Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
A look across the weekend action from our Northern Hemisphere correspondent Simon Reuben as Round 14 of the First Utility Super League was played out.
Below we look at how Round 14 played out...
Injury hit Wigan continued thier impressive from with a strong win over Salford Red Devils at the A.J. Bell Stadium.
After a tremendous win over League leader Leeds Rhinos at the Magic Weekend, Shaun Wane's Wigan were again down to the bare bones with no fewer than 9 regulars unavailable due to injury.
Salford with a sprinkling of ex Wiganers and former assistance Iestyn Harris, who for the first time would coach against his mentor, fancied thier chances but after dominating the possession had Full-Back Greg Eden held up over the line and had a try chalked off for obstruction by the video referee.
Both teams continued to go at each other and this time Dan Sarginson had a try disallowed by the video referee as the Warriors gained the confidence, the deadlock was finally broken with one of the last plays of the first half.
With less than thirty second left on the clock Matty Smith kicked ahead on the last tackle and in support was John Bateman who collected the ball and slid over the line. Smith converted to make it 6-0 to the visitors.
Know in control the third Warriors soon arrive when young Full-Back Ryan Hampshire brilliantly setup follow teenager Joe Burgess to slide in at the left hand corner. Smith kicked the extras and then kicked a one-pointer to make it 19-0 after 71 minutes.
The icing on the cake came soon after when Wigan moved the ball out wide and Burgess showed real pace to leave everybody in his wake to touchdown, once again made mo mistake with the extras and when it looked like that Salford would be shutout after receiving a penalty Meli scored a late consolation.
Before the game there was a series of thundery showers which made for difficult handling conditions on a greasy surface.
Hull went closest to breaking the deadlock in the first quarter when Gareth Ellis was held up over the line by ex Hull winger Tom Briscoe and having most of the ball, Leeds broke the deadlock in the 24th minute when Ryan Hall's got the ball out of the tackle for Joel Moon to score in the left hand corner.
Kevin Sinfield converted from the touchline to give Leeds a 6-0 lead and this was the only points of the first half.
Sinfield added the extras and a penalty to give the hosts a 14-0 lead going into the final ten minutes of the game. Ward capped off a dream debut as he pounced on an error from Kirk Yeaman to end any hope for The Black and Whites.
Hull, who offered little in attack , gained a consolation in the last minute when Jamie Shaul got over the line but this could not prevent them from going down to a fourth successive defeat.
For the Rhinos they cemented top spot and they remained one point ahead of second place St Helens.
After suffering a heavy loss to Warrington last Sunday, veteran player Paul Wellens labelled his St Helens side as "embarrassing" as they looked to get up and running against form side Huddersfield Giants.
James Roby then broke out of his own half to get Lance Hohaia and the third score inside the first fifteen minutes soon followed as Wellens finished off a half-break from Walsh, who kicked three from three to make it 18-0.
On 17 minutes Huddersfield got back into the game thanks to Larne Patrick after he charged onto Danny Brough's pass ten metres out. But this was a short-lived comeback as winger Matty Dawson added a fourth try for the hosts who led 22-6 at the interval.
Both tries exchanged touchdowns early into the second half. First a knock-on by Jason Chan inside his own half gifted Saints the ball and they made the most of it, with Wilkin going over the line. Winger Ben Blackmore scored the Giants four pointer after good work by Leroy Cudjoe.
In the last fifteen minutes Wheeler grabbed his second try and Cudjoe pounced on a handling error at the other end to enable Blackmore to make it a double.
However, Saints had the last say with the ever impressive Walsh kicking a last minute drop goal to keep his side just one point behind League Leaders Leeds Rhinos.
Catalan Dragons moved up the table with a comprehensive win over second bottom Bradford Bulls at the Gilbert Brutus Stadium in Perpignan.
Ten minutes later Lee Gaskell and Jamie Foster allowed a Bosc kick to bounce and former Bull Elliott Whitehead picked up the loose ball to make the duo pay.
Catalan then added further misery on the Bulls as from the kick-off Michael Oldfield caught the ball and slipped past Danny Addy and Adrian Purtell to go the full length of the field and score. Bosc kicked the goal as the Frenchside led 18-0 at the break.
It did not take long after the resumption for try number four to follow as Ben Pomeroy offloaded to the supporting Escare who made it a double
Michael Simon was the next to get on the scoresheet after good work Leon Pryce. Finally the Bulls travelling supporters had something to cheer as Foster took Gaskell pass to score out wide but this was as good as it got.
Pryce continued the home scoring by breaking clear and this led to Daryl Millard scoring try number six. Pryce then got in on the act against his former side before Taia completed proceedings by collecting a chip from Bosc, who added two more conversions to round off a resounding win for the Dragons
Both sides came into this one on the back of good performance at the Etihad Stadium last week and it was the Tigers who opened the scoring as inform centre Michael Shenton got on the end of Marc Sneyd's kick.
The second-half started with Castleford putting their foot firmly on the accelerator as they blew Widnes away with three try burst in the opening ten minutes. Jack Owens fumbling possession under his own posts, allowing Scott Wheeldon to pick up the loose ball before crashing over, Paddy Flynn and Castleford's Justin Carney were sin-binned for fighting.
London got some ball and reduced the arrears through Denny Solomona after he collected a short pass from Scott Moore. But scores from Adam Walker and Ade Gardner before the interval gave the hosts a useful 22-4 lead.
The Broncos made a good start to the second half and hit back with two tries. On loan Leeds forward Alex Foster got on the end of a Josh Drinkwater kick to cross and good work from James Cunningham got Foster over for his second as the gap was down to 22-16.
However, the Londoners fell apart in the final quarter as with poor defending they coincided fiver unanswered tries. Kevin Larroyer got things underway before Gardner and a brace by Craig Hall ended any hoped the visitors.
In the last minute of the game Hodgson heaped more misery on the Broncos as they suffered another heavy loss to remain at the bottom of the table on zero points.
On a bit of a roll, Warrington were looking thier good run of from by getting past third from bottom Wakefield Wildcats.
Wakefield started well and took the game to Warrington, but the visitors held firm and hit back with a breakaway try from Stefan Ratchford.
The next scored did not arrive until the final minute of the first half when young forward Ben Currie hit the hosts with two tries in as many minutes to give the Wolves an 18-0 lead at the break.
Lucas Walshaw finally produced a response on 54 minutes as Wakefield scored a consolation but normal service resumed when Richard Myler marked his return from a shoulder injury by creating a try for ex Wildcat Ryan Atkins
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