Super League review: Wigan beat Hull to close on leaders

Last Updated June 17 2018, 18:26Rugby League
Kyle Wood
Kyle Wood

A review of the latest round of matches in the Betfred Super League, as Wigan earned a hard-fought victory at Hull.

Super League results

Sunday

  • Wakefield 30-32 Warrington
  • Castleford 24-24 Hull KR

Saturday

  • Hull FC 10-14 Wigan

Friday

  • Huddersfield 26-25 Catalans Dragons
  • Leeds 22-23 St Helens

Thursday

Sunday

Relegation-threatened Hull KR came from 14-0 down to claim a point from a dramatic 24-24 draw with high-flying Castleford at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle.

Winger Jy Hitchcox scored four tries for the Tigers but most of his good work was undone in a thrilling finale as injuries took a cruel toll and the visitors displayed tremendous spirit to claw their way into the Betfred Super League clash.

Trailing 24-12, Rovers ran in two tries in the last 12 minutes to draw level and half-back Chris Atkin was wide with two drop goal attempts to win it while Castleford's Jake Trueman was off target with one as the game ended in a stalemate.

Castleford were guilty of over-playing at times but they were thwarted by the scrambling defence of Hull KR, who gave a debut to former Wigan forward Joel Tomkins and had hooker and captain Shaun Lunt back from a two-month injury lay-off.

Warrington held off a spirited second-half fightback by Wakefield to claim a 32-30 victory that consolidated their top-four position.

Hull's defeat at home to Wigan gave the Wolves the chance to move four points clear of their fifth-placed rivals and they took it despite scoring only four tries to Trinity's five.

Stefan Ratchford crossed twice in the opening 10 minutes and Tom Lineham helped himself to a try as Warrington established a commanding early lead.

Harvey Livett added his fifth goal after Tinirau Arona had got Wakefield on the board to put the Wolves 22-6 up at half-time and Bryson Goodwin added another penalty after the restart to stretch Warrington's advantage.

Back-to-back tries from Kyle Wood reduced the deficit to six points but Brown went over to secure a hard-earned win for the Wolves and ensure late efforts from Tom Johnstone and Pauli Pauli were mere consolation for Wakefield.

Saturday

Wigan moved to within six points of Super League leaders St Helens after beating Hull FC 14-10 at the KCOM Stadium.

In a bizarre finale, Wigan went for a drop goal to win the game, but when the ball rebounded off the crossbar, they caught Hull napping to score a try and end their three-game losing streak.

Hull missed out on the chance to return to the top four after coming from 8-0 down to lead 10-8 with 10 minutes to play.

Both sides were prepared to throw the ball around early on and it was Wigan who came close to scoring first but Tom Davies was bundled into touch before he could ground the ball in the right corner.

After a frantic first quarter, the Warriors eventually took the lead in the 25th minute.

A Hull attack broke down 10 metres from the Wigan line with George Williams intercepting a pass and releasing the faster Liam Marshall to take the visitors deep into Hull territory.

In the next play, Williams' kick was grounded by Dan Sarginson just before Hakim Miloudi pushed him out of play. Sam Tomkins made it 6-0 with the conversion.

Tomkins was again on target on the half-hour mark when he added a penalty to make it 8-0.

Hull's attack let them down at vital times, which kept them scoreless for the first 36 minutes, with a series of dropped passes frustrating Lee Radford's side.

When their attack did click, it worked a treat as Bureta Faraimo powered his way through two Wigan defenders to score after having the presence of mind to ground the ball under the posts making the conversion easier.

Jake Connor, called up for England's mid-season Test against New Zealand in Denver, obliged to make it 8-6 just before half-time.

The second half began simultaneously with a thunder storm but that did little to unsettle Hull who started the second half in the same manner they ended the first.

A flowing move from left to right was finished in style by Faraimo to score his second try of the game and his 11th in the league this season.

Connor could not add the conversion, but for the first time in the game Hull were in front at 10-8.

Wigan came close to regaining the lead with 12 minutes remaining but a forward pass from Oliver Gildart to Marshall ruled out the winger's try.

However, on the very next play, Jack Logan lost possession of the ball in a tackle, gifting Wigan a short field to play with.

Hull's problems mounted when they conceded a penalty 21 metres out and in front of the posts. Tomkins made no mistake and drew the sides level at 10-10 with 10 minutes to play.

Hull felt they should have had a penalty when Albert Kelly was hit after sending a high kick deep into Wigan territory but Tony Clubb's challenge went unpunished.

In a bizarre twist, Tomkins' drop goal rebounded off the crossbar, and into the arms of Sean O'Loughlin who did not panic.

Wigan had numbers outside on their left wing where Marshall glided over the line to win the two points for the Warriors.

Tomkins missed the conversion, but his side were able to run the clock down and secure victory.

Friday

Huddersfield's Alex Mellor and Ryan Hinchcliffe celebrate
Huddersfield's Alex Mellor and Ryan Hinchcliffe celebrate

In-form Huddersfield Giants made it five Super League victories in succession with a thrilling 26-25 home victory over Catalans Dragons.

After fighting their way back from an 18-0 deficit, the hosts eventually sealed victory in the 77th minute when scrum-half Oliver Russell landed a 15-metre penalty from in front of the posts.

It was the boot of birthday boy Josh Drinkwater, 26, which did all of the damage in the opening quarter as the Dragon set up three tries for his team-mates.

The first to profit was Brayden Wiliame, who followed up Drinkwater's grubber to get the vital touch by the posts to pave the way for the in-form scrum-half to land the first of four first-half conversions.

Drinkwater then chipped to the left for Vincent Duport to finish wide out, before the half-back dabbed the ball to the right to allow David Mead to leap high and grab his side's third converted score to make it 18-0 in as many minutes.

But on the Giants' first serious raid inside their opponents' territory, Russell sent out a perfectly-timed pass for Alex Mellor to stroll over for a 22nd-minute try which Russell converted with ease.

The try of the opening half came three minutes later and was full of French flair as Julian Bousquet and Tony Gigot combined close to the Huddersfield line to send Remi Casty over under the posts.

Drinkwater's added the extras to restore Catalans' 18-point lead but - by half-time - the advantage had been cut to 10 as the Giants finished with a flourish.

Darnell McIntosh made the most of a sluggish defence to touch down in the corner eight minutes before the break and then Leroy Cudjoe kept the ball alive for Jermaine McGillvary to cross five minutes later.

It was all Huddersfield at the start of the second half, although it took them 16 minutes to finally break the French resistance as Adam O'Brien squirmed his way over from acting half-back close to the line in trademark fashion.

That lead, however, was finally cancelled out 10 minutes later when Drinkwater's long pass was intercepted by McGillvary on his own 10-metre line to race the length of the field, with Russell this time on target to level up at 24-24 with 16 minutes remaining.

Michael McIlorum's drop-goal attempt to nudge Catlans back ahead three minutes later hit a post and bounced back into the arms of a relieved Giant, but there was no denying Gigot his one-pointer in the 74th minute.

Huddersfield responded well as they took play downfield and forced Sam Moa to concede a penalty for interference - which Russell calmly landed with three minutes to play.

The away side looked to have snatched it with 90 seconds left on the clock, but Benjamin Julien's effort was ruled offside in what proved to be the most dramatic of finishes as the Giants just edged it.

St Helens' Danny Richardson celebrates after his drop goal against Leeds Rhinos
St Helens' Danny Richardson celebrates

Elsewhere, a drop goal from Danny Richardson two minutes from the end condemned Leeds to a fifth successive league defeat and strengthened St Helens' lead at the top of the table with a thrilling 23-22 victory at Headingley.

The Rhinos are one of only two teams to have beaten Saints in 2018 and they must be wondering how they failed to complete the double after producing an heroic performance against the odds.

St Helens, who suffered two two-point defeats at Headingley in 2017, were far from at their best against a Leeds team that produced one of their best and certainly most courageous displays of a difficult season.

Saints thought they had opened the scoring in the 11th minute when stand-off Jonny Lomax, one of five England players in the visitors' line-up, forced his way to the line only to have the try disallowed for obstruction.

Leeds immediately made the most of the let-off, working their way upfield and impressive hooker Matt Parcell broke through the first line of defence to send winger Tom Briscoe away for the first try, which Liam Sutcliffe converted.

It took the leaders some time to quell the Rhinos' enthusiasm and find their rhythm in attack, but they struck twice in the second quarter to go in front.

Full-back Ben Barba showed his eye for the opening and found the pace to make it count as he ghosted through for a solo try, his 20th of the campaign, in the 23rd minute and Richardson's conversion levelled the scores at 6-6.

Barba was then involved in a score for Lomax, who finished off a break by Mark Percival for his 10th try of the season which put Saints in front 10-6.

Leeds probably needed the half-time hooter to halt their visitors' momentum and they were lively at the start of the season half, drawing level when Briscoe re-gathered a grubber kick from substitute Cameron Smith to score his second try of the game.

Saints hit back immediately, with hooker James Roby twice held up over the line after trademark dashes from dummy half and Percival was also tackled over the line without being able to ground the ball before he got on the end of another Barba pass to restore Saints' lead.

Richardson's touchline goal made it 16-10 but the never-say-die Rhinos were level once more after Ryan Hall claimed possession from the re-start and prop Mitch Garbutt took Parcell's pass close to the line to spin over for a converted try.

Leeds managed to retain possession and Sutcliffe was on target with the second of two penalties to edge his side back in front on the hour.

The champions looked to have won it when second rower Brett Ferres gathered the ball from his own kick to score their fourth try nine minutes from the end to make it 22-16.

But Sutcliffe's missed conversion kept the door open for Saints and they duly struck two minutes later when the outstanding Percival made the running for co-centre Ryan Morgan to go over for their fourth try.

Richardson kept his nerve to land the equalising conversion and was again on target two minutes from the end with his drop goal.

Thursday

Greg Burke scored the decisive try on his debut to sink Widnes Vikings, the club he left last week to join Salford Red Devils on loan.

The former Wigan prop arrived at Salford along with Ed Chamberlain in a swap deal for Weller Hauraki who joined the Vikings and all were in action at the AJ Bell Stadium on Thursday night.

Interim head coach Francis Cummins guided Salford to a victory over Widnes
Interim head coach Francis Cummins guided Salford to a victory over Widnes

Burke returned to haunt his parent club as he tumbled over the tryline with 18 minutes remaining for the game-breaking score though diplomatically chose not to celebrate.

It was also an eventful night for Salford centre Kris Welham who scored two tries to reach 150 for his career and was sent to the sin-bin in the 26-12 victory.

Widnes ended the game with 12 men after Chris Houston was sent off for mockingly applauding referee James Child who had just shown him the yellow card for a high tackle on Burke.

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