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Round 2 ESL Review
Wigan Warriors 16 v Leeds Rhinos 24, Att: 17,281
Leeds Rhinos staged a dramatic second half comeback to leave the Warriors still looking for their first win of 2006. After withstanding a barrage of Leeds pressure, Wigan scored three unanswered first half tries by teenagers Joel Tomkins and Chris Ashton - who was on his home debut. The other scored by hooker Wayne Godwin.
The Rhinos cut the deficit by scoring two early second half tries through Shane Millard and man of the match Danny McGuire. Wigan were finally worn down by relentless Leeds pressure. Tries in the last ten minutes by Skipper Kevin Sinfield and live wire scrum half Rob Burrow gave the Rhinos a hard earned victory before Wigan?s biggest ever attendance for an opening home game in the Super League.
St Helens 44 v Castleford Tigers 8, Att: 13,528
St Helens showed why they are going to be the team to beat in this year?s competition by demolishing the Castleford Tigers at Knowsley Road.
Saints, who welcomed back Great Britain captain Paul Sculthorpe, ran in six first half tries to end the Tigers hopes of winning their first game on their return to the top flight.
The Tigers must take some credit as they competed in the second half scoring two tries through scrum-half Andy Kain and Gray Viane. However former Dragons star Jason Hooper had the last say in the game by scoring the Saints eighth and final try. Jamie Lyon kicked six goals before another bumper Knowsley Road crowd.
Salford City Reds 16 v Catalans Dragons 0, Att: 4,660
The Dragons were brought back down to earth when the much-improved City Reds shut them out. Tragedy stuck early for Catalans when their influential Kiwi international scrum-half Stacey Jones left the field with a broken arm, which will sideline him for at least eight weeks.
Salford took advantage of Jones? departure and despite dominating throughout, they only had two Stuart Littler tries to show until Andrew Brocklehurst went over in the last ten minutes. Former Rhinos half-back Andrew Dunemann - making his Reds debut - had a hand in all of his team?s tries and looks a very shrewd signing. Coach Karl Harrison was delighted with his team defence and especially their 100% start to this year?s campaign.
Bradford Bulls 18 v Harlequins RL 18, Att: 11,097
Injury-hit Harlequins pulled off a major upset when they twice came from behind to earn a point from a tough-tackling clash with Engage Super League champions Bradford Bulls.
The Quins made a late change when Luke Dorn picked up a hamstring injury to keep him out of the game. The Bulls opened the scoring early on when former Eels hooker Ian Henderson jinked his way over the whitewash after Harlequins were reduced to 12 men, when new boy Matt Gafa was sin-binned for holding down in the tackle.
Man of the match Thomas Leuluai put Quins on level terms with a close range try. Shortly after ex-Storm forward Danny Williams gave Harlequins a first half lead.
Early in the second half, the Bulls stepped up the pace by scoring two tries through Shontayne Hape and Ben Harris. However, after weathering the storm, a Lee Hopkins try regained the lead for the Quins. With only minutes remaining a Paul Deacon penalty managed to rescue a point for the Bulls.
Huddersfield Giants 26 v Warrington Wolves 20, Att: 8,104
The Giants recorded their first victory in Engage Super league XI, when they defeated an injury-hit Warrington Wolves before an impressive 8,104 attendance at the Galpharm Stadium.
Huddersfield twice came from behind after the Wolves scored two early tries through Chris Bridge, who was preferred in the starting line-up to Australian Michael Sullivan, and former Hull FC flyer Richie Barnett.
Despite loosing the influential Brad Drew through injury, the Giants clawed their way back with tries from home debutant Albert Torrens and Australian centre Chris Nero to square the game up shortly before half time. After the break a Martin Aspinwall try gave the Giants the lead, but with Michael De Vere having an off day with his kicking, Warrington took the lead again through Bridge?s second try. Two quick Huddersfield tries, both converted, gave the Giants an unassailable lead. Warrington did mange a late Henry Fa'afili consolation try though.
Hull FC 40 v Wakefield Wildcats 14, Att: 11,860
Hull kept up their 100% record by thrashing the hapless Wakefield Wildcats in front of another big KC Stadium crowd. In-form centre Kirk Yeaman scored a hat-trick of tries as the Black and Whites produced a fluent attacking display by scoring seven tries.
Coach John Kear must have been happy with his teams defence as they managed to hold out early Wildcats pressure by defending five consecutive sets of six.
Wakefield dug deep in the second half, but their mini revival ? with tries from Kiwi international David Solomona and winger Paul White - came to nothing as the KC Stadium side managed to hold on to record an emphatic victory over their Yorkshire rivals.