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Super League Weekend Review: Round 2

Castleford Warrington squads

Leeds Rhinos 20-11 Hull KR

By Jack Conlon, Thursday

Keith Galloway injury

The Rhinos head off to Australia on the back of two wins, but I didn’t think they were too impressive on Thursday. They ground out a win in tough conditions against a good Hull KR side, with the returning Jimmy Keinhorst starring with a three-try display. The German centre has effectively played his way into the World Club Challenge and with Joel Moon also returning, it could mean Liam Sutcliffe is resigned to a bench spot.

Hopefully for Brian McDermott, Moon’s return should ignite his side’s attack, as the Myler-Sutcliffe combination didn’t seem to work. Moon plays with an infectious flair and encourages his teammates to keep the ball alive, which is what caused Warrington problems in round one. Their defence was superb but so is Melbourne’s, so the Rhinos’ priority should be getting over the line.

Rovers showed a great improvement, after last week’s 28-6 loss to Wakefield. Danny McGuire stepped up but it was his halfback partner Chris Atkin who took most of the plaudits. He put himself about all night and was a real handful, with his deft step and offload for Adam Quinlan’s try being a particular highlight. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

Huddersfield Giants 20-6 Warrington Wolves

By Ben Carney, Thursday

Huddersfield grabbed their first win of the season against a lacklustre Warrington on Thursday night.

Despite Tom Lineham giving the visitors an early lead, the Giants took control of the game from here with Dale Ferguson and Darnell McIntosh posting four pointers, before Danny Brough added a penalty goal to his two conversions. Jordan Turner’s try in the second half sewed up the win as Rick Stone’s side deservedly picked up the two competition points at John Smith’s Stadium.

For Warrington it’s back-to-back defeats, with new head coach Steve Price quickly finding out just how difficult Super League is.

Wakefield Trinity 14-12 Salford Red Devils

By Zoe Shackleton, Friday

Widnes Vikings 12-34 Wakefield Trinity

Wakefield boss Chris Chester summed up his side’s performance perfectly when he said: “It feels like a loss with the way we performed.” Trinity were way off the pace they set last week but this result is perhaps a sign of how far they’ve come. Wakefield didn’t play well but ground out the result – something which probably wouldn’t have happened a year ago.

Salford should have won, outscoring the home side three tries to two. It was only Gareth O’Brien’s wayward kicking that cost them the two points – missing a chance to draw the sides level after the final hooter sounded. However, Red Devils boss Ian Watson refused to blame the fullback, saying: “Someone had to take the kicks and the pressure comes when it is a tight game.” Watson said his side were outstanding in parts and deserved more from the game.

Trinity could’ve had more than Scott Grix and Jacob Miller’s tries, but handling errors cost them dearly. It’ll be a performance that Chester and his men will want to forget in a hurry, but with a week’s break looming they’ll look to put it right before heading to Catalans in Round 3. For now, they’re sitting pretty with two from two and with a good run of games coming up – it could be a successful few weeks for Super League’s surprise package.

Wigan Warriors 24-10 Hull FC

By Ian Judson, Saturday

Wakefield Trinity 10-16 Wigan Warriors

Wigan kept up their winning start to the season in a bruising encounter, as history was created in Wollongong, Australia, with the first Super League game ever played outside of Europe. Hull FC, however, can be very proud of their effort by not losing to a much greater margin, after no fewer than five key players suffered injuries and having only one interchange for over half the match.

Wigan were expert in exploiting the enforced early change after Bureta Faraimo suffered a concussion after being head butted by Liam Marshall, leading to the Wigan winger grabbing two tries. Tries from Fetuli Talanoa and Jordan Abdull restored parity for the Airlie Birds, but in the end Lee Radford’s troops just ran out of energy, against a very organised Wigan side.

A crowd of over 12,000 at the game would suggest that this experiment was a great success, with NRL Fan Polls Twitter claiming that ‘Hull FC have brought more travelling away fans to Wollongong Than Manly take across the bridge to the SFS’.

Catalan Dragons 12-21 St Helens

By Nathan Okell, Saturday

St Helens continued their excellent start to the new Super League season with a hard fought 21-12 victory in the South of France against the Catalans Dragons. A Jonny Lomax try within the first minute after a sublime break by the in-form Ben Barba looked to set the tone for the visitors, who demolished Castleford 46-6 the previous weekend; however a resilient Dragons refused to roll over and put repeated pressure on the Saints line.

Ultimately though, the Frenchmen lacked a cutting edge to truly threaten the early pace-setters, with David Mead and Alrix Da Costa trading tries with Regan Grace and the returning Adam Swift. Even when St Helens were reduced to 12 men for the remaining 25 minutes after Morgan Knowles perilous-looking tackle on Thibaut Margalet, they managed to hold out, with the impressive Danny Richardson adding a penalty and drop goal to push the game out of the Dragons reach.

Steve McNamara certainly received a response from his side after last week’s capitulation at Widnes and despite the loss, can be proud of his side’s effort against a team many are predicting for honours at the seasons end; whilst Justin Holbrook praised a special effort from his players and was understandably pleased after securing the two points.

Castleford Tigers 13-12 Widnes Vikings

By Sean Evans, Sunday

Castleford got the better of a tough Widnes side, with a Luke Gale drop goal splitting the two sides at full time. Widnes turned up to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle in a spirited mood after an opening weekend victory against the Dragons. The first half was mixed for both teams with 50% excellent defence and 50% not so excellent attack. It took until the 39th minute for the deadlock to be broken with Greg Minikin crossing the whitewash.

Castleford are looking to build on a 2017 League Leaders Shield but they were looking at two defeats from two after Matt Whitley’s converted try edge the Vikings ahead in the 49th minute. In the 63rd minute the Tigers regained their lead with a Jy Hitchcox try converted by, the ever dependable, Luke Gale.

England’s no.7 took matters into his own hands and six minutes later, knowing the game had been dominated by defence, decided to kick for goal from a penalty to extend the lead to six with just over 10 minutes remaining. Two minutes later Gale, once again, was involved as Castleford made it a seven-point lead with nine minutes to go.

Widnes, tipped by many to finish in the bottom four this campaign, were out to prove they were capable of upsetting the big boys and with around six minutes to go Jay Chapelhow took his side to within two points of back-to-back victories. Tom Gilmore had a couple of attempts at making the scores level in the dying minutes of the game, but it was Castleford who took all the spoils from a gripping contest.

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