Super League review: Hull too good for Castleford at the KCOM Stadium

Jacob Miller in action for Wakefield
Jacob Miller in action for Wakefield

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

Super League results

Thursday May 3

  • St Helens 26-12 Catalans Dragons

Friday May 4

  • Huddersfield 28-18 Widnes
  • Leeds 22-33 Warrington
  • Wigan 30-0 Salford

Saturday May 5

  • Hull FC 36-12 Castleford

Sunday May 6

  • Wakefield 54-18 Hull KR

Sunday

Wakefield gave their faltering top-four aspirations a timely boost as Jacob Miller pulled the strings to inspire Trinity to a thumping 54-18 victory over Hull KR.

After winning only one of their previous eight Super League fixtures, Wakefield's play-off hopes were hanging by a thread and their season needed the kind of clinical performance they delivered in sweltering conditions at Belle Vue.

Rovers made a positive start but needed tries from Chris Clarkson and Adam Quinlan to draw level at 12-12 after Matty Ashurst and Tom Johnstone had scored against the run of play.

Tyler Randell put Wakefield back ahead before half-time and Trinity ran riot after the break, Scott Grix scoring twice either side of efforts from Ben Jones-Bishop and Johnstone.

Kieren Moss marked his debut in the competition with a try but Wakefield completed a record Super League win over Rovers as Anthony England touched down and Johnstone completed his hat-trick.

Saturday

Two tries each from Sika Manu and Bureta Faraimo helped Hull climb to fourth in Super League after beating Castleford 36-12 at the KCOM Stadium.

Manu, who had not managed a try all season, scored two of Hull's four first half tries as they established a 20-6 lead at the break.

However, the win came at a cost with influential playmaker Marc Sneyd helped off the pitch at the start of the second half with a leg injury.

Castleford were without their injured playmaker Luke Gale and it showed.

After a high-tempo start Hull took the lead with a well-crafted try. Jake Connor's perfectly weighted drop-off pass allowed Manu to burst through and score Hull's 50th try of the season which was converted by Sneyd to give the Black and Whites a 6-0 lead after 14 minutes.

The home side's lead lasted only five minutes. Michael Shenton cleverly kept play alive by palming a high kick backwards for Paul McShane to score a try his support play deserved. Jamie Ellis' conversion levelled the scores at 6-6.

Sneyd restored his side's advantage with a wonderful dummy that created the space to run through to score. His conversion, however, was off target but Hull led 10-6.

Following Alex Foster's interference on Carlos Tuimavave trying to play the ball quickly, Manu was in the right place at the right time as Sneyd's kick dropped into his hands after the Tigers made a mess of dealing with it. Sneyd made it 16-6 with his second conversion of the game.

Hull's third try in 12 minutes came from another Sneyd kick. Connor flicked the ball backwards where Faraimo gathered and powered his way over the line for his fifth try of the season.

Sneyd's missed conversion left Castleford trailing 20-6 with the interval approaching. The visitors could have been 21-6 behind had Sneyd not missed a drop goal on the stroke of half-time.

The second half did not start too well for either side. Ellis' restart went straight out of playing giving Hull a penalty on the halfway line. Towards the end of their first set of the second half, Sneyd was helped from the pitch after being tackled going for the line.

With their goalkicker now off the field, Connor extended Hull's lead to 22-6 with a 44th minute penalty after Joe Wardle stopped Connor from playing the ball quickly.

Castleford needed to score next to stay in the game and they did through Calum Turner's try on his Tigers debut after Jamie Shaul dropped a high kick 10 metres from his own line. Ellis converted to leave the visitors trailing 22-12.

Hull's defence stepped up eight minutes later when McShane looked to have found a gap in the left hand corner, but Josh Griffin pulled off a superb try-saving tackle bundling the half-back into touch.

Turner was denied a second try for Castleford after the touch judge ruled he had stepped into touch before grounding the ball.

Hull sealed victory in the 65th minute when Griffin's offload allowed Faraimo to score.

A late Connor penalty and a Griffin try, converted effortlessly from the touchline by Connor, made the score at the final hooter 36-12.

Friday

Harvey Livett notched a hat-trick as Warrington scored four tries in the last 20 minutes to snatch a dramatic 33-22 victory over Leeds in a pulsating Super League encounter at Headingley.

The Wolves' eight-match winning run looked to be over when the Rhinos over-turned an early 10-0 deficit to lead 22-11 after an hour.

But Leeds-born centre Ryan Atkins gave them hope with a 62nd-minute try before Livett, the man given the chance to the fill the boots of injured England forward Ben Currie, went over twice in three minutes to turn the game on its head.

Substitute Ben Murdoch Masila then piled on the agony for the defending champions with a last-minute try that put the seal on a ninth successive victory that keeps Warrington in touch with leaders St Helens.

It was revenge for the Wolves' opening-day defeat at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and represents another setback for the Rhinos, who missed the chance to climb into the top four.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott handed a home debut to Auckland-born prop Nathaniel Peteru, who made his comeback from a ruptured bicep sustained in the opening match of the season at Warrington, but they were trailing 10-0 by the time he entered the action.

Livett made his mark as early as the seventh minute when he twice kicked ahead into space in the Leeds 20-metre area and stand-off Kevin Brown also put his boot to the ball before winning the race to touch down for the opening try.

Bryson Goodwin added the conversion but then struck an upright with a penalty and was also off target on 18 minutes when Livett dummied his way over from dummy half on the last tackle for the Wolves' second try.

Goodwin was then forced off with a head knock which caused a re-shuffle, but Warrington thought they had scored again when that man Livett squeezed a pass out of a two-man tackle to Murdoch Masila, but video referee Phil Bentham ruled he had been tackled short of the line.

Two handling errors from Golding, which summed up the Rhinos' lack of confidence, put his side under enormous pressure, but he made amends eight minutes before half-time when he went on an arcing run to the line and stretched out of Livett's tackle to touch down.

Relieved to concede just four points during the Rhinos' resurgence, Wolves scrum-half Tyrone Roberts took the opportunity to open up a two-score lead with a drop goal on the stroke of half-time.

The one point began to look useful when Leeds stand-off Joel Moon forced his way over for his side's second try four minutes into the second half, taking three defenders over the line with him, and Kallum Watkins' first conversion cut the deficit to 11-10.

Leeds had all the momentum by then and it was no surprise when they hit the front, winger Ryan Hall taking Carl Ablett's long pass to finish off an exquisitely-worked move in which Richie Myler handled twice.

As Warrington's discipline deteriorated, Leeds' comeback looked to be complete three minutes later when Ablett burst through a yawning gap for their fourth try and Watkins kicked his second touchline conversion to extend the lead to 22-11.

But if the game was up, nobody told the visitors.

Atkins sparked the late flurry by gathering the ball superbly from Brown's kick for a try and Stefan Ratchford added the conversion to bring his side to within five points.

That was the signal for Livett, by then playing in the threequarters, to take centre stage once more.

He stormed over from Ratchford's pass on 68 minutes and two minutes later finished off a superb break by the England full-back to complete his hat-trick and top a man-of-the-match display.

Sam Tomkins grabbed a brace of tries as Wigan kept Salford scoreless in a 30-0 win to keep the pressure on leaders St Helens at the summit.

In a one-sided game, the Warriors remained patient and took their chances against a very tired Salford outfit as they ran in three unanswered tries inside the opening 40 minutes.

Oliver Gildart crossed for the opening try for the fourth game in a row, while further tries from Tony Clubb and George Williams ensured they held a comfortable 18-0 lead at the break.

Salford were forced to make several changes due to injury, but they were never in this game and Wigan took full advantage to make it six Super League wins in succession.

Tomkins turned on the style in the second period as the Warriors again had the lion's share of possession.

He managed to cross twice in the space of 10 minutes with Salford very rarely making into Wigan's own 20, with John Bateman crossing for Wigan's sixth try to round off a good night for Shaun Wane's men.

Wigan blew a great chance to take the lead inside the opening five minutes as Liam Marshall knocked on with the line at his mercy following a great break from Williams.

The Warriors wasted another good chance moments later as Willie Isa went down the short side and was forced into touch thanks to a big hit from Derrell Olpherts and Jake Bibby.

Wigan dominated possession in the first half and really made the Red Devils work hard in defence.

It was only in the 22nd minute they broke the deadlock, but it was worth the wait. Gildart scooted from the play-the-ball just inside his own half before gliding past Olpherts to score.

Moments later, the Warriors were in again as the Red Devils coughed up possession and Clubb took a short ball from Marshall to crash over for a deserved 12-0 lead.

The visitors were finding it increasingly difficult to mount any real attack and the Warriors made them pay with Williams going over, Tomkins converting to give them a comfortable half-time advantage.

Wigan continued to throw everything at Salford after the break with Ryan Sutton going close, before Sam Powell had a try chalked off for a double movement.

It was all one-way traffic and Tomkins got the try his performance deserved in the 57th minute as he used all his strength to go over from close range.

Wigan were determined to keep the Red Devils scoreless and that showed when Thomas Leuluai stormed out of the defensive line and put a big hit on Daniel Murray, which saw the loose forward spill possession while trying to get up and play the ball.

Tomkins was then on hand 10 minutes later to grab his second try of the night to put the game to bed, while Bateman had the final say with a try in the final five minutes.

Tomkins failed to add any of the extras to the three second-half tries but that did not matter as Wigan ran out convincing winners.

Jacob Wardle scored two tries on his Super League debut as Huddersfield beat Widnes 28-18 in interim head coach Chris Thorman's last game in charge.

It was Thorman's first win at the seventh attempt as he prepares to hand over the reins to new boss Simon Woolford, who will arrive at the John Smith's Stadium on Thursday.

The new boss will have something positive to build on as his club moved up to ninth with just their third win of the campaign, with 19-year-old Wardle hinting at a bright future.

After an even opening, it was the hosts who struck first in the 14th minute.

Jordan Rankin's high kick was gathered by Wardle, who touched down in the corner.

Fellow rookie Huddersfield centre Sam Wood was unable to add the extras, and that enabled the Vikings to nudge ahead 14 minutes later.

Two cheap penalties took Widnes to the line and Danny Craven crossed with relative ease. Tom Gilmore's goal made it 6-4 to the visitors.

But it was the Giants who led at the break as the ball was swept out to the right for Wood to touch down in the corner.

This time Wood made no mistake with the touchline conversion, and Huddersfield had a four-point advantage at the break.

A tremendous Rankin break almost put Kruise Leeming over for the Giants within 30 seconds of the restart.

But there was no denying the home side three minutes later when Oliver Russell - the Giants' other 19-year-old Super League debutant - kicked perfectly for Wardle to grab and score. Wood added the conversion.

The Vikings narrowed the deficit in the 54th minute when Ryan Ince finished smartly in the corner and Gilmore landed the touchline goal.

Huddersfield regained their 10-point advantage as pressure on the Widnes line paved the way for Ukuma Ta'ai to crash over from close range for another converted score.

Wardle's debut took a downturn with 13 minutes remaining when he was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on Rhys Hanbury, and moments later Gilmore capitalised on a strong Greg Burke drive to cruise through unopposed to score a try that was converted by Gilmore.

Despite being a man down, Huddersfield responded quickly as Alex Mellor crossed to allow Wood to land his fourth successful conversion of the night.

Thursday

Free-scoring St Helens showed their defensive mettle to grind out a 26-12 win over Catalans Dragons and move four points clear at the top of the Betfred Super League.

After racking up 126 points in their two previous games, the absence of top tryscorer Ben Barba dulled their scoring prowess against a Dragons side that competed well without threatening to pull off a shock result.

Tom Makinson and St Helens celebrate
Tom Makinson and St Helens celebrate

Saints coach Justin Holbrook opted to rest Barba after he injured his neck at Salford but the home side were boosted by the return of evergreen hooker James Roby from a three-match absence with a rib injury.

Roby was at his best as the leaders dominated play for the first 15 minutes, with Jonny Lomax taking the opportunity to demonstrate his attacking prowess from full-back.

They carved out an early two-man overlap but missed a glorious chance to open the scoring when Lomax's pass went behind left winger Regan Grace but right winger Tom Makinson was more clinical as he made one try and scored another.

After finding himself in space after a neat passing move, Makinson produced a pinpoint grubber kick for Lomax to score the first try of the match and then plucked the ball out of the air following Richardson's high kick for a well-taken touchdown.

Richardson kicked one conversion as Saints led 10-0 but the Catalans gradually came more into the game through the prompting of half-backs Sami Langi and Josh Drinkwater.

Substitute forward Antoni Maria was held up over the line on the half-hour mark but the Dragons maintained the pressure and were awarded a try to centre Brayden Wiliame after he appeared to touch down Drinkwater's kick simultaneously with Saints' Ryan Morgan.

The revival was short-lived however, as the home side struck back immediately, taking advantage of a handling error from Maria, as substitute loose forward Morgan Knowles powered his way over for a solo try.

Richardson's second goal made it 16-4 at the break and Saints extended their lead within five minutes of the restart when quickfire passing worked Grace over for their fourth try.

A breakaway try from Catalans winger Jodie Broughton, profiting from a breakdown in a passing move from St Helens inside their own half, gave the visitors further hope as the game entered a period of stalemate.

Saints were forced into some tough defence as Dragons captain Remi Casty was brought down short of the line while second rower Louis Anderson lost control of the ball as he stretched out for a try.

Saints loose forward Jon Wilkin then had a try disallowed for a double movement before another impressive handling move enabled Grace to claim his second try and Richardson kicked his third goal.

The French club were far from disgraced, however, and had the final say when right winger Lewis Tierney scored their third try four minutes from the end, although Drinkwater missed his third conversion attempt.

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