First Utility Super League XIX - Round 9 Review

Round 9 of the First Utility Super League was part one of the double round Easter period where each team plays twice in three days.

St Helens saw their 100% record end at the hands of great rivals Wigan Warriors. Rovers edged past FC late on as they calmed the bragging rights in the Hull derby.

Elsewhere second place Leeds Rhinos eased past bottom of the table Bradford Bulls and both Huddersfield and Warrington got back to winning ways.

So below we review all the action:-

Bradford Bulls 6

Tries: Gaskell
Goals: Gale

Leeds Rhinos 46

Tries: Sinfield, Moon, McGuire, Hall 3, Sutcliffe, Watkins, Burrow
Goals: Sinfield 3, Hardaker 2

Att: 10,106

Leeds Rhinos claimed an easy win over local rivals Bradford Bulls in a one sided game at the Provident Stadium Odsal.

This used to be one of the biggest games in Super League but the Bulls are a shadow of the team which dominated the early years of the competition.

The Rhinos hit the ground running quickly and effectively killed off the game inside the first fourteen minutes when they ran in 4 unanswered tries to lead 20-4, as Bradford managed only two sets of possession.

Danny McGuire ‘ kick setup Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield to get things up and running after just three minutes. Ryan Hall then combined superbly with Joel Moon double the visitor's advantage.

Try number three duly followed as McGuire jinked his way over for a fine solo effort Hall was played in by Moon for another touchdown as it became far too easy for the men from Headingley.

After 22 minutes from an attacking kick by Rhinos full-back Zak Hardaker, the Bulls had some joy as stand-off Lee Gaskell collected the ball and raced 80-meters to score his first try for the club.

Luke Gale added the conversion to make it 20-6 after 22 minutes and that the score at the break.

However, it did not take long for Leeds to continue thier dominance as Hall added a quickfire brace to complete a hat trick as the score ballooned out to 30-6.

Bradford missed a clear-cut scoring opportunity when Kearney broke free from halfway only for the supporting Danny Bridge to drop the final pass.

The tempo was increased by the Rhinos and Liam Sutcliffe, who spent a month on loan to Bradford earlier in the season, got his name on the scoresheet.

Kallum Watkins added another before Rob Burrow-making his 400th appearance for Leeds - followed up Carl Ablett's break to round the scoring off as Leeds stayed in touch with League leaders St Helens as Bradford woes continue still 8 points off safety at the bottom of the table.

Hull KR 21

Tries: Larroyer, Weyman, Horne 2
Goals: Burns 2
Drop Goal: Hall

Hull FC 20

Tries: Rankin, Bowden, Houghton, Talanoa
Goals: Whiting 2

Att: 10,197

Hull KR claimed the bragging rights as they edged out cross city rivals Hull FC at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

Once again the Hull Derby lived up to its expectations. Rovers and FC came into the big one with great wins over Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield Giants respectively last week.

Hull took the game to Rovers and the early pressure told on 12 minutes when Jordan Rankin saw a gap and stretched out to score.

Rover hit back immediately after a great 40-20 by Travis Burns, moments later Kevin Larroyer levelled things up.

It took until 37 minutes before the next score arrived and it was the home side that got it as Mick Weyman went over from close range.

Burns added the extras as the team from the East side of Hull led 10-4 at the interval.

After the resumption it did not take long for Hull to get back on terms. Josh Bowden was on hand to score the try off a suspiciously forward pass from an offload by ex Red and White Liam Watts.

Both teams had tries chalked off by the video referee which setup an exciting final quarter of the game.

Enter ex Black and White Graeme Horner who helped himself two a quick-fire brace as Rovers led 20-10.

Danny Houghton burrowed over to give FC some hope and this end-to-end game was soon 20-20 as Kirk Yeaman sent Fetuli Talanoa over in the corner. Richard Whiting unable to add the extras and this led to a sensational finish.

With no time left on the clock Craig Hall claimed the win for Hull KR by kicking a late drop goal as the hosts winning run stretched to four games.

London Broncos 22

Tries: Caton-Brown 2, Mataitonga, Solomona
Goals: Drinkwater 3

Catalan Dragons 28

Tries: Oldfield, Taia, Barthau, Pelissier, Duport
Goals: Bosc 4

Att: 1,002

Catalan Dragons held off a late surge by the London Broncos to claim the points at The Hive.

The French visitors took only nine minutes to open the scoring as ex Manly Sea Eagle winger Michael Oldfield touched down in the corner after good work by Morgan Escare.

Good defence by Catalan kept London out and this led to quickfire scores around the half hour mark. Zeb Taia muscling his way over from close range after Escare wriggled out of a tackle. French international half back William Barthau then found a huge gap in the hosts defence to score next to the posts.

Two minutes from the break, Mason Caton-Brown reduced the gap to 18-4 as he took a pass from James Cunningham.

In the early stages of the second half, the Broncos lay siege to the Dragons line but they could not breach it and Eloi Pelissier stormed over from dummy-half to increase the visitors lead.

On 65 minutes, Vincent Duport squeezed over in the corner and this looked to have ended any hope for the hosts.

However, to their credit the Londoners did not throw the towel in and shocked Catalan by scoring three tries in the final ten minutes of the game.

Caton-Brown showed great speed to score the first then Nesi Mataitonga adding another moments later.

In a frantic finale Denny Solomona crossed in the corner but this was only a consolation for the winless Broncos as the French outfit claimed thier third win of the campaign.

St Helens 14

Tries: Makinson 2, Turner
Goals: Walsh

Wigan Warriors 33

Tries: O'Loughlin, Sarginson, Farrell 2, Burgess
Goals: Smith 6
Drop Goal: Smith

Att: 17,980

St Helens 100% record finally ended as Wigan Warriors ran out convincing winners at a packed Langtree Park.

After having three close battles recently, Saints put thier 100% record on the line against thier greatest rivals last year's double winners Wigan Warriors.

The house full signs were out at Langtree Park as the ground record was broken. It took Wigan just three minutes to open the scoring as a mistake by St Helens prop Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook was punished by Sean O'Loughlin who scored from close range.

Saints led by main playmaker Luke Walsh soon got back into the game as Jonny Lomax broke clear to get Tommy Makinson over in the right hand corner.

The storm was weathered by the Warriors and they took control of the game by adding two tries in five minutes to lead 18-6. O'Loughlin supported a half-break by Blake Green to send over Dan Sarginson for the first and then Liam Farrell took a pass one-handed to finish off good work by Joe Burgess after he had re-gathered Green's chip over the Saints defence.

In this blockbuster game, back came the hosts as Makinson took Walsh's cut-out pass to grab his second try and stand-off Lance Hohaia sent over Jordan Turner for try number four.

Walsh managed only one conversion to leave his side trailing 18-14 and on the half time hooter Matty Smith added a penalty goal to increase the lead to six points at the interval.

It would be one-way traffic in the second half as Wigan were very clinical .Farrell scored his second try immediately at after the resumption in freakish fashion, when his kick ahead rebounded off Lomax into his arms for a stroll to the line.

Bateman, switched from the second row to the centre following the loss of Ian Thornley, showed great skills with superb offload to send Burgess away in a 50-meter run to the line.

Smith made it 32-14 with his sixth goal and put the gloss on an impressive win for the Champions by kicking a drop goal in the 67minute as St Helens finally tasted defeat for the first time this season.

Warrington Wolves 44

Tries: O'Brien, M. Monaghan, J. Monaghan, Bridge, R. Evans 2, Currie, Atkins
Goals: Bridge 4, Ratchford 2

Widnes Vikings 6

Tries: Flynn
Goals: Tickle

Att: 10,500

Warrington Wolves got back on track with a crushing win over Widnes Vikings at the H.J. Stadium.

Warrington were still missing Ben Westwood, Paul Wood and Simon Grix, while half-back Richard Myler was left out as the hosts looked to improve thier disappointing home form.

It was the Wolves who made the fast start and after just four minutes Gareth O'Brien scored the game's first try. Minutes later O'Brien turned provider as his kick to the corner was seized on by Joel Monaghan. Chris Bridge kicked the difficult conversion to make it 12-0.

Two more would follow before the break as Warrington were in total control. Michael Monaghan went over from dummy half and just before the interval Bridge finished off Mickey Higham' break to make it 24-0

The onslaught continued in the early stages of the second half when O'Brien's long pass allowed Rhys Evans to dive over in the corner. Young forward Ben Currie was next to touchdown and then Evans made it a double as by the hour mark the hosts lead was out to 38-0.

At last Widnes had something to show when Paddy Flynn scored a late consolation try but this was short lived as Ryan Atkins crossed in the final seconds to complete the rout as Warrington got some confidence back.

Wakefield Wildcats 20

Tries: McShane, Sammut 2, Lyne
Goals: Sammut 2

Castleford Tigers 43

Tries: Carney, Clark 2, Owen 2, Wheeldon 2, Flynn
Goal: Sneyd 5
Drop Goal: Sneyd

Att: 5,159

Castleford Tigers were far too strong for neighbours Wakefield Wildcats as they ran out big winners at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.

After blowing a 24-6 lead against Saints last week, the Tigers were looking to consolidate third place in the First Utility Super League against great rivals Wakefield Wildcats who had suffered two maulings by Leeds Rhinos in thier last couple of games.

After just four minutes, the visitors took the lead as powerhouse winger Justin Carney swatted off the defenders to score.

Daryl Clark contended the good work by scoring underneath the posts after Grant Millington had burst through Wakefield's defence.

The Wildcats got some ball and hit back when Paul McShane cleverly jinked over from dummy half, but then the hooker turned villain as he lost the ball and shortly after Richard Owen made him pay by touching down.

Ben Sammut pulled another one back for Wakefield but Castleford finished the period strongly with Owen getting his second before Scott Wheeldon crossed on the half time hooter to make it 26-12.

Needing a good start to the second half, the Wildcats delivered Rhys Lynne and Sammut both dotted down in the opening minutes to make it 26-20.

The Tigers shook off the comeback and increased thier advantage when Liam Finn got on the end of Marc Sneyd' s kick.

Sneyd added a drop goal to ensure there would be no way back for Wakefield, whose misery was compounded when Clark and Wheeldon both touched down after breakaway moves late on to complete an emphatic win for Cas.

Salford Red Devils 22

Tries: Meli 3, Morley, Ashurst
Goals: Mullaney

Huddersfield Giants 42

Tries: Lunt, Murphy 3, Brough, McGillvary, Bailey
Goals: Brough 7

Att: 5,068

Huddersfield Giants ended thier four match slump by defeating Salford Red Devils at the AJ Bell Stadium.

New Red Devils Coach Iestyn Harris was hoping mark his first home game with win over out of sort Huddersfield Giants.

Huddersfield looked a different team as they hit Salford with three tries in the opening 12 minutes of the game.

Shaun Lunt forced his way over from dummy half for the opener, while the second came from Aaron Murphy, who finished off Joe Wardle ‘ break.

Lunt then re-gathered his own kick over the Red Devils defence and the supporting Scott Grix kicked ahead for Brough to touch down to make it 18-0.

Salford finally got on the scoreboard on 25 minutes when Francis Meli collected a long pass from Rangi Chase and then veteran prop Adrian Morley raced in from 20 metres out to score his first try for his home-town club.

Murphy scored his second try six minutes before the break to make it 22-10.

Chase kept hosts in the game as he picked up a loose ball and managed to get Meli over for his second try of the game.

Jermaine McGillvary and Chris Bailey added two quick-fire touchdowns as the Giants once more took control. In this high scoring game Matty Ashurst pulled a try back on the hour but Brough kicked a penalty and then Murphy scored his hat-trick to end any hope for the hosts.

The Red Devils had the final say when Meli completed his hat-trick four minutes from the end but the game had already gone as Huddersfield got back to winning ways.