Our weekly feature - The Armchair Expert - returns just in time for the finals!
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Challenge Cup holders Bradford Bulls overcame the dismissal of Great Britain three quarter Leon Pryce to beat Castleford 30-10 and register their 10th successive victory and keep up the pressure on Super League leaders Leeds.
Pryce, who started the game as the league's joint leading try scorer with 13, had figured in the build up to Bradford's first two tries before being sent off in the 32nd minute for a late tackle on Castleford stand-off Danny Orr.
Referee Steve Ganson made the decision after the intervention of a touch judge.
Orr was helped off the field only minutes after his half back partner Mitch Healey had been injured and although Healey returned in the second half the double injury blow clearly affected Castleford. -------------- An electrifying start by Hull saw them keep the pressure on the Tetley's Super League top two with a comfortable 34-6 victory over Huddersfield.
Kiwi Toa Kohe-love rocked Huddersfield after just 48 seconds with Hull's first try.
Then new signing Australian Dean Treister crowned his home debut with a try on seven minutes.
Huddersfield did not recover from that double early blow and from then on never looked like putting an end to their losing streak, which has now stretched to three games. --------------- Under-strength Wigan continued their revival with hard-fought 22-18 victory over Widnes in an entertaining clash at the Halton Stadium on Saturday night.
The Warriors, without eight of their first-team squad through injury, scored four tries to two to put a dampener on the 41st birthday celebrations of Vikings coach Neil Kelly.
However, Kelly will have been encouraged by a vastly-improved performance on last week's 34-6 humiliation at Warrington.
Acting captain Adrian Lam led Wigan brilliantly as they established a 10-4 interval lead while hooker Terry Newton was the hero of the second half by scoring one try and creating another as the Warriors made light of a third game in nine days. ------------ On Friday Wakefield ended a 23-year wait for victory at Knowsley Road when they pulled off the shock of the Tetley's Super League season by beating St Helens 16-10.
After suffering agonising defeats by Super League's other big three of Bradford, Wigan and Leeds, the Wildcats finally claimed a prize scalp to give them breathing space in their relegation fight.
Wakefield rarely looked like relegation candidates as they rattled the champions, denying them the chance to leapfrog Bradford into second place in the table. -------------- Saints also had the misfortune to have forward Tim Jonkers stretchered off in the closing stages after he was hurt in the tackle.
A bright start by Halifax against Warrington soon faded as a hat-trick from Graham Appo and strong performances from Mike Wainwright and Nathan Wood sent them crashing to their eighth consecutive defeat 38-8.
The visitors edged ahead in the game after 14 minutes to cancel out an early Blue Sox penalty and they never looked in any real danger as the points flowed in just one direction. ---------------- Halifax did manage to cross over in the second half thanks to Daryl Cardiss but it was never going to be enough as the Wolves romped home in the closing stages.
Leeds opened up a five-point lead at the top of the table after a thrilling six-try display to beat London Broncos 32-14 in the capital.
Daryl Powell's side were playing their third game in a week but proved too strong for the Broncos to win their seventh meeting on the spin against the side from the capital.
Among those on the scoresheet for the Yorkshire side were Marc Calderwood, Andrew Dunemann and Francis Cummins while young sensation Danny McGuire crossed over twice. Skipper Kevin Sinfield also had a good night with the boot and kicked four goals.