First Utility Super League XIX Round 23 Review

First Utility Super League XIX Round 23 Review by Simon Reuben

Wigan Warriors got back on track with a thumping win over Salford Red Devils at the DW Stadium.

After suffering a shock defeat at relegated Bradford last week, Wigan coach Shaun Wane wanted a response and he made some changes with dual international Joel Tomkins given his second debut.

Matty Bowen broke the deadlock on 12 minutes as he got on the end of Matty Smith's kick. Salford then missed some chances and the Warriors took advantage of this by running two more scores in the final ten minutes of the first half.

Rangi Chase's ambitious short drop-out backfired as Anthony Gelling touchdown and then the centre provided the final pass for Josh Charnley to score the hosts third try as they led 16-0 at the interval.

Within two minutes of the re-start, Gelling scored a final individual try as the game got beyond Salford. But the visitors did not give up and Josh Griffin scored a consolation 18 minutes from time.

However, this only made the Warriors more determined as they blew Salford away with four tries in the final twelve minutes of the game.

Gelling scored his hat-trick and then teenager George Williams went on a 50-metre run, sidestepping and weaving his way to the line for a glorious solo try.

Tony Clubb and Smith rounded off the scoring with a richly-deserved try three minutes from the end as Wigan moved back to second spot on the ladder as Salford play-off hopes came to an end.

Wigan Warriors 45 (Gelling 3, Bowen, Charnley, Clubb, Smith and Williams tries. Smith 6 goals. Smith drop goal.) defeat Salford Red Devils 4 (J. Griffin try.) Att: 12,962

Warrington Wolves claimed the spoils with a narrow win over Catalan Dragons at the Gilbert Brutus Stadium in Perpignan.

After suffering two successive defeats, the Wolves needed the win to keep up thier hopes of a top two finish.

Michael Monaghan, returned from a long injury lay off and he got things underway with a fine solo effort after twelve minutes. It did not take long for the Dragons to get on terms as a good pass by Elliot Whitehead got Michael Oldfield over for the try.

Both sides then had difficulty in holding on to the ball and just two minutes before the break, Monaghan scooted away from dummy half to throw a miss pass out to Gene Ormsby, who crossed at the corner. Chris Bridge added the touchline effort as the visitors led 12-6.

Four minutes into the second half, Bridge added a penalty goal but Catalan then reduced the gap to two points as Gregory Mounis powered his way over the line from close range.

From the restart, The Dragons coughed up possession and this led to Rhys Evans scoring Warrington ‘ third try of the game

The Frenchside would not go way and hit back with Oldfield scoring his second try after the ball was put thorugh six pairs of hands.

Warrington made sure of the win 15 minutes from time, with a fortunate try as Gareth O'Brien's kick-through rebounded off Catalan's Ian Henderson straight into Stefan Ratchford's hands and he got ball out to Joel Monaghan for the easy score.

Oldfield setup a tense last few minutes by going over for his hat-trick and the Dragons could have won it had Ben Pomeroy not knocked on.

Warrington Wolves 26 (Evans, J. Monaghan, M. Monaghan and Ormsby tries. Bridge 5 goals.) defeat Catalan Dragons 24 (Oldfield 3 and Mounis tries. Bosc 4 goals.) Att: 7,000

Hull FC ended thier seven games run without a win by seeing off League Leaders St Helens at the KC Stadium.

Saints who were without any recognised half-back switched ex FC centre Jordan Tuner to pair up with Gary Wheeler.

St Helens were the better side in the opening quarter and took the lead when right winger Tom Makinson scooped up a wayward pass to score.

Mark Percival added the conversion to make it 6-0 but Hull gradually worked themselves back into the game and led by veteran half-back Richard Horne they turned things around as he twisted and turned out of a series of attempted tackles to level up the contest.

Six minutes before the break Tom Lineham forced his way over from dummy half close to the line and Westerman's second goal made it 12-6 in favour of the hosts.

The early stages of the second half was all Saints and  ex Black and White back-rower Willie Manu slipped out a superb pass to get skipper Paul Wellens over for his side's second try, which enabled him to reach 1,000 points for the club.

Percival's second conversion tied the scores but this was as good as it got for the visitors as FC began to dominate.

On the hour mark Horne created the position from which prop Mickey Paea muscled his way over the line from close range.

Joe Westerman clinched the win with a penalty and a drop goal as despite the defeat St Helens stayed top of the league after Leeds shock loss at home to Bradford.

Hull FC 19 (Horne, Lineham and Paea tries. Westerman 3 goals. Westerman drop goal.) defeat St Helens 12 (Makinson and Wellens tries. Percival goal.) Att: 10,214

Relegated Bradford claimed a late shock win over great rivals Leeds Rhinos at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

Matches between the two neighbours were season highlights through the early days of the summer era but for this would be the last battle for some times as the poor Bulls lost their place in the Super League a few weeks ago.

With their big Challenge Cup Semi-final next week, Leeds rested a number of players and the game had very little quality as both sides struggled in the damp conditions to hold on to the ball.

On-loan Salford winger Danny Williams, a many of the former Rhinos in the Bulls side, opened the scoring when he made the most of a mistake by Tom Briscoe to touch down

Leeds got back on terms when big prop Brad Singleton charged down the field and this resulted in Mitch Achurch stretching out to score.

The hosts looked to be in again when Josh Walters galloped towards the Bradford line after pouncing on a Bulls mistake in his own 20, but he was hauled down by Elliot Kear. Adam Sidlow was sin-binned for preventing Walters from getting a quick play of the ball.

Ben Jones-Bishop hobbled off with a leg injury as the Rhinos did not make the extra man count as poor opening minutes ended at 4-4.

The second period got off to a promising start as Sidlow and Rob Burrow both made good breaks, but it was another error which led to the next score, Tom Briscoe again spilling a kick, this time allowing another ex Leeds player Luke Gale to tap ahead and touchdown.

It was Leeds' turn to profit from a mistake next, Brett Delaney picking up close to the Bulls line after Zak Hardaker's pass had gone to ground before going over.

Bradford edged ahead once more when Gale slotted over a penalty but the home side re-took the lead as Luke Briscoe scored a scrappy try but the Bulls, after thier win over Wigan last week, would not go away and won the game when Lee Gaskell stepped his way to the line to give Bradford their first win over the Rhinos in six attempts and stop thier opponents going top of the table.

Bradford Bulls 20 (Gale, Gaskell and Williams tries. Gale 4 goals.) defeat Leeds Rhinos 14 (Achurch, Delaney and L. Briscoe tries. Hardaker goal.) Att: 16,009

Castleford Tigers brushed aside London Broncos at The Mend-A-Horse Jungle to keep up the pressure on the top three.

After withstanding The Tigers early pressure, London took the lead on nine minutes when Olsi Krasniqi scored under the posts.

It was soon 6-6 as a quick twenty restart by Kirk Dixon led to Luke Dorn racing in from 70-meters out.

Erjon Dollapi restored the visitors lead as he crashed over the line but this was as good as it got for the men from the capital as Castleford upped the ante.

Power house winger Justin Carney then helped himself to a quickfire hat-trick in just nine minutes. The first came courtesy of a Liam Finn kick and the next thanks to good work by Marc Sneyd.

The treble arrived as Carney got his usual barnstorming try and there was still time for  Scott Wheeldon to score the hosts fifth try as they led 28-12 at the break.

It was a one-sided second half as the Tigers ran in seven further tries to rout the poor Broncos. Michael Shenton took a good pass from Sneyd to cross for the first then  Garreth Carvell powered his way over from close range and Frankie Mariano got on the outside of his man to touch down, before Dixon got in on the act after collecting Finn's clever kick.

 Dorn made it a double after good work by Ashley Gibson. Dixon added another and then Adam Milner took Cas past the sixty point barrier.

Mike McMeeken went over late on for the Broncos but the afternoon belonged to Castleford as they stretched their unbeaten run to six matches and moved to within two points of League Leaders St Helens.

Castleford Tigers 64 (Carney 3, Dixon 2, Dorn 2, Carvell, Mariano, Milner, Shenton and Wheeldon tries. Sneyd 8 goals.) defeat London Broncos 18 (Dollapi, Krasniqi and McMeeken tries. Drinkwater 3 goals.) Att: 5,233

Huddersfield Giants ended the play-off hopes of the Wakefield Wildcats with a comprehensive win at The Rapid Solicitors Stadium.

After, the Wildcats put the kick-off straight into touch, the visitors scored inside their first set, with half-backs Luke Robinson and Danny Brough combining to play in Joe Wardle.

On ten minutes Shaun Lunt's superb short pass got prop Eorl Crabtree charging over for  the Giants second try and in this one-sided first half, Lunt got on the scoresheet himself by scoring  from dummy half close to the line.

Substitute teenager Kruise Leeming, was quickly into the action, taking Robinson's pass to score his first try of the season after Sammut had dropped Brough's high kick.

Jermaine McGillvary sprinted 95 metres for an opportunist try as the Giants led 32-0 at the interval.

Sammut scored one try four minutes into the second half, which he converted and on 57 minutes Paul McShane got stand-off Paul Sykes through a big gap in the Huddersfield defence and Sammut kicked his second goal.

Jake Connor scored the Giants only try of an even second half and despite being well beaten the Wildcats had the last say when second rower Danny Kirmond got out an offload that enabled Sammut to score his second try of the game.

Huddersfield Giants 36 (Connor, Crabtree, Kopczak, Leeming, Lunt and Wardle tries. Brough 4 goals.) defeat Wakefield Wildcats 18 (Sammut 2 and Sykes tries. Sammut 3 goals.) Att: 4,317

Widnes Vikings cemented eight spot with a vital win over play-off rivals Hull KR at the Select Security Stadium.

 With only one point separating the two teams beforehand, it was always going to be tight contest as a top eight place was at stake.

The Vikings hit the front after ten minutes as Jack Owens latched onto a Kevin Brown cross-field kick. Danny Tickle missed the conversion.

It took another thirteen minutes for Rovers to get back on terms and the try was setup by main playmaker Travis Burns who linked up with James Green to get Kris Keating over the line.

Danny Galea sent in Chris Dean for a sweeping Widnes try just on half time and with Tickle adding the extras the Vikings held a narrow 10-4 lead.

It was a dream start to the second half for the hosts as they scored twice in the opening ten minutes. Joe Mellor finished off a superb break from Dave Allen and then great work by Dean led to Brown extending Widnes advantage to 20-4.

Hull KR were given a lifeline on  50 minutes as a break from  Jason Chan gave them some hope, but this was short lived as both Stefan Marsh and Rhys Hanbury put the game to bed as Widnes moved three points clear of Rovers with just four games left in the regular season.

Widnes Vikings 28 (Brown, Dean, Hanbury, Marsh, Mellor and Owens tries. Tickle 2 goals.) defeat Hull KR 10 (Chan and Keating tries. Burns goal.) Att: 5,345

First Utility Super League Ladder after Round 23

 

Team

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

For

Against

Points

1

St Helens

23

17

0

6

715

479

34

2

Wigan Warriors

23

16

0

7

765

365

32

3

Leeds Rhinos

23

15

2

6

612

323

32

4

Castleford Tigers

23

15

2

6

740

467

32

5

Warrington Wolves

23

15

0

8

662

445

30

6

Huddersfield Giants

23

14

2

7

678

544

30

7

Catalan Dragons

23

11

1

11

605

609

23

8

Widnes Vikings

23

11

1

11

535

639

23

9

Hull KR

23

9

2

12

557

573

20

10

Wakefield Wildcats

23

9

1

13

459

636

19

11

Hull FC

23

8

2

13

545

495

18

12

Salford Red Devils

23

8

1

14

474

599

17

13

Bradford Bulls

23

6

0

17

402

856

6

14

London Broncos

23

0

0

23

332

1051

0

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