Magic Weekend review: Warrington beat Wigan as Catalans produce comeback win

Warrington's Declan Patton

A review of Saturday's action from the Magic Weekend at Anfield, where there were wins for Warrington, Catalan Dragons and Huddersfield.

Magic Weekend results

  • Wakefield Trinity 18-25 Catalans Dragons
  • Hull FC 2-55 Huddersfield Giants
  • Wigan Warriors 14-26 Warrington Wolves

Warrington too strong for Wigan

Warrington brought down the curtain on day one of the Magic Weekend at Anfield in style with a resounding 26-14 win over Wigan.

Man of Steel front runner Blake Austin scored the decisive try as the Wolves gained their third win of the season over the reigning champions, further atoning for their 2018 Grand Final defeat.

This was the ninth meeting of the two rivals in the last 18 months but the fans clearly do not believe you can have too much of a good thing as Liverpool drew a crowd of 30,057 for the three first-day matches, which goes a long way towards allaying fears of a record low turn-out.

Wigan were level at 8-8 after 52 minutes but for the second successive week faded badly as they conceded 16 points in the last 26 minutes and with it the best Magic Weekend record to Huddersfield after losing for only the third time in 13 on-the-road matches.

Warrington coach Steve Price will be delighted with the way his side responded to their home defeat by Hull, especially without England full-back Stefan Ratchford, as they consolidated second place in the table.

The Warriors fielded something of a makeshift team with skipper Sean O'Loughlin and Jake Shorrocks occupying the starting positions at stand-off and hooker in the absence of specialists Thomas Leulai and Sam Powell.

Their injury woes continued with the loss of second rower Joe Greenwood before half-time for the second successive week, this time with suspected broken ribs.

A cagey opening was shaded by Wigan, who took the lead with a 17th-minute penalty from Zak Hardaker, but Mo Salah would have been proud to have been associated with the game's first try.

Warrington winger Tom Lineham demonstrated neat footwork by twice kicking ahead for half-back Dec Patton to touch down.

Patton converted his own try and added a penalty in the 34th minute to make it 8-2, which was the half-time score.

Wigan were indebted to Hardaker for keeping his side in the game by preventing what appeared to be a certain try by forcing the ball free from Wolves forward Ben Murdoch-Masila as he made a charge for the line.

The former Leeds and Castleford full-back was then at the heart of the Warriors' impressive start to the second half.

A fumble by Warrington winger Josh Charnley inside his own 20-metre area gifted his old club the perfect attacking position which they did not waste.

Shorrocks was held up after a dart for the line and, in the next play, winger Joe Burgess accepted a cut-out pass from George Williams to cross at the corner.

Hardaker could not add the difficult conversion but levelled the scores in the 52nd minute with a penalty, which followed another Warrington handling error, this time by substitute Jason Clark.

With the game in the balance, it took a flash of inspiration from Austin to turn it once more in the Wolves' favour, as the former Canberra stand-off went from first receiver through the heart of the Wigan defence for his 16th try of the season.

Patton's third goal made it 14-8 and the game was put beyond the Warriors on the hour when Charnley swooped on a loose ball and sent centre Toby King away for an 80-metre try.

Patton once more added the conversion and kicked two further penalties to stretch the lead to 22-8 before Wigan grabbed a late consolation try through Willie Isa.

Patton then rounded off the scoring with a fourth penalty, his seventh successful kick from as many attempts.

Dragons leave it late

Catalans produced a stirring finish to secure a 25-18 victory over Wakefield in a thrilling opening game of the 2019 Dacia Magic Weekend at Anfield.

A 69th-minute try from Trinity winger Ben Jones-Bishop levelled the scores at 18-18 and golden-point extra time beckoned until Catalans full-back Tony Gigot clinched the win with a drop goal.

Second rower Benjamin Garcia then went over for his second try a minute from the end to pile on the misery for Wakefield, who had overhauled a 12-0 half-time deficit to go in front.

Fresh from the euphoria of their emphatic win over Wigan at the Nou Camp, a third successive win enables the Dragons to consolidate their push for a top-three finish in the Betfred Super League but leaves question marks over Trinity's play-off credentials.

The Perpignan club were boosted by the return of former England scrum-half Matty Smith for only his second game in two months but they were without his former Wigan team-mates Sam Tomkins and Michael McIlorum while Wakefield handed a debut to former Manly forward Kelepi Tanginoa.

Wakefield, who have won just four of 13 matches at the Magic Weekend, spent most of the first half camped inside their own half and much of it was their own fault.

When centre Reece Lyne was penalised for an incorrect play-the-ball, it gave the Catalans an early attacking opportunity and Trinity were grateful to full-back Max Jowitt for holding winger Fouad Yaha up over the line.

Centre David Mead was also held up after Wakefield loose forward George King lost the ball on his own 20-metre line and the pressure inevitably told as the Dragons scored two tries to open up a 12-0 interval lead.

Yaha touched down Gigot's grubber kick to score the first try of the Magic Weekend and provided the final pass for Gigot to add a second after 30 minutes, although Wakefield rightly complained of a forward pass in the build-up.

Gigot converted his own try and added a penalty just before the interval but the game was transformed within seven minutes of a blistering start to the second half.

Wakefield hooker Kyle Wood finished off a break by winger Mason Caton-Brown and full-back Ryan Hampshire, on his 100th Super League appearance, opened up a gap for second rower Danny Kirmond to mark his 200th Super League appearance with a try.

Trinity ought to have had another try when substitute forward James Batchelor broke clear but failed to find the support and they had to settle for a penalty from Hampshire, to add to his two conversions, to give them the lead.

Caton-Brown then produced an acrobatic dive at the corner only for slow-motion replays to indicate he had put a foot in touch and the French club regained the lead after 56 minutes with a try straight from a scrum when second rower Garcia took Gigot's pass to force his way over the line.

Gigot's third goal made it 18-14 but it was all square after 68 minutes when Wakefield conjured up an overlap for winger Jones-Bishop to cross at the corner.

Hampshire was narrowly wide with the conversion but had the first chance to break the deadlock when Catalans put the re-start dead.

Wakefield suffered a late blow when prop David Fifita hobbled from the field on crutches but Catalans sent on their own heavyweight hero Sam Kasiano for the last five minutes and it was from his powerful surge that Gigot kicked his drop goal from 35 metres out before Garcia's late try added the gloss.

Huddersfield blitz sorry Hull

Huddersfield's fondness of the Magic Weekend continued as they swept past dismal Hull at Anfield.

Despite seldom being top-level Super League contenders, the Giants have always showed up for the sport's showpiece weekend and this fantastic 55-2 success was their ninth Magic win from 13 attempts.

The Giants will rarely have found a Magic victory so easy.

Huddersfield celebrate

Hull, tied for third at the start of the day, looked nothing like the side which won at Warrington last weekend and more like the one heavily beaten by Catalans three weeks ago.

Regular drubbings like this one undermine any title credentials Lee Radford's men may have and - on the day - Hull's greatest credit belonged to their fans who showed support for former player Jansin Turgut as he recovers from a horror fall he suffered on holiday in Ibiza.

On the field, Huddersfield were bang on the money from the off.

They led five minutes in, Joe Wardle dotting down after Jamie Shaul lost his footing when trying to sweep up an Oliver Russell kick.

Wardle's brother Jake added a second, his score possible thanks to a brilliant inside pass from wing partner Innes Senior.

Huddersfield's third try owed as much to Hull's defence as it did to scorer Adam O'Brien, the hooker bouncing off two covering defenders from five yards out on his 100th Super League appearance, with Russell adding the second of his seven goals for a 16-0 lead.

Attacking the Kop was doing nothing to inspire Hull and with 32 minutes on the clock they were regrouping under their own posts as Darnell McIntosh followed O'Brien in making light work of attempted cover defence after a right-to-left move.

Russell slotted a drop goal on the approach to half-time, before Hull finally registered as Marc Sneyd kicked a penalty on the hooter.

If coach Lee Radford had hoped some Jurgen Klopp-style words would galvanise his side at the break he was wrong. Within five minutes of the restart, Shaul had been trapped in goal, Sneyd had knocked on and O'Brien scored a replica of his first try.

O'Brien appeared to injure himself in the process, while Jake Wardle was also withdrawn after an accidental collision with his brother.

Hull did little to cash in on the misfortune, though, and gave McIntosh his second as again, their defence failed to muscle up after a pass from the impressive Lee Gaskell.

Alex Mellor was the next beneficiary of some generous defending and Hull's performance became all the more gruesome as they fell apart for lifelong Liverpool fan Jermaine McGillvary to score at the Kop end.

It was now a matter of how many more tries Huddersfield wanted and the answer was two, Aaron Murphy rewarded for a strong showing in the corner before McGillvary became the third Giant to score a double, Gaskell the provider once again.

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