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Stobart Super League XVII Round 1 Review
Stobart Super League XVII got underway as the UK suffered a blast of Arctic weather.
Despite the snow and sub zero temperatures every game took place and below we review all the action.
Leeds Rhinos 34
Tries: Delany, Watkins 3, Webb, McGuire
Goals: Sinfield 5
Hull KR 16
Tries: Horne 2, Welham, Hodgson
Champions Leeds Rhinos opened up Stobart Super League XVII on Friday Night with a hard fought win over Hull KR at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
The season once again began in sub zero temperatures and after two pitch inspections the game was declared on. Brett Delaney had the distinction of being the first try scorer of 2012 as he made the most of a quick penalty tap on five minutes as the Rhinos took the lead.
Rovers began to settle into the game and were awarded with a close range effort from new signing Graeme Horne, on his debut. Led by Michael Dobson the visitors lay siege to the Leeds line but they could not breach it and against the run of play a Danny McGuire grubber kick was pounced on by Brett Webb. Kevin Sinfield-playing his 400 game for Leeds- added the extras to give his side a 10-4 lead.
Just before the break Horne was on hand to score his second try of the game a carbon copy of his first as the gap was cut to 10-8.
Seven minutes into the second period Rovers took the lead after good work by Shannon McDonnell sent Kris Welham in at the corner. Dobson was having an off day with the boot as for the third time he failed to add the extras.
Trailing 12-10 the Champions began to get a foothold into the game and on 58 minutes they re-took the lead thorugh Kallum Watkins after being put clear by a cut out pass from McGuire. It got even better for Leeds as Watkins raced away again to make it 24-10 with second score.
Welham sent David Hodgson in at the corner for a debut try, but as Rovers tired the Rhinos capitalised and won the game when Watkins powered his way over for a hat-trick and McGuire gave the hosts an 18 point advantage when he jinked thorugh for their sixth try of the game late on.
So Leeds begin 2012 with a good win and for Hull KR new coach Craig Sandercock must be pleased on what he saw from his team as they pushed the Champions all the way.
Widnes Vikings 14
Tries: Craven, Ah Van, Cahill
Goals: Ah Van
Wakefield Wildcats 32
Tries: Smith, Fox 2, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Mathers
Goals: John 4
Wakefield Wildcats turned in a strong second half performance to see off new boys Widnes Vikings at the Stobart Stadium.
Widnes made their return to Super League after a seven year absence and introduced us to a brand new 4G Artificial, plastic pitch-the first of its type in the UK.
The Wildcats were also in the change. They had a new coach in ex Black and White Richard Agar who has transformed the club with no fewer than 17 new signings.
On a cold night the hosts broke the deadlock as Danny Craven collected his own grubber kick to score. Patrick Ah Van added the extras. But the lead did not last long as Ali Lauitiiti crashed over after taking a short pass from Isaac John.
Just before half time , Widnes regained the advantage as a good offload from Frank Winterstein put Willie Isa away and his pass sent Ah Van in at the corner to give his side a 10-4 lead.
Immediately into the second half the visitors got back on terms with a try from Andy Raleigh but once again the Vikings hit back and they went ahead after a Hep Cahill charged the ball down and raced in from 60 meters.
However, in the last quarter Wakefield upped the tempo and pulled away. First, Richard Mathers picked up a kick from Tim Smith to score and then ex Shark got himself on the scoresheet as he jinked his way over the line.
It got even worst for the hosts as Ben Cross was then sin-binned for dissent on his debut and the Wildcats made them pay as Peter Fox scored a quickfire brace to wrap up the points.
London Broncos 24
Tries: Bailey, Robertson, Witt, Krasniqi
Goals: Witt 4
St Helens 34
Tries: Roby, Dixon, Lomax, Foster, Meli
Goals: Foster 7
St Helens were made to work as they got past London Broncos in an entertaining game at the Twickenham Stoop.
After a six year absent the London Broncos were back and they fielded seven debutants in their starting line-up, while Saints handed first starts to new signings Kiwi Lance Hohaia and ex Gold Coast Titan Anthony Laffranchi.
St Helens were the quickest out of the blocks as James Roby sliced open the home defence for Jonny Lomax to score.
The ex Manly winger Michael Robertson got the Londoners on the scoreboard after he pounced on Witt's clever kick to s core on his full debut. Saints hit back after the hosts were penalised and Andrew Dixon stepped inside Luke Dorn to score.
Jamie Foster tagged on a penalty then young forward Olsi Krasniqi muscled his way over the line to reduce the arrears.
Another Foster penalty followed before the Broncos took a narrow 18-16 lead into the break thanks to a try from Chris Bailey after good work by ex Kangaroo Craig Gower.
The early stages of the second half, Saints regained the lead after Roby set up Foster to score in the corner before Francis Meli increased their advantage further after Robertson made a mess of collecting Lee Gaskell's grubber kick.
However, the Broncos would not go away and Michael Witt pounced on a loose ball to set up a nervy finale, but Roby made sure of the points going back up the M6 to Merseyside as he wriggled over the line late on to deny the Londoners.
Salford City Reds 10
Tries: Smith, Ashurst
Castleford Tigers 24
Tries: Owen 2, Milner,
Goals: Dixon 4
Castleford Tigers spoiled the party as they defeated Salford City Reds in the first ever competitive game at the Salford City Stadium.
After many years of waiting the Salford City Reds played their first major game at their brand new stadium.
The conditions were atrocious as falling snow covered the playing surface making handling difficult. The teams struggled with the weather and it took until 17 minutes before the deadlock was finally broken as City Reds half back Matty Smith cut thorugh to have the honour of scoring the first Super r League try at the new stadium.
Just six minutes before the break after previously having a try chalked off by the video referee the Tigers took the lead 6-4 when superb delayed pass from Rangi Chase sent Richard Owen over. Kirk Dixon added the conversion.
Seven minutes into the second half a darting run form young Castleford hooker Daryl Clark crated the opportunity for Owen to send a grubber kick into the corner in which Josh Griffin won the race to touchdown.
A Well placed kick by Chase set up Adam Milner as the visitors effectively had the game won. Salford battled to the end and scored the best try of the match when former St Helens second rower Matty Ashurst finished off a flowing move featuring half-backs Smith and Daniel Holdsworth and full-back Luke Patten.
Holdsworth kicked his first goal but it was the Tigers who had the final say when Owen grabbed his second after more good work from Danny Orr and man-of-the-match Chase. Dixon kicked his fourth goal from as many attempts to seal a first competitive win for new coach Ian Millward.
Bradford Bulls 12
Tries: Langley, Kear
Goals: Gale 2
Catalan Dragons 34
Tries: Batieri, Greenshields, Bosc, Sa, Millard, Raguin
Goals: Dureau 5
Catalan Dragons turned in an emphatic performance as they made light work of the Bradford Bulls at Odsal.
After heavy overnight snow which saw several centimetres fall in the Bradford area, the game looked to be in danger but thanks to countless volunteers the match kicked off only 30 minutes late.
The Bulls gave debuts to ex Penrith back Adrian Purtell, Luke Gale and two ex Crusaders Elliot Kear and Jarrad Sammut. However the visitors started strongly and led by Scott Dureau they took the lead when Jason Baitieri got over the line.
Ex Bulls hooker Ian Henderson provided the pass for Clint Greenshields to race 40 meters and go underneath the post as the French side doubled their advantage.
It got even better for the Dragons as French back Thomas Bosc finished off a Dureau break to take his side into a formidable 20-0 lead at the break.
Shortly after the restart Setaimata Sa powered over the line for Catalan's fifth try of the game. Soon it became 30-0 after fine work from Dureau led to winger Daryl Millard touching down in the right hand corner.
Jamie Langley insured the Bulls would not be nilled as he scrambled is way over the line, but three minutes from time a free flowing move by Catalan was finished off by Sebastien Raguin as the visitors cantered home.
Bradford did have the last say with a debut try for Kear on the full time hooter but this was only scant consolation as the Dragons took the two points across the Channel back to the South of France.
Hull FC 20
Tries: Yeaman, Tickle 2, Briscoe
Goals: Tickle 2
Warrington Wolves 20
Tries: Waterhouse, Williams, Grix, Evans
Goals: Westwood 2
Warrington Wolves struck late on to snatch a draw over Hull FC at the KC Stadium.
Peter Gentle was taking charge of the Black & Whites for the first time in a competitive game and England Centre Kirk Yeaman gave them the perfect start as he finished off a flowing move on three minutes.
The lead was short lived as Wade McKinnon spilled the ball behind his own try line and ex Panther Trent Waterhouse scored a simple try on his debut.
Simon Grix burst through to set up Rhys Williams as Warrington began to take control; Danny Tickle looked to have levelled things up as he scored just before the break.
But from the kick off Joe Westerman knocked on, Grix pounced to send the Wolves into half time with a 16-10 lead.
Hull came out firing and in the early stages of the second period they hit Warrington with two quickfire tries to lead 20-16. Tickle made it a double with the other score coming from winger Tom Briscoe.
As the temperature plummeted Warrington kept pushing for the decisive score and it looked like the hosts would hold on until Simon Grix provided the offload for Rhys Evans to touchdown with just two minutes left on the clock.
Ben Westwood had the chance to win it but his conversion went agonisingly wide as both teams played out a hard-fought draw.
Wigan Warriors 16
Tries: Tomkins, Farrell, O'Loughlin
Goals: Richards 2
Huddersfield Giants 20
Tries: Gilmour, Patrick 2
Goals: Brough 4
Huddersfield Giants shocked Wigan Warriors to claim a narrow win at the DW Stadium.
The Giants came into this game with a lengthy injury list. Six regulars and new signing Tony Tonks suspended, were all missing for the visitors.
Wigan were looking to start the rein of new coach Shaun Wane in style but Huddersfield had other ideas and took the game to the hosts.
On the twenty minute mark they were rewarded as former Warrior Lee Gilmour opened the scoring. Danny Brough put over the conversion.
Eight minutes from the interval Wigan hit back as starman Sam Tomkins got them on the scoreboard with the ever reliable Pat Richards tagging on the extras. As we got nearer to the break Brough kicked his second goal to give the Giants a narrow 8-6 lead.
Early into the second period substitute Larne Patrick, who had been expected to miss the start of the new season after breaking a wrist in training, increased the Giants advantage by going over.
Soon after Wigan were back in the contest as Brent Finch fed Liam Farrell who scored out wide. Once gain Richard kicked the goal.
However, Patrick hd other ideas and he gave Huddersfield some breathing space as he went through Tomkins' tackle and showed a neat turn of speed , for a front rower , to touch down from 30 metres out, Brough maintaining his accuracy as the visitors took their lead up to 20-12 with just over twenty minutes left.
Skipper Sean O'Loughlin gave the Warriors some hope when he scored on 73 minutes but it turned out to be a consolation as the Giants closed the game out to claim a valuable two points.