Super League Round 17 Review
The First Utility Super League rolled into June last weekend as the 17th round of the first phase was completed. In last weekend's action, Wakefield lost their second game in succession, while Warrington, Catalan and Hull all won to step up the pace for the League Leaders' Shield.
Wakefield 16-54 Hull KR (Thursday)
Thursday's match saw Kieran Dixon claim a hat-trick to keep Hull KR's hopes of the top eight alive amidst a second successive defeat for Wakefield. The visitors raced into an early-four try lead, as Dixon set the pace with the opening score, before Albert Kelly, James Greenwood and Shaun Lunt all followed suit. Bill Tupou and Mikey Sio pegged the Robins lead back either side of a James Green try to make it 26-10 at half-time.
Wakefield started the second half as they had ended the first, with Craig Hall getting another try back for Chris Chester's men. But Hull KR scored tallied unanswered efforts to seal the two points. Dixon added two quick-fire scores to complete his hat-trick, while Kelly and Greenwood recorded braces before Maurice Blair compounded Wakefield's misery.
St Helens 4-26 Warrington (Friday)
Warrington maintained the pressure at the top, taking both points in an impressive win away at local rivals St Helens. The hosts went into half-time with a three-try lead, as Ben Currie's power, Chris Sandow's footwork and Ryan Atkins' pace proved all too much for the Saints. Warrington continued in the same vain after the break, as Stefan Ratchford raced away to add his side's fourth, before Rhys Evans was gifted a try from some poor defending to make it 26-0. Keiron Cunningham's men registered a consolation shortly after, but the missed conversion epitomised Saints' poor display.
Hull FC 30-10 Widnes (Friday)
Hull FC kept their place at the top of the league after sinking Widnes to their ninth loss in ten games. Widnes were resilient in the first half, with Rhys Hanbury going over first to put the Vikings in front. Carlos Tuimavave's weaving run saw him touch down impressively, and Marc Sneyd added the extras to make it 6-4 at half-time.
Hull remain out in front with Widnes win
In the second half, Widnes collapsed, as Lee Radford's hosts scored four in a row. Kirk Yeaman went over softly from dummy-half, Josh Bowden crashed over and Danny Houghton collected a loose ball to score, before Jamie Shaul went over from the kick-off after breaking the Widnes line without a single tackle. Chris Dean did add a consolation for Widnes, but they remain in danger of the bottom four.
Huddersfield 22-30 Castleford (Friday)
Castleford defeated Huddersfield away from home to keep the hosts in the bottom four. Denny Solomona took Cas in front, before Jamie Ellis responded for Huddersfield. Jake Webster and Luke Gale moved the away side two tries in front, but Leroy Cudjoe once again kept Huddersfield in the contest.
Solomona and Webster then both claimed their second tries of the game respectively, meaning two further tries from Huddersfield, supplied by Ryan Brierley and Jake Connor, weren't enough to steal victory from the Tigers.
Leeds 12-24 Catalan (Friday)
Catalan kept up the pace at the top by sinking Leeds to yet another defeat - their sixth in a row. Brett Ferres opened the scoring to take Leeds in front, but Catalan had a three-try lead at half-time after Justin Horo, Fouhad Yaha and Jason Baitieri all added individual efforts.
Les Dragons s'imposent à Leeds pic.twitter.com/auBbHGyj1c- Dragons Catalans (@DragonsOfficiel) June 3, 2016
In the second half, Josh Walters recorded an impressive breakaway try for the Rhinos, but Eloi Pelissier sealed the two points for the visitors in equal fashion, running away unopposed.
Salford 20-23 Wigan (Friday)
Josh Charnley scored a hat-trick for Wigan as they edged Salford in a tightly-contested game to keep their place high in the table - Salford missed the opportunity to close in on the top eight. Charnley opened the scoring for Wigan before Michael Dobson responded with a brace for Salford to take them into the lead.
Charnley treble seals Wigan win at Salford
Ryan Sutton equalised for the Warriors, and Matty Smith's drop-goal made it 11-10 at half-time. Charnley claimed his hat-trick with two more tries either side of a Matty Smith penalty kick to make sure that further Salford tries from Josh Jones and Daniel Vidot couldn't spoil their party.
Words by Jonny Whitfield
(Pictures via: Super League)