Super League XVIII - Round 1 Review
After a short winter's break Super League XVIII arrived this weekend and thankfully the weather was good.
We saw one big shock as fancied St Helens were given a heavy beating at home by Huddersfield Giants.
Champions Leeds, Wigan and favourites Warrington all had big wins as below we have a look at how all games went:
Leeds Rhinos 36
Tries: Sinfield, Moon, Peacock, Clarkson, McGuire, Hall
Goals: Sinfield 6
Hull FC 6
Champions, Leeds Rhinos made a confident start as they dispatched Hull FC at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
All the pre-match talk was on the eagerly-awaited return to Super League of England legend Gareth Ellis but in the warm up, the ex-Wests Tiger damaged his foot and was unable to take his place in the Hull side which forced Coach Peter Gentle to re-shuffle his team.
The Rhinos gave home debuts to Joel Moon, ex Penrith Panther Mitch Achurch and Gold Coast back Joe Vickery, who paid his own way to England to take up a trial and win a contract with Leeds.
Both teams went at each other from the start and after some wearing down the hosts took the lead on 15 minutes as Danny McGuire's kick was fumbled by Ben Galea and skipper Kevin Sinfield was on hand to pounce on the loose ball to score Super League XVIII first try. The conversion took Sinfield ahead of Leeds legend Lewis Jones in the all-time list of scorers.
Leeds then lost Vickery, with an ankle injury on the half hour and this seemed to get the Black and Whites more into the contest. The visitors got on terms thanks to Aaron Heremaia's break which set up the position for Joe Arundel to go over on his FC debut.
Daniel Holdsworth's added the extras to make it 6-6 at half time.
However, the Champions showed their class in the second half, especially in the last 25 minutes of the game as they racked up 30 unanswered points. Debutant centre Moon took Sinfield's long pass and, despite slipping he managed to twist over to make it 12-6.
Shortly afterwards veteran prop Jamie Peacock took a pass from Sinfield and sidestepped his way past full-back Shannon McDonnell to score underneath the posts.
The stuffing was now knocked out of Hull and McGuire sent substitute back rower Chris Clarkson racing over and then the Stand -Off got one himself as the Rhinos made it 30-6.
Know it was the turn of England star winger Ryan Hall as he bumped Arundel off and raced in from 60 meters. Sinfield made it a perfect night with the boot as the Champions eased home to make it a twelve consecutive open round win.
Salford City Reds 0
Wigan Warriors 42
Tries: Tomkins 3, Smith, Charnley, Thornley, Richards, Farrell
Goals: Richards 5
Wigan Warriors spoiled Salford City Reds party by shutting them out at the Salford City Stadium.
It was a party atmosphere from the start as new owner racing owner magnate Dr Marwan Koukash was introduced to the crowd after buying the club on Thursday.
But, the Reds were still short of quality and after giving a good showing Wigan took control and on 13 minutes debutant Blake Green sent Liam Farrell through a gap before handing the ball on to the supporting Sam Tomkins who raced over the line.
On 28 minutes the Warriors double their advantage as ex Salford half-back Matty Smith sidestepped through a gap and barged through the challenge of on-loan Wigan full Back Jack Murphy to score. Pat Richards kicked his second conversion
There was further anguish for Murphy just three minutes later as he dropped a long Wigan kick into touch and his parent club made him pay as the ball was quickly passed through the hands for England winger Josh Charnley to score out wide to make it 16-0 at the break.
The visitors were down to twelve men as Gil Dudson was sin-binned early in the second half for interference after his team was put on a warning. This did not bother Wigan as Sam Powell's grubber kick was seized on by Ian Thornley to make it 22-0.
Star-man Tomkins broke clear on the hour mark and Richards was in support to cut between two tacklers to cross in the corner. Another one followed soon after as Farrell got his name of the try scoring sheet.
Over to Tomkins who showed why he is rated as the best player in the British game by scoring a trademark individual effort which took him behind the posts with just over 12 minutes remaining.
He then completed his hat-trick 8 minutes from time after goo work by Green as Wigan shut out the City Reds in an empathic win.
St Helens 4
Huddersfield Giants 40
Tries: McGillvary Ferres, Cudjoe 2, George, Patrick, Lunt
Goals: Brough 5, Grix
Huddersfield Giants made it a miserable day to forget for former boss Nathan Brown as they demolished St Helens, to claim a stunning win at Langtree Park.
New signings Stuart Fielden and Craig Kopczak made a great start as the new look Huddersfield pack dominated the early stages of the contest.
Winger Jermaine McGillvary produced a devastating finish after Luke O'Donnell had pounced on a handling error from debutant Saints forward Willie Manu 30 metres from his own line.
New skipper Danny Brough showed his skills as he put the Brett Ferres through a huge gap in the St Helens defence for the visitors' second try. He kicked both conversions to make it a great start for the Giants.
Brough extended his side's lead with a couple of penalties before England centre Leroy Cudjoe added a third try nine minutes before the break after a superb flick by Scott Grix which created the space out wide.
Huddersfield could hardly believe their luck as they went into the interval with a commanding 22-0 lead.
In the second period the Giants did not let up and it was game over as left winger Luke George gratefully accepted Brough's superb long pass to cross unopposed for his side's fourth try five minutes into the second half.
It was getting from bad to worse for Nathan Brown side as Lance Hohaia gifted Larne Patrick a simple score, Hohaia tried to palm the ball dead only to watch it drop into the hands of Patrick. Grix added the goal and it got even better for the visitors when hooker Shaun Lunt scored try number six with a planned mover form the scrum base.
Cudjoe then made it a double and put the icing on an impressive win for Paul Anderson' men after picking up a dropped ball.
Saints grabbed a late consolation try through Mark Flanagan, to prevent a shut out, but they were never in the game as the Giants claimed their first away win at St Helens for over thirty years.
Bradford Bulls 40
Tries: Platt, Blythe, Sidlow, Sammut 2, Foster, Kearney
Goals: Foster 6
Wakefield Wildcats 6
Bradford Bulls gave new coach Francis Cummins the perfect start by running out convincing winners over Wakefield Wildcats at the Provident Stadium Odsal.
Coach Cummins was looking to give new energy for the Bulls as they started the season with all the trouble from last year gone against a Wildcats side that surprised everybody with their great finish to 2012.
The visitors also sorely missed last year's player of the year Tim Smith and this showed as they were out enthusiast by the Bulls.
Jarrod Sammut was very lively and he made the break in an eight man move which saw Michael Platt finish things off. Matty Blythe also made it a try scoring debut as he took Jamie Foster's pass to score with the latter kicking his second conversion.
Soon after try number three arrived as another debutant ex Salford prop Adam Sidlow took Matt Diskin's short pass to crash over. five minutes before the half time hooter Sammut deservedly got in on the scoring as he broke though to score and put the Bulls into a commanding 22-0 lead.
Any hint of a Wakefield fightback was ended in the early stages of the second period as Foster raced on to a grubber kick by Brett Kearney.
Sammut then jinked his way over to make it a double and with Foster's fifth goal all the Wildcats had left was pride.
The whitewash was avoided as Sammut's kick to the corner was blocked and the ball ended up in centre Dean Collis ' hand and he raced 70 metres for a consolation.
However, it was the Bulls day and fittingly nine minutes from time Kearney rounded things off with the host's seventh try.
Hull KR 24
Tries: Dobson, Hodgson, Caro, Withers
Goals: Dobson 4
Catalan Dragons 32
Tries: Taia, Baitieri, Menzies 2, Fakir, Webb
Goals: Bosc 4
Catalan Dragons withstood a Hull KR fightback to claim the points at MS3 Craven Park.
Laurent Frayssinous was in charge of the Dragons for the first time as he tried to match what predecessor and new Roosters coach Trent Robinson had achieved by taking the French outfit to fourth in the league.
As for Rovers they were looking for improvement from last year and they took the lead on four minutes with a penalty goal from Michael Dobson.
The lead did not last long as Thomas Bosc sent ex Knight Zeb Taia over for a try and Bosc converted for a 6-2 lead which was extended further as Jason Baitieri took advantage of some poor defending.
More was to follow for Catalan and enter Super League's oldest player the ageless Steve Menzies who rolled back the years with quickfire brace in the closing stages of the first half.
His first came when Brent Webb's pass caught Rovers off guard on their left-hand side and the next came on the opposite flank when Jamal Fakir made the break and the ex Sea Eagle was on hand to score a simple try. Bosc kicked his third goal to give the visitors a useful 22-2 half time lead.
It got worst for Hull KR shortly after the restart as Fakir ran through unopposed to score. Rovers finally got their first try as a superb offload from Cory Paterson set up Dobson.
This lifted Rovers and a second score followed shortly as Dobson' kick was dropped by Webb just in front of his own line and the ball fell invitingly for Josh Hodgson to pick up and score. Dobson converted to make it 26-12.
Suddenly the hosts were now in control and the dominance continued when Omari Caro scored his side's third try of the game. Centre Liam Salter provided the perfect flick pass for the ex London winger to score.
However, Webb redeemed his earlier error and scored the decisive match winning try. Rovers did have the final say thanks to Lincoln Withers but this was only consolation as the Dragons claimed the win.
London Broncos 14
Tries: Dixon 2, Melling
Widnes Vikings 28
Tries: Marsh 2, Clarke, Allen, Winterstein
Goals: Hanbury 4
Widnes Vikings made a good start to the season with a good win in the capital over London Broncos at the Twickenham Stoop.
The Vikings made two eye catching signings in Kevin Brown and Gareth Hock; ironically both were unable for this game as they looked to avoid the wooden spoon in their second season in Super League.
Like most teams the Broncos were looking for more consistency but it was Widnes who made the better start and took the lead when Stefan Marsh took Jon Clarke's pass to cut inside and score.
Jamie O'Callaghan should have scored for the Londoners but some great defence by the visitors prevented him from doing so.
Despite not looking like scoring the Broncos defence held firm until the last ten minutes of the first half when Widnes took control.
Some good work by the visitors backs led to Clarke going over and Dave Allen punished the hosts with his sides third try after they had dropped a kick .Rhys Hanbury converted all the tries as Widnes led 18-0 at the break.
London then lost influential talisman Craig Gower due to injury and this forced a reshuffle to the team. Frank Winterstein heaped more misery on the hosts as he put the Vikings out of sight.
The Broncos finally got on the scoreboard when young winger Kieran Dixon scooped up a loose pass and raced away to score.
Chris Melling and a second for Dixon made the last ten minutes interesting but the impressive Marsh rounded things off nicely for Widnes as they got 2013 off to the best possible start.
Warrington Wolves 40
Tries: Riley, Atkins, Evans, Myler, Westwood 2, Carvell
Goals: Briers, Hodgson 5
Castleford Tigers 24
Tries: Carney, Shenton, Owen, Webster
Goals: Ellis 4
Title favourites Warrington Wolves showed their credentials with a strong first performance to see off Castleford Tigers at the H.J. Stadium.
Last year's Grand Final runners up were the bookies favourites to go one better this year and they showed this early on by exploding out of the blocks from the start.
After just two minutes winger Chris Riley scrambled over in the corner for the first and three minutes later a brilliant break by Simon Grix was finished off by Ryan Atkins who raced clear to score.
Centre Rhys Evans claimed Warrington's third try on the 10 minute mark and three minutes later Richie Myler touched down with Brett Hodgson landing three conversions to make it 22-0 to the home side after just 13 minutes.
Surprisingly the next try did not come until 10 minutes later and this time a Lee Briers bomb was kept alive superbly by Joel Monaghan and Evans to allow Ben Westwood to cross for his side's fifth try.
Castleford at last stopped the one-way traffic as Rangi Chase's kick deflected off Lee Briers and Jake Webster sent ex Sydney Rooster Justin Carney over for his side's first try on his debut.
Four minutes before half-time Garreth Carvell added a further try for the Wolves which Hodgson converted, but the Tigers had the final say of the half when in the dying seconds Michael Shenton pounced on a loose pass and raced 30 metres to score. Jamie Ellis kicked his second conversion to reduce the gap to 34-12.
Normal service resumed at the start of the second half as Warrington increased their lead when Myler sent Westwood over for his second try of the game and with Hodgson's conversion the Tigers were looking down the barrel to a heavy defeat.
But to their credit the Tigers never through the towel in took some pride as they kept their line intact for the remainder of the game.
Richard Owen and Jake Webster both score tries as the lead was reduced to a more respectable luck. Ellis landed two more conversions but Castleford nether recovered from their bad start as Warrington opened up their account for 2013.
1. Warriors 2 (+42)
2. Giants 2 (+36)
3. Bulls 2 (+34)
4. Rhinos 2 (+30)
5. Wolves 2 (+16)
6. Vikings 2 (+14)
7. Dragons 2 (+8)
8. Hull KR 0 (-8)
9. Broncos 0 (-14)
10. Tigers 0 (-16)
11. Hull FC 0 (-30)
12. Wildcats 0 (-34)
13. Saints 0 (-36)
14. Reds 0 (-42)