

Huddersfield lost Ferres with a back injury for the second half but this did not hamper them as Larne Patrick helped himself to a brace as the West Yorkshire side took control by opening up a 26-16 lead.

Hull KR grabbed a consolation score in the final minute when David Hodgson gathered Keating's kick for his second try and Travis Burns converted from the touchline but it was just too late as the Giants held on for the points.

Wigan Warriors 12

Tries: Burgess, Charnley 2

St Helens 16

Tries: Makinson 2, Wellens
Goals: Makinson 2

Att: 20,224

St Helens maintained top spot with a hard-fought win over great rivals Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium.

Wigan, who were looking to put last week's defeat at Wakefield right, gave a debut to teenage half-back Jamie Doran in the absence of seven first-choice players through injury and suspension.

On the other side St Helens were hoping to gain some revenge for their home defeat on Good Friday by their great rivals.

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After a ferocious start, Wigan took the lead on eight minutes when left winger Joe Burgess won the race to Sam Powell's perfectly-weighted kick to the corner.

Matty Smith was unable to convert and Saints grew in confidence and they turned pressure into points when a superb one-handed pass out of the tackle by second rower Mark Flanagan got Tommy Makinson over in the corner for an unconverted try.

St Helens then lost talisman half-back Luke Walsh to injury but this did not hinder them as both sided cancelled each other out to leave the Half-time score as 4—4.

It took just four minutes after the restart for the visitors to take the lead for the first time in the game. Jon Wilkin put up a high kick and the veteran Saints Skipper Paul Wellens was on hand to gather the loose ball and go past Dan Sarginson to score

As the game continued at a high tempo the next score came just before the hour mark as Matty Bowen ‘ cut-out pass sent Josh Charnley over the line.

Saints edged back in front soon after when Mark Percival was successful with a penalty goal and the lead was soon up to 16-8 when good work by Mose Masoe led to Makinson touchdown for his second try of the game.

Percival's touchline conversion put two scores between the teams and despite a late try from Charnley it was enough for St Helens to avenge their Good Friday loss and remain at the top of the First Utility Super League.

London Broncos 24

Tries: Solomona, Greenwood, Vea, Cook
Goals: Drinkwater 4

Widnes Vikings 42

Tries: Ah Van, Cahill, Galea, Hanbury 2, Flynn 2
Goals: Mellor, Tickle 4, Ah Van 2

Att: 1,422

Widnes Vikings held on to eighth spot with a moral boosting win over London Broncos at The Hive.

After seeing an alarming dip in from, Denis Betts was confidence that Widnes would end their five match loosing run as they visited the winless Broncos.

Josh Drinkwater kicked a second minute penalty as the Londoners took the early lead but it was only short lived as the Vikings got into their stride.

Kevin Brown's chip over the top and Patrick Ah Van got on the end of the kick to score the games first try on nine minutes. Despite being in control it took a further 20 minutes for the next score and it came from Hep Cahill who charged onto an offload from Jon Clarke to touchdown underneath the posts.

Two minutes before the break Danny Galea added the third try for visitors but with the last play of the first half Drinkwater's kick got Denny Solomona over the line to make it 18-8 at the break.

Widnes started well after the resumption and it did not take long for Rhys Hanbury to score their fourth touchdown after good work by Ah Van. Paddy Flynn then broke through three tackles for simple try and then he made it a double by getting on the end of Brown ‘ kick to make it 36-8 after 66 minutes.

James Greenwood and Atelea Vea both scored tries in a minute of each other as the gap was down to sixteen points.

But Hanbury assured that Widnes would return to Cheshire with the points as he cut through the middle on 73 minutes. Broncos skipper Matty Cook did have the last say by scoring a last minute try as the Londoners suffered their 18 league defeat of the season.

Castleford Tigers 14

Tries: Carney, Webster
Goals: Sneyd 3

Salford Red Devils 10

Tries: Sau, Hock
Goal: Chase

Att: 5,937

Castleford Tigers snatched a win at the death over Salford Red Devils to get back to winning ways.

Since booking their place in the last four of the Challenge Cup, Castleford had suffered a dip in from losing their last two games and they were hoping to reverser this when they took on the Salford Red Devils who themselves were also in stuttering form.

Played in damp conditions as the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, the game never really got going as both teams were guilty of numerous handling errors.

Salford looked the more dangerous early on with the bulk of the possession but despite Rangi Chase-playing in his first return to his old stamping ground-pulling the strings it was the Tigers who would score the only points of a dour first half.

Liam Finn's high kick was not dealt with by Greg Johnson and on hand was prolific try scorer Justin Carney to touchdown. Marc Sneyd added the extras as the hosts led 6-0 and this turned out to be the score at the break.

Things continued much of the same after the restart until the hour mark when Sneyd kicked a penalty goal to give his side an 8 point lead.

However, Salford suddenly found some form and hit back with a two try burst in ten minutes to gain control. Carney spilled the ball carrying it away from defence; Junior Sa'u pounced and went over in the corner to get his side on the scoreboard.

Gareth Hock then barged his way over from close range right next to the posts and this gave Chase to simplest task of giving the Red Devils the lead 10-8.

But, in a final twist with just seconds remaining Castleford pinched the points as Daryl Clark created the chance for Jake Webster to score the match winning try.

Leeds Rhinos 32

Tries: Hall, Jones-Bishop, Walters, Moon 2, Ablett
Goals: Sutcliffe 4

Catalan Dragons 31

Tries: Escare, Taia 2, Pelisser, Millard
Goals: Williams 5
Drop Goal: Escare

Att: 13,888

Leeds Rhinos broke Catalan Dragons hearts by snatching a late win with the last kick of the game at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

Catalan arrive at Headingley on a five match unbeaten run and they were given a boost when influential Leeds Skipper Kevin Sinfield was absent due to a back injury.

The Frenchside made the early running and took the lead when Morgan Escare stepped past Ben Jones-Bishop after two minutes.

Ryan Hall finished off a sweeping move in the corner as the Rhinos opened their account. Ex St George Illawarra Dragon Sam Williams, making his first start for the visitors, added a penalty to stretch the lead to 8-4.

Jones-Bishop swooped on Williams' grubber kick and went the full length of the field as the home side levelled things up. Two tries in nine minutes gave Catalan some control, Williams was the architect of both touchdowns as he slipped the ball out of the tackle for Zeb Taia and hooker Eloi Pelissier.

Just before the interval Jamie Peacock ‘ short pass got Josh Walters over the line with Liam Sutcliffe adding his first goal to make it 20-14 at Half-time.

Taia then brushed off three defenders to score his second try three minutes into the second half, but the Rhinos would not go away and hit back with two tries in nine minutes to once again level things up at 24-24.

Centre Joel Moon got the first before second rower Carl Ablett somehow forced his way over from close range, despite the attention of three defenders.

On 65-minutes the Rhinos took the lead when a careless pass from Leon Pryce was gleefully snapped up by Moon who raced under the posts unopposed

Pryce soon made amends when he got the ball out of the tackle for Daryl Millard to go in for the Dragons' fifth try at the left hand corner. Williams landed the touchline conversion to make it 30-30 and three minutes from time Escare thought he had won it when he landed a one-pointer.

However, Catalan gave away possession from the restart when the ball failed to go 10 metres and, after conceding another penalty right at the end for obstruction while in possession, Sutcliffe booted the winning penalty goal after the final hooter, which condemned the French outfit to a ninth successive defeat at Headingley as the Rhinos moved within one-point of League Leaders St Helens.

Wakefield Wildcats 20

Tries: Mathers, Riley, Lyne, Scruton
Goals: Sykes 2

Hull FC 20

Tries: Sa, Horne, Yeaman 2
Goals: Abdull, Westerman

Att: 5,168

Hull FC claimed a draw with the last play of the game to deny Wakefield Wildcats at The Rapid Solicitors Stadium.

Wakefield on the back of wins against London and Wigan survived an early onslaught by Hull as the side from East Yorkshire spent the majority of the first quarter attacking the Wildcats but failed to make their dominance count.

It took until six minutes from the break for the deadlock to be broken and it was The Black and Whites who came up with try as Setaimata Sa showed good strength to touch down in the corner.

The home side responded soon after as Richard Mathers went through a gap to score. Paul Sykes added the extras as the team went into the interval all square at 6-6.

Seven minutes into the second half, Sa turned provider as his superb off-load got veteran Richard Horne over the line as Hull made it 10-6.

Tim Smith's high kick caused havoc to the Hull defence and Chris Riley pounced as the game was all square again but it was not for long as Scott Anderson dropped the ball from the restart and Jamie Saul played Kirk Yeaman in for the visitor's third try of the afternoon.

However, in end-to-end action the Wildcats were back on level terms again courtesy of a superb solo effort by ex Hull FC winger Rhys Lyne.

Paul McShane then edged the hosts in front eight minutes from time when he scored from dummy half, but in a final twist in this gripping game Hull snatched a point when Yeaman crossed in the left hand corner and Joe Westerman coolly kicked the goal from the touchline.

Warrington Wolves 50

Tries: Harrison, Atkins, O'Brien 2, Monaghan 2, Westwood, Ormsby, Evans
Goals: Ratchford 7

Bradford Bulls 24

Tries: Kearney, Purtell, Olbison, Pitts
Goal: Gale 4

Att: 9,003

Warrington Wolves made it a game to forget for new Bradford Bulls coach James Lowes as they ran in nine tries for a one-sided win at the H.J. Stadium.

Brett Kearney was back for the Bulls after a two month injury absence as they faced a Warrington side without Chris Bridge, Chris Hill, Trent Waterhouse, Richie Myler, Michael Monaghan and Ben Evans.

It did not take the inform Wolves to go ahead as Ben Harrison scored from close range after five minutes. Another try quickly followed as Mickey Higham's midfield break setup former Bull Ryan Atkins to plunge over. Stefan Ratchford added the simple goal to make it 10-0.

Next on the scoresheet was Gareth O'Brien as he took Ratchford' inside pass to touchdown but despite their dominance the hosts did not add to their score in the first half and it was Bradford who pulled one back just before the interval when Kearney supported Lee Gaskell's break .

Two minutes after the resumption Joel Monaghan leaped high to take Ratchford kick and extend the lead to 22-6 and more misery was to follow for the Bulls as Ben Westwood scored from short range.

Monaghan grabbed his second and then a fourth try in eleven minutes soon followed when

Gene Ormsby took the lead out to 38-6.

Adrian Purtell did manage a solo try for the Bulls on the hour before O'Brien shot over for his second try 5 minutes later.

Ratchford and Atkins then created a touchdown for Rhys Evans as the Wolves raked up fifty points but tries late on from Tom Olbison and Jay Pitts made the final scoreline more respectable.

First Utility Super League Ladder after Round 18

1St Helens18140454536028
2Leeds Rhinos18131450823927
3Wigan Warriors18120656131324
4Castleford Tigers18120655035724
5Warrington Wolves18120650032324
6Huddersfield Giants18112551240424
7Catalan Dragons1891847747219
8Widnes Vikings1891842751919
9Hull KR1872942145716
10Hull FC18711045835015
11Wakefield Wildcats18611136751013
12Salford Red Devils18511234348211
13Bradford Bulls1840142887042
14London Broncos1800182707370