Super League review: Leeds beat Hull KR

Rugby League
Joel Moon of Leeds
Joel Moon of Leeds

A review of the latest round of matches in the Betfred Super League.

Super League results

Thursday April 26

  • Salford 10-60 St Helens

Friday April 27

  • Castleford 24-4 Wakefield
  • Warrington 38-4 Huddersfield
  • Widnes 24-32 Wigan

Saturday April 28

  • Catalans Dragons 25-24 Hull FC

Sunday April 29

  • Hull KR 18-20 Leeds

Sunday

Leeds climbed to fifth in the Betfred Super League after coming from 8-0 down to beat Hull KR 20-18 at KCOM Craven Park.

Rovers dominated the first quarter of the game, but were guilty of not turning good territory and possession into points, especially towards the end of the game.

Playing with a strong wind in their favour, Rovers started brightly to take a ninth minute lead through Ryan Shaw's penalty as Danny McGuire was held on the ground longer than referee Scott Mikalauskas was happy with by Richie Myler.

McGuire was one of four former Leeds players in the Rovers side and it was another who scored the first try of the game. Rob Mulhern powered his way over the line after McGuire's successful 40/20. Shaw converted for an 8-0 lead after 12 minutes.

After absorbing plenty of pressure from the home side in the first quarter of the game, Joel Moon halved the deficit with a solo effort breaking through a couple of Rovers tackles to score. Kallum Watkins converted to make it 8-6 to the Robins.

The score settled the Leeds and six minutes later they were celebrating their second try of the game when Jamie Jones-Buchanan broke through to score under the posts, making Watkins' conversion a formality to give the Rhinos a 12-8 lead. It was the 36-year-old's second try of the season.

Back came Rovers with a close-range try from prop Mose Masoe bursting through a gap to get Rovers back on level terms. Shaw's conversion edged the home side in front 14-12.

Shaw's goalkicking has been one of the positives for Rovers this season and he was on target, adding a penalty to Rovers' total in the 34th minute to extend their lead to 16-12 after Adam Cuthbertson tried to slow Rovers' attack.

Carl Ablett was the next Leeds player to be penalised trying to prevent Rovers from playing the ball quickly. Shaw made the half-time score 18-12 with his fifth successful kick of the game.

Three minutes into the second half, Rovers were reduced to 12 men with Masoe sent to the sin bin for a high tackle on Ashton Golding.

Leeds capitalised on their numerical advantage when Ryan Hall went over in the left hand corner. Watkins silenced the jeers from the east stand behind him to level the scores at 18-18.

The lead changed hands for the fourth and final time when Watkins added a penalty to make it 20-18 after Danny Tickle was penalised for preventing Matt Parcell from playing the ball quickly.

Despite forcing three successive goal line drop-outs late on, Rovers failed to score the try that would have won them the game.

Saturday

Tony Gigot's close-range drop goal earned bottom side Catalans Dragons an impressive 25-24 Betfred Super League victory over Hull.

The sides traded penalties - and blows - inside the last 10 minutes, with both desperate to find the correct field position from which to tee up a drop goal.

Hull's Josh Bowden gave them the opportunity, knocking on in his own half, and Gigot did the rest as the Dragons clinched their third win of the campaign and Hull were defeated for the seventh time in eight visits to Perpignan.

Catalans gave a debut to former Leigh and London Broncos half-back Josh Drinkwater, who signed for the club earlier this week following the retirement of Luke Walsh.

Hull were without influential injured duo Jamie Shaul and Marc Sneyd, with Hakim Miloudi and Jordan Abdul deputising.

Abdul took the ball to within five metres of the Catalans line before offloading to the supporting Scott Taylor, who touched down to the right of the posts despite the best efforts of four home defenders. Jake Connor added the simple conversion to give the visitors a 6-0 lead.

Catalans levelled in the 20th minute, when a smart grubber from Michael McIlorum into the in-goal area was pounced on by Brayden Williame down the left edge. Drinkwater added the conversion to take the score to 6-6.

Hull responded immediately, the ball being sent to the left and Frenchman Miloudi spinning away from one Catalans defender before stepping inside two more and forcing the ball down to score a superb try. Connor added the conversion as Hull re-established their six-point advantage.

The hosts thought they had scored through Gigot in the 26th minute, a side-stepping run being ruled out for an earlier obstruction.

Connor extended Hull's lead four minutes before half-time with a penalty goal 20 metres from the Catalans line before the Dragons reduced the deficit at the break with the last kick of the half, Drinkwater kicking the penalty from 10 metres to reduce his side's interval arrears to 14-8.

Catalans started the second half in style, a penalty giving them field position in the 42nd minute before Drinkwater dummied left and stepped right to fool the Hull defence and to touch down to the left of the posts. Drinkwater added the goal to level the scores at 14-14.

The home side scored back-to-back tries when, from the kick-off, a short side play saw Williame break down the left before drawing the cover defence and sending the ball on the inside for Gigot to race over to score to the left of the posts. Drinkwater added the conversion to put the Dragons 20-14 up.

Taylor scored a superb solo effort, racing clear from 40 metres out in the 51st minute, outrageously dummying his way past full-back Gigot to score under the posts. Connor added the conversion to tie the scores up at 20-20.

Connor edged Hull back in front with another penalty goal, but Drinkwater was on hand to level the scores once again with a 40-metre penalty after Josh Griffin had infringed in the ruck.

Both sides were reduced to 12 men temporarily in the 64th minute when Connor and McIlorum were sin-binned for fighting before Abdul left the field on a stretcher with an ankle injury.

Catalans took the lead in the 74th minute when Miloudi was penalised for a ball-steal on Sam Moa, Drinkwater adding the two points to give the hosts a 24-22 lead.

Connor levelled the game with a 78th-minute penalty before a knock-on by Bowden in the last minute gifted Catalans and Gigot field position to kick a drop-goal with 10 seconds remaining.

Friday

Warrington extended their unbeaten run to eight matches with a 38-4 Betfred Super League victory over struggling Huddersfield at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

In-form winger Josh Charnley was again among the tries, following his four-try Ladbrokes Challenge Cup haul against Bradford with a hat-trick to make it 10 in six games since his move back to rugby league from rugby union side Sale Sharks.

Josh Charnley and Warrington celebrate
Josh Charnley and Warrington celebrate

Stefan Ratchford crossed twice while Tom Lineham, Joe Philbin and Harvey Livett also touched down for the hosts and Bryson Goodwin, Ratchford and Livett all kicked one conversion apiece to claim the two points and keep the Wolves third in the table.

Huddersfield have now gone eight matches without a win to leave them deep in trouble at the wrong end of the table. Their points came from a solitary first half try by Darnell McIntosh.

The Wolves welcomed back the trio who were rested for the Challenge Cup victory over Bradford. Lineham, Kevin Brown and Daryl Clark all returned to the starting line-up while Ben Murdoch-Masila recovered from his knee problem to take a place on the bench after missing the last three games.

Jake Mamo returned at full-back for the Giants after a seven-game absence with a hamstring injury and Huddersfield also included Jared Simpson, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Michael Lawrence and Tyler Dickinson - who all missed the 66-4 hammering at St Helens.

The visitors suffered a blow before kick-off when stand-off Lee Gaskell pulled up injured in the warm-up, with Sam Wood drafted into the squad.

After a low-key start the match sparked into life in the 21st minute when Ryan Atkins delivered a superb pass to Charnley and the winger went on a weaving 35-metre run to claim the opening try of the night, which Goodwin converted.

The visitors hit back almost immediately when Jordan Rankin's bomb was knocked back by Mamo and McIntosh scooped up the loose ball to score, although Rankin hooked the comparatively easy conversion attempt wide.

However, two tries in six minutes put the Wolves in command as firstly a superb inside pass from Livett allowed Ratchford to score and then Ratchford turned provider as the full-back's looping pass gave Lineham the space to race 30-metres down the touchline to score in the corner and give Warrington a 14-4 half time lead.

Charnley crossed for two quick tries in four minutes midway through the second half to claim his hat-trick and stretch the hosts' lead to 24-4.

As the Giants tired the Wolves took full advantage in the closing stages as Ratchford claimed his second try, before Livett and Philbin also crossed to seal a comfortable success.

Wigan staged a magnificent second-half recovery to overturn a 14-point half-time deficit and beat Widnes 32-24.

The Vikings looked on their way to a shock win and their first in five Super League games after deservedly building an 18-4 lead at the break thanks to well-worked tries from Tom Olbison, Jay Chapelhow and Ryan Ince.

But the Warriors stormed back after the interval, hitting the home side with three quickfire tries to get back into the match before late scores from Ryan Sutton and Taulima Tautai sealed the victory,

Wigan rested in-form full-back Sam Tomkins and boss Shaun Wane may have started to regret that call as his side lacked cutting edge in the first half before finally snapping into gear after the break.

Widnes led three tries to one at the midway point but the scoreline could have been a lot tighter if Wigan had converted their chances.

However, Widnes took advantage of some sloppy Warriors errors and deserved to be in front before they were steamrolled in the closing stages.

The visitors landed the first blow as Oliver Gildart burst onto a short ball from George Williams to score after 13 minutes.

That advantage was to be short-lived, however, as Widnes struck through Olbison after he was fed the ball on the Wigan line.

Denis Betts' side went close again as Greg Burke bounced the ball inches short of the whitewash and then Tom Gilmore was held up over the line.

They finally got the breakthrough they were searching for when substitute Jordan Johnstone was introduced and his up-tempo impact helped Widnes' score twice more before half-time, with Chapelhow powering over before Ed Chamberlain sent in Ince

Sandwiched in between those tries was Tommy Leuluai's yellow card for obstruction on a key Widnes attack.

Wigan used the break to regroup and they dragged themselves back in it with an opportunist score out wide from Joe Burgess.

That put them within 10 points before they hit Widnes with a huge sucker punch as they scored twice in as many minutes.

The first was a masterful solo effort from Morgan Escare, who danced around four Widnes tacklers for a world-class try, and then former Viking Willie Isa bulldozed his way through to score.

Sam Powell's boot edged Wigan ahead at 20-18 before Gilmore levelled it up with a penalty.

Wigan would not be denied, however, and they went ahead again with less than 10 minutes to go when Sutton crossed following a powerful drive.

Widnes were still not done and Ince raced over in the corner to give Gilmore a shot to level it, but the kick was skewed wide and Tautai had the final say with Wigan's fifth try of the half a minute from the final hooter.

Castleford continued their dominance of neighbours Wakefield with a hard-fought 24-4 victory that moved them back into the top four.

Trinity were in the contest for much of Friday's match at the Jungle but the Tigers pulled clear in the closing stages to record a 10th straight win in the West Yorkshire derby.

Luke Gale got the ball rolling for Castleford with three early penalties but he did not appear in the second half after sustaining a knee injury.

Greg Minikin, Adam Milner and Paul McShane crossed for the Tigers' tries as they bounced back from last week's defeat at Wigan.

Tyler Randell got Wakefield on the board before half-time but they are six points adrift of the play-off positions after another disappointing performance.

Rain fell steadily throughout the afternoon and the greasy conditions were evident inside the first minute when Joe Wardle came up with an unforced error.

Gale did not hesitate to point to the posts after Pauli Pauli caught Adam Milner with a high shot and the England scrum-half added another two points from in front of the posts when Wakefield were penalised for interference.

Trinity suffered a blow when Chris Annakin was helped from the field with a leg injury on his first appearance of the season and they had to dig deep in defence as Castleford forced a series of drop-outs.

Wakefield were perhaps relieved when Gale opted to slot over a 30-metre penalty but that made it 6-0 after 20 minutes and the visitors were yet to lay a glove on the Tigers.

Castleford continued to turn the screw and finally broke through the Wakefield defence in the 27th minute.

Trinity full-back Max Jowitt made a mess of Gale's kick in behind and from the resultant scrum Jamie Ellis' superb long pass was well finished in the corner by Minikin.

Ellis missed the touchline conversion with Gale receiving treatment on his knee and the problem forced the half-back off at the break.

Wakefield went into half-time with hope thanks to a try from hooker Randell, who had dropped to the bench as Chris Chester made a raft of changes following last week's heavy defeat at Salford.

Randell dummied his way over from acting-half after spotting a big hole in the Castleford defence but it remained 10-4 after Ryan Hampshire somehow hit the post from the tee.

Wakefield picked up where they left off after the restart and thought they had crossed again through Jowitt following a one-two with Tom Johnstone, only for the video referee to spot an obstruction in the build-up.

Minikin then had a spectacular effort ruled out for a knee in touch as the Tigers sought a crucial second try.

Ellis spurned a golden opportunity to push Castleford two scores clear when he missed a straightforward penalty, but it did not prove costly as Milner forced his way over from acting-half two sets later.

Wakefield asked questions of the Tigers as the game entered the closing stages but the hosts held firm and the impressive Liam Watts ensured they won the territory battle.

Ellis made no mistake from a penalty following a ball steal and then added another two points from the touchline after McShane raced clear down the touchline to the biggest cheer of the night.

Thursday

St Helens overcame the dismissal of forward Matty Lees to rout Salford 60-10 and pull four points clear at the top of Betfred Super League but their victory was overshadowed by a neck injury to star man Ben Barba.

The Australian full-back scored his first Super League hat-trick, taking him clear at the top of the scoring charts with 15 tries from 13 appearances, but he fell awkwardly in a tackle eight minutes from the end.

Barba was seen writhing in agony before medics got to him and, after lengthy treatment on the pitch, he was carried off on a stretcher.

With England prop Alex Walmsley already sidelined with a fractured bone in his neck, it promises to be another major blow for the Super League leaders.

Barba is a clear favourite for the Man of Steel award after dominating the first half of the regular season and he was again in sparkling form at the AJ Bell Stadium where Saints ran in 11 tries to two.

The other blemish for the leaders was the red card shown to Lees by referee Chris Kendall for a high tackle on Salford full-back Niall Evalds three minutes before half-time.

Saints were already 28-6 in front by then, however, and scored another six tries against a disappointing Red Devils outfit.

Salford drafted in Jake Shorrocks, their loan signing from Wigan, in place of injured stand-off Robert Lui but he ended up playing the second half out of position at full-back after Evalds' premature departure for concussion.

Saints quickly picked up from where they left off against Huddersfield, against whom they scored 66 points, with Barba leading the home defence a merry dance.

Winger Tom Makinson took Barba's cut-out pass and produced an acrobatic finish to score the opening try after only three minutes and turned creator 10 minutes later when he leapt into the air to bring down Richardson's high kick and sent second rower Dominique Peyroux over to double their score.

Tommy Makinson scores St Helens' first try against Salford
Tommy Makinson scores St Helens' first try against Salford

Barba then grabbed his first try, finishing off a break by winger Regan Grace, before providing a sharp pass for centre Ryan Morgan to touch down.

With Richardson kicking his third conversion on the way to a 16-point haul, Saints were scoring at a point a minute but Salford stemmed the onslaught on 27 minutes when loose forward Tyrone McCarthy crashed over for a try from Logan Tomkins' pass from dummy half and Shorrocks added the goal.

The Red Devils were pressing again when Barba demonstrated his opportunism by snaffling Josh Wood's pass five metres from his own line and sprinting away for his second try.

The dismissal of Lees for what appeared to be a swinging arm threatened to throw Saints off their stride but it merely galvanised them and Grace added a sixth try on the stroke of half-time, when they led 32-6.

The game went flat at the start of the second half but Saints found another purple patch to remind the crowd of their ability to entertain.

That man Barba got Grace over for his second try with another pin-point cut-out pass before a long-range break from deep inside his own half from substitute forward Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook created the position for Zeb Taia to send centre Mark Percival over for his 13th try of the season.

Barba completed his hat-trick on the hour after collecting a kick from Richardson before suffering his injury.

Undeterred by the loss of their talismanic playmaker, Saints carried on regardless, adding further tries through substitute Theo Fages and Morgan before centre Kris Welham grabbed a consolation score for Salford.

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