The five biggest and best try saving tackles in Super League history

Rugby league fans quite rightly swoon over the amazing tries we’re treated to week in week out by the stars of Super League. Every week we get to see at least one memorable try full of skill and physical prowess. But arguably even better than a special try, and much more rare, is a brilliant try saving tackle. These can be just as important as a try itself and can be the moment a game changes or a season is defined so with that in mind, we’re looking at the five most important and best try saving tackles we’ve seen in Super League’s 25 year history.

5. Kerion Cunningham v Wigan 2002

There are few bigger occasions in Super League than a Saints-Wigan derby, so any amazing moments in this fixture are amplified by the stakes of this huge local derby. In 2002, the two former Super League Champions were chasing further success and butted heads in another big game at Knowlsey Road in April. After 54 minutes, Saints held a slender 2-0 lead before David Hodgson broke down field and turned the ball inside for Mark Smith who looked certain to score only for Saints legend Mark Smith to bundle him into touch showing great strength.

4. Adam Milner v St Helens 2017

With Old Trafford beckoning, Castleford and St Helens met at the Jungle as the league leading Tigers desperately looked to see off play-off specialists St Helens to book their place in a first ever Grand Final. The Tigers had been blowing sides away all season but this was a different kettle of fish and in the early stages of the second half, Castleford only led 14-10 when the Saints tore through the Tigers’ left edge only for Adam Milner to drag Tommy Makinson’s feet into touch before he could get the ball back inside or score himself denying the Saints an equalising try with less than a quarter of the game remaining. Two minutes later Milner looked as if he’d sealed Castleford’s place at Old Trafford with a try himself. However, the way the game panned out from there made Milner’s try saving tackle all the more important as the Saints scored three consecutive tries to snatch the lead again. Ultimately, Castleford forced the game to golden point where Luke Gale’s drop goal clinched it, but they could have already missed out on Old Trafford if not for Milner’s tackle.

3. Tom Briscoe v Hull KR 2010

Just like in the Saints-Wigan derby, the Hull derby is one of the biggest and most note worthy games in any Super League season. Turning the clocks back to 2010, both sides were well in the hunt for play-off rugby when they met in July. Going into the dying seconds of the game, the Black and Whites held a less than comfortable 20-16 lead when Peter Fox looked set sail for the corner in pursuit of an equalising try for the Robins, only for Tom Briscoe to come out of nowhere wrapping up the ball and forcing Fox’s body into touch to seal the derby day spoils.

2. Danny McGuire v Castleford 2017

What’s bigger than a derby? A Grand Final. A week after Adam Milner’s semi-final heroics, his Castleford side had struggled to get going at Old Trafford as they took on a Danny McGuire inspired Leeds side. The Rhinos had bossed the opening of the game but only led 6-0 when Castleford were handed their best opportunity of the first half. The Tigers spread the ball to the left through a signature run around play which had unravelled St Helens’ defence a week earlier. When Greg Eden was given the ball with the try line beckoning and a gap in the Leeds defence opening up in front of him, it seemed like a certain try for 2017’s top scorer only for the most prolific try scorer in the competition’s history to show his skill in defence. McGuire stretched his arm out enough to knock the ball out of Eden’s grasp and denied the try. That would prove a key moment. By halftime, McGuire’s drop goal had given Leeds a 7-0 lead before a try from the Rhinos skipper made it 11-0 almost certainly giving the Rhinos the trophy.

1. Kevin Sinfield v St Helens 2009

Eight years prior, McGuire was watching on as his captain saved the day on the biggest stage of all. Leeds and St Helens endured one of the best and biggest rivalries in Super League history and it reached its peak in 2009 as the two met in a third consecutive Grand Final as Leeds looked to secure a record-breaking third title in a row. With just a point separating the two teams heading into the latter stages of the game, St Helens didn’t take the chance to nail a drop goal and spread the ball wide with Kyle Eastmond scampering down the touchline diving in for what looked like a match winning try for St Helens. However, when it was sent to the video referee it became clear that Sinfield’s lunging tackle had dragged Eastmond’s legs into touch before he’d grounded the ball. Minutes later, Lee Smith scored a second try to seal a third Grand Final win in a row.

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