Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Round 2 of the First Utility Super League saw three teams - St Helens, Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers - keep up their 100% record.
Warrington still remains without points, and Hull KR snatched a dramatic late draw at Huddersfield.
Below we review how all the games went:-
Wakefield Wildcats 10
Tries: Fox, Lauitiiti
Bradford Bulls 23
Tries: Purtell, Kearney, George, O’Brien
Goals: Foster 3
Drop Goal: Gayle
After another difficult week off the field Bradford Bulls got off the mark with a good win over Wakefield Wildcats at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
Jarrod Sammut was given his Wakefield debut off the bench after joining at the end of Last week from their opponents.
But despite losing half-back Dean Gaskell early on, the Bulls dominated the possession and finally the pressure told as Adrian Purtell opened the scoring after 11 minutes.
Wakefield got some ball and good play by Dean Collis led to Peter Fox levelling thins up as he side-stepped his way over the line.
Sammut's got on to the field but he made a mistake by knocking-on and moments later Bradford regained the lead when Brett Kearney twisted his away over the line after good work by Luke Gale. Jamie Foster added the extras as the Bulls led 10-4 at the interval.
The errors started creep in at the start of the second half and it was one by Reece Lyn which led to Luke George breaking clear and grabbing the all important touchdown as the visitors took their lead up to 16-4
Needing to score next, the Wildcats delivered as big Ali Lauitiiti powered his way over the line. Sammut added the conversion to cut the deficit to just 6 points.
It was now all Wakefield but good defensive work by Bradford kept the hosts out and the tide turned as young hooker Adam O'Brien went down the blind side to touchdown as effectively end any hope for the home side.
Two minutes from time the Bulls made absolutely sure of the game as Gale tagged on a one-pointer to give the Odsal side a much needed two points and the Wildcats suffered their second successive loss.
Leeds Rhinos 18
Tries: Hardaker 2, Briscoe
Goals: Sinfield 3
Warrington Wolves 12
Tries: J. Monaghan, Westwood
Goals: Ratchford 2
Leeds Rhinos withstood a late Warrington Wolves fightback to claim a hard-fought win at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
Both sides had different games last week, for Leeds it was a convincing win at Hull KR and for Warrington a crushing defeat at home to local rivals Saints.
As last week, the Wolves opened the scoring through winger Joel Monaghan, who leaped high to collect Gareth O'Brien's high kick. Stefan Ratchford made no mistake with the extras. To make it 6-0 after 10 minutes.
Leeds then began to have all the possession and finally the visitors cracked as Tom Briscoe, on his home debut, smart kick was seized on by Zack Hardaker midway through the first half to level things up.
Ryan Hall and Hardaker both came desperately close to scoring but again the pressure told just before the break. Hardaker‘s superb play got Briscoe thorugh a hole and in spectacular style the England Winger wrong-footing Ratchford and swatted off Ben Currie's last-ditch effort to score next to the posts.
Sinfield added the goal as the home side went into half-time with a narrow 12-6 advantage.
The Wolves were much better in the second half and took the game to Leeds. Ratchford looked a certain scored when he broke through the line but a superb last ditch tackle from Hardaker stopped the Full-back in his tracks.
Hardaker then went down the other end and put the Rhinos into an 18-6 lead by scything through the Wolves defence to score his second try on 56 minutes. Sinfield added his third goal in as many attempts.
However, there would be a grandstand finish as England second rower Ben Westwood forced his way over from close range. Ratchford's second goal cut the gap to just six points and the Wolves could have snatched a draw in the dying minutes as Gareth O'Brien was brought down just short of the line.
St Helens 34
Tries: Roby 2, Soliola, Lomax, Makinson, Percival
Goals: Walsh 5
Hull FC 22
Tries: Paea, Whiting, Ellis, Houghton
Goals: Crooks 3
St Helens made it two from two with a strong second half performance to see off Hull FC at Langtree Park.
This game was a the first to be played for the new Steve Prescott cup set up in memory of the former England and Ireland full-back who played for both clubs and lost his battle with cancer last year. The aggregate winner from the two league games between the clubs would claim the trophy annually.
Hull were quick off the mark and took the lead when Mickey Paea charged over after just three minutes. Ben Crooks was wide with the conversion.
It did not long for the hosts to hit back as England Hooker James Roby side-stepped his way over the line.
Joe Westerman was at the heart of The Black and Whites second score. He first stole possession and then a superb offload to sent Richard Whiting in for a simple try.
Crooks, who missed six goals last week, was finally on target as the East Yorkshire side held a 10-6 advantage in tight contest at the break.
Saints made a strong start to the second half, as they took control of the contest. Sia Soliola, got things underway by powering his way over the try line. Luke Walsh added the goal to make it 12-10.
Jon Wilkin then set up Jonnie Lomax with a superb reverse kick to the left corner as the hosts increased their lead to eight points.
The third try of the half soon followed as good work by Soliola sent Roby under the posts for his second try of the game.
Hull responded with Aaron Heremaia putting Gareth Ellis over, but this was just a consolation as Tommy Makinson showed great skill by diving in air to plant the ball down out wide.
Mark Percival scored St Helens sixth try with just under four minutes remaining, but at least the visitors had the final word with Danny Houghton touching down in the dying seconds but it was not enough to deny Saints the points.
London Broncos 18
Tries: Moore, Griffin, McMeeken
Goals: Gigot 3
Salford Red Devils 44
Tries: Hansen 2, Williams, Fages 2, Smith, Mullaney, Meli
Goals: Meli 2, Mullaney 3, Smith
The Broncos kept the same team which were put to the sword by Widnes, as they played their first game at their new home ground The Hive home to Barnet FC.
Salford were forced into a couple of changes as they were without the injured Adrian Morley and Rangi Chase.
It was the Red Devils who looked likely scores as Theo Fages broke clear early on, only for the ball to go to ground
And it was the Londoners who struck first blow, as ex Cowboy Hooker Scott Moore capitalised on Jake Mullaney’ mistake to open the scoring on 12 minutes.
It took just four minutes for the Red Devils to get on terms. Harrison Hansen went thorugh a huge gap to score a simple touchdown and then moments later Danny Williams scampered over in the corner after a flowing move involving Lama Tasi and Francis Meli.
Now one way traffic, try number three arrived on 27 minutes and it was Hansen again who got on the end of Tim Smith’s inch perfect kick.
Two more four pointers came just before the break from Fages and Smith to give the visitors a 26-6 interval lead.
Seconds after the resumption there was a flare up and Salford's Gareth Hock was sent to the sin-bin after an altercation with London's James Cunningham.
But the Londoners were unable to make the extra man count as Salford comfortably kept the game under control and even getting a score themselves when Mullaney made amends for his earlier error by sprinting over the line to touchdown next to the uprights.
Mullaney then broke clean through to setup the next try this time for Francis Meli.
George Griffin burrowing over from close range to pull one back for the hosts and there was still time for Fages to touch down, but was the Broncos Mike McMeeken who had the final say as he powered his way over the line with seconds remaining.
So the New Salford era has started with back-to-back wins and for the poor relegation favourites, the London Broncos it’s two heavy defeats.
Castleford Tigers 32
Tries: Carney 3, Dixon, Tansey, Clark
Goals: Dixon, Sneyd 3
Catalan Dragons 6
Castleford Tigers maintained their 100% record with a big win over Catalan Dragons at the MAH Jungle.
After a good win at Bradford, last week, Castleford were looking for the same as they opened their home campaign against the Dragons who were hoping to go one better than their narrow loss at Hull.
The Tigers enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and deservedly took the lead on eight minutes when Marc Sneyd re-gathered his own high kick and sent out a long pass out for the powerful Justin Carney to touchdown.
It took until the 22nd minute for the next score and it came from a Weller Hauraki flick pass out to Kirk Dixon who finished in the corner.
Five minutes later the French side got back into the game. Morgan Escare raced clear to score after good work by Leon Pryce. Scott Dureau added the extras to make it 8-6.
In the last minutes of the first half, both sides were reduced to 12 men after a flare up in which Eloi Pelissier and Scott Wheeldon were sent to the sin-bin.
The home side made it 12-6 at the break when Michael Shenton sent Carney away with only seconds remaining.
Four minutes into the second half Castleford were in again when Jordan Tansey touchdown underneath the posts. Sneyd took over the kicking duties and his two goals took the lead up to 14 points which was two much for Catalan to claw back.
Next on the scoresheet was hooker Daryl Clark, who collected Scott Dureau's kick on halfway and sprinted clear for a spectacular try.
Carney finished proceedings off by collecting his hat-trick on 77-minutes as the Tigers claimed an impressive win.
Huddersfield Giants 24
Tries: Brough, Robinson 2, Wood
Goals: Brough 4
Hull KR 24
Tries: Caro, Cox, Eden, Hodgson
Goals: Burns 4
Hull KR stunned Huddersfield Giants by claiming a dramatic draw with two tries in the final minute of the game at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Giants were back in action after having a week off due to Wigan’s visit down under. Rovers were hoping for much better after last week’s heavy home loss at the hands of the Rhinos.
Danny Brough scored the games first try on 12 minutes, by finishing off a break down the middle by Jermaine McGillvary's burst down the middle and minutes later it was 10-0 as a pass out of the tackle by Brett Ferres helped set up scrum-half Luke Robinson for the four pointer.
Soon after a mass brawl broke out and both teams were reduced to twelve men as
Jason Chan and Justin were shown Yellow card. Then the Giants were down to eleven as Joe Wardle was dispatched to the Sin-bin for a professional foul.
Rovers could not make the numbers count and Kyle Wood twisted out of a tackle to make it 16-0 with Brough’s second goal.
The game was then held up for nine minutes while Hull KR’s Jamie Langley was treated on the pitch before being carried off on a stretcher.
On 31 minutes after strong work from substitute Adam Walker, the visitors finally got on the scoreboard with Omari Caro going over in the corner.
Brough added another penalty before Robinson scored his second try on the stroke of half-time as Huddersfield opened up a strong 24-6 lead.
Shortly after the resumption Rovers were back in contention as Jordan Cox stretched out for the line and Travis Burns added the goal.
Huddersfield had the rest of game under control until there would be a dramatic final twist with the clock winding down.
Hodgson started things off by finishing off full-back Greg Eden's high kick which caused confusion in the Giants defence, and there was just enough time for Caro to show his speed as he raced way from 60 metres out.
Ex Panther Burns coolly kicked his fourth goal of the game to snatch a point at the death for the side from East Yorkshire.