The latest round of Super League action kicked off with a bang at the Mobile Rocket Stadium on Thursday night when Warrington Wolves visited a Wakefield Trinity side buoyed by positive news regarding development at Belle Vue. On the pitch, though, Trinity started sluggishly and fell 18-0 behind after little more than 10 minutes, Stefan Ratchford converting tries from Toby King, Josh Charnley and Chris Hill. Full-back Ryan Hampshire got Trinity on the board just before the 20 minute mark with a well worked try before Blake Austin added another for Steve Price’s team and, after Ratchford had converted the stand-off’s try and added a penalty, the Wolves led 26-6 at half-time and looked to have the game sewn up. Indeed, trailing 34-12 with just over 15 minutes remaining, Wakefield looked out of it before Kyle Wood scored two quick fire tries. When Max Jowitt crossed – playing on the wing outside Joe Arundel due to the injury absences of stars Tom Johnstone and Bill Tupou – after the ball was well worked to the left edge, a grandstand finish was on and an incredible comeback was almost complete when Arundel himself crossed for his first try of the season after 78 minutes. However, Danny Brough – often so dependable and reliable with his trusty left boot – was visibly frustrated after his kick was pushed just wide of the posts. Nevertheless, Trinity showed incredible character to get back into the game and, while much closer than he had hoped, Wire head coach Price will have been delighted to have left West Yorkshire with the two points.
Another team who left the area with two points was St Helens who hammered Castleford Tigers in a comfortable victory at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle. Rampant throughout, the Saints struck early when impressive full-back Lachlan Coote crossed for a try, the first four points of a personal haul of fourteen points. As good at Justin Holbrook’s men were, the Tigers made countless errors with ball in hand, many unforced, and at times gifted territory to the Saints. Indeed, when Daryl Powell stormed across the pitch to the dugouts from his usual vantage point opposite the tunnel, he was quite clearly angry at the showing of his team. Trailing 18-0 at half-time, the second half, though, started much the same for Castleford and they conceded a fourth try of the game when Zeb Taia crossed. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Mark Percival then crossed for the visitors before Michael Shenton finally got Cas on the board, intercepting in his own 10m and running clear. The pace of Regan Grace brought the Welshman back to cover but, after Shenton stepped inside as Grace slipped, the veteran centre crossed under the sticks. Jake Trueman would add the final try of the game for Cas but only after Dominique Peyroux had added his second and Jonny Lomax had scored a try of his own. With a visit to Leeds on the cards on Thursday night, Powell will certainly be keen to see a vastly improved showing from his team while Saints maintained their 100% record in emphatic fashion.
Huddersfield’s victory over Hull KR was also an emphatic one, the Giants recording their first home win of the season in a 42-8 victory. Hooker Kruise Leeming and England winger Jermaine McGillvary both scored braces while Oliver Roberts and Darnell McIntosh crossed in the first half. Leading 20-2 at half-time, McGillvary’s brace and a Suaia Matagi score gave the Giants their most commanding performance and victory of the season so far. Weller Hauraki scored KR’s sole try with Ryan Shaw kicking two goals for the Robins but head coach Tim Sheens, despite having a depleted squad due to injuries, will have been disappointed with his team’s showing in a match many thought would be a close, tight affair. There was an element of positivity for KR – and the wider rugby league community – though as hooker Shaun Lunt returned to the field from the bench after serious health concerns at the back end of 2018 and early this year.
Leeds Rhinos’ poor start to the season continued but there were indications that a corner is being turned at Headingley. Dave Furner’s men fell to a narrow 26-22 defeat at Catalans with Fouad Yaha outscoring Ash Handley four tries to three, the two left wingers unquestionably the pair who will get the headlines from this match. With Leeds taking an early 12-0 lead through Handley’s first two tries, the game changed when powerhouse prop Sam Kasiano entered the play. The former Melbourne man made his presence felt, entering the field shortly after Yaha and Konrad Hurrell had exchanged tries and the score at 16-6 in favour of Leeds. Kasiano’s impact led to the scores being level at half-time with Yaha adding a second before hooker Lucas Albert crossed. The Rhinos saw Brett Ferres put in the sin-bin the set before. Early in the second half, Handley completed his hat-trick but, barring a Liam Sutcliffe penalty, that was the end of Leeds’ scoring in the match. Yaha went onto add his final two tries and sealed the two points for the Dragons who recovered from their 46-0 hammering by Salford Red Devils in their last home fixture by sealing consecutive victories after last weekend’s triumph over Hull KR. The Rhinos, however, fell to their fifth defeat in as many game and their seventh of the season and sit bottom of the table.
Wigan Warriors, a fellow surprise struggler alongside Leeds, triumphed over an in-form Salford Red Devils side at the AJ Bell Stadium, prevailing to win 30-22 to secure only their second victory of the season. George Williams, strongly linked with a 2020 move to Canberra, starred for Wigan with three tries either side of half-time with Thomas Leuluai and Joe Greenwood also crossing. Salford, though, were definitely not there just to make up the numbers and trailed by just two points at half-time after recovering from 18-6 down to score to tries in the closing moments of the first period through Derrell Olpherts and Niall Evalds. This all came after Josh Jones had opened the scoring, taking advantage of a mistake from the returning Joe Burgess in the first five minutes to open the scoring. Despite scoring three tries in the first half, however, Salford were only able to cross once in the second through a 42nd minute try from Adam Walker after a ball steal. Thereafter, Williams added his last two tries and, with Zak Hardaker converting all five of Wigan’s tries, Adrian Lam’s team were able to secure a 30-22 win.
The final match of the weekend saw Hull FC make the journey south to London to face the Broncos, a team full of confidence after beating both Wigan and Wakefield at their Ealing home as well as backing up off defeating Leeds Rhinos last weekend at Headingley. Lee Radford’s men, however, were in no mood to allow them to make it another win and, despite trailing 14-10 at half-time, the club from Humberside left with the points after sealing a 24-28 victory. Josh Griffin starred for the Airlie Birds, scoring two first-half tries with Elliott Kear and hooker Eloi Pelissier hitting back, Kieran Dixon out kicking Marc Sneyd three to one in the opening period to give the Broncos the advantage. Three tries in ten second half minutes, though, saw FC take control with Carlos Tuimavave, Albert Kelly and Jordan Thompson all scoring. Winger Bureta Faraimo added to the Black and Whites’ lead before former-FC man Jordan Abdull scored for London. Rhys Williams rounded off the try-scoring but the Broncos were outscored six tries to four and Radford’s men will make the journey back north pleased after recovering from a home hammering to Wakefield Trinity last time out.