Super League history is full of memorable games. We all look back fondly on Warrington and Leeds’ semi-final in 2011, Castleford and St Helens play-off tussle in 2017 and Wigan’s amazing comeback in 2007. But there are plenty of classic encounters that have slipped our memory. So, today we’re looking back at five forgotten Super League classics that deserve rewatching.
Wigan Warriors 26-27 Leeds Rhinos (2010)
How does this game not get talked about more? It simply had everything: drama, high stakes, controversy and above all it was an end-to-end affair full of great, attacking rugby. Wigan stormed into a 14-0 lead thanks to a superb Sam Tomkins double before two masterful tries from the Champions brought them level. More great rugby followed in the second half as the teams traded delightful tries. Leeds found themselves 26-24 ahead thanks to scores from Scott Donald and Brent Webb and then the tension really began to tell when the usually reliable Pat Richards missed a couple of attempts at goal. Eventually he pulled Wigan level but the topsy turvy game continued with Kevin Sinfield nudging Leeds ahead with a drop goal. That wasn’t the end of the drama, however. Wigan went for broke late on, Leeds covered well but were penalised for taking a man out culminating in a chance for Richards to win the game with the boot and leave the Warriors 80 minutes from Old Trafford. He missed and Leeds booked their place in the semi-finals.
St Helens 6-18 Wigan Warriors (2020)
It may have been less than a year ago but because of their brilliant encounter at Old Trafford plenty have already forgotten their battle to decide the destination of the League Leaders’ Shield. The Saints opened the scoring with a delightful try from Lachlan Coote. But three very different but equally brilliant tries from the Warriors took them 12-6 ahead. Eventually, a late Jackson Hastings score sealed the deal before the game erupted in the last few minutes owing to nasty high tackle.
Hull FC 20-16 Hull KR (2010)
In one of my favourite Hull derbies, Hull FC and Hull KR could only be separated by a single try. A rejuvenated Hull side looking to secure fourth in the table after two difficult seasons battled their play-off chasing rivals and a close encounter followed one that wasn’t decided till the very end when a magnificent Tom Briscoe tackle denied Peter Fox the winning try. It’s a moment still loved by Hull FC fans to this day even being voted Hull FC’s greatest Hull derby moment in 2016.
St Helens 10-8 Leeds Rhinos (2007)
In my opinion this is the greatest Super League game we’ve ever been blessed with and yet many seem to have forgotten this play-off encounter. The reigning Champions a year removed from the treble were battling against a side on the road to three consecutive titles as the two most successful clubs in Super League history at the peak of their powers battled for a place at Old Trafford. It was a classic. Never have I seen such brilliant defence whether it was thunderous hits or scrambling try-saving tackles, this game was a masterclass in how to shut out the opposition. It was a tense and tight battle with a huge prize at stake. There were plenty of magic moments in attack – like Lee Smith’s 80 metre try – but for every attacking moment there was a magnificent tackle to counter it. A special game between two special teams.
Hull FC 12-23 Leeds Rhinos (2004)
This was a special game. There was only one penalty in the entire match as the referee Steve Ganson allowed the contest to flow culminating in a fast-paced, brutal and physical encounter between a Leeds side riding high at the top of the table and a Hull team desperate to beat them. The first half was tryless as amazing defences shone. The Black and Whites then took a surprise lead at the start of the second stanza but that simply seemed to anger the league leaders who then hit Hull with a masterclass in attacking rugby scoring three simply amazing tries in quick succession to take the game away from the home team.