Something you’re guaranteed every Super League season is a dramatic comeback. In many ways, Super League is the home of the comeback thanks to its fast pace and momentum swinging nature. So, today we’re counting down the top 10 greatest comebacks in Super League history.
10. Hull KR 36-42 Wigan 2012
Going into the penultimate game of the season, Wigan just needed a win to secure their second League Leaders’ Shield in three years. However, tries from Craig Hall, Lincoln Withers, Ben Galea and Jake Webster remarkably fired Hull KR 26-0 up. A pair of Wigan tries just before the break dented that advantage but soon after Rovers led 32-12. But, seeing the trophy slip through their fingers, the Warriors roared back into the contest scoring six tries to one in the latter stages of the contest to seal the silverware.
9. London 40-36 Leeds 2014
A week before the Rhinos were due back in London for the Challenge Cup Final, London produced one of the biggest shocks in Super League history. Despite being 30-8 down at the beginning of the second half, the Broncos surged back to claim their only win of the season against treble-chasing Leeds. Kieran Dixon and Mike McMeeken tries got the Broncos going before London wrapped up the comeback with three late tries as Joe Keyes completed a memorable hat-trick.
8. Halifax 26-30 Bradford 1997
These were the days when the destination of the Super League trophy was decided by the league alone so every win was vital. But in a Yorkshire derby against Halifax, the win appeared to be alluding table-topping Bradford as they found themselves 26-6 down. Nonetheless, this Bradford team was a champion side with a champion mentality. They would propel themselves back into the game at 26-22. A series of try-saving tackles looked like they’d saved the home team but scores from Jonathan Scales and Paul Loughlin sealed the win for the Bulls as they continued their surge to the Super League crown.
7. Castleford 28-30 St Helens 2014
Saints won the League Leaders’ Shield in 2014 but had Cas beaten Catalans on the final day it would’ve been a different story. Perhaps then, the Tigers should rue this missed opportunity. Three early tries from the Tigers, including one from former Saint Michael Shenton, allowed the hosts to take control. Shenton soon added a second to cancel out a Sia Soliola try leaving Cas with a commanding halftime lead. Two St Helens tries got them back into the game but Justin Carney’s score on the hour mark looked like it had settled the contest in favour of Castleford. However, you should never write off the Saints. They poached three late tries which turned the game on its head and saw them leave the Jungle top of the league.
6. Leeds 30-20 St Helens 2003
A young and upcoming Rhinos side sat second in the league towards the end of 2003. They appeared to be the biggest threat to Bradford at the top of the table. But it looked like their season could be unravelling when they found themselves 20-0 down. Then the Rhinos suddenly woke up and scored 24 points in 11 minutes to take the lead with Richie Mathers scoring the vital try. In the dying minutes, Willie Poching sealed a remarkable 30-20 win for Leeds.
5. Hull FC 27-26 St Helens 2010
So often we’re praising St Helens’ never say die attitude, but on this occasion Hull did to them what they so often do to others. Despite heading in front thanks to a Tom Briscoe try, Hull found themselves 26-6 down. It looked like the game was over but a burst of 21 unanswered points including tries from Jordan Turner, Danny Houghton, Willie Manu and Danny Tickle won the game for the Black and Whites.
4. Wakefield 30-32 Leeds 2009
It was set to be a memorable day in Wakefield’s history. They had cruised 30-16 in front and, despite an Ali Lauitiiti try, had an 8-point lead with less than 3 minutes remaining. Their first Super League home victory against Leeds looked certain. But a scampering Rob Burrow try in the 78th minute gave Leeds a glimmer of hope. With one set left to play and needing one try, the Rhinos dribbled the ball behind the Wakefield defence before shifting it wide to Danny McGuire who, despite slipping, put Scott Donald in at the corner to snatch an unlikely win and break Wakefield hearts.
3. St Helens 32-34 Catalans 2012
For 45 minutes St Helens were utterly dominant against the Dragons and led 26-8. Catalans started the comeback with three tries from Damian Blanch, Vincent Duport and Scott Dureau but all hope seemed lost when Gary Wheeler scored his second for the Saints. A Setaimata Sa try gave Catalans late hope before they produced their very own Wide to West moment in St Helens’ back yard. They kept the ball alive moving it from right to left and back again. Daryl Millard finished the move levelling the scores and Dureau’s touchline conversion won the game for the French side.
2. Huddersfield 26-27 Leeds 2020
As Super League made its comeback after lockdown, Leeds produced a sensational comeback of their own. At an empty Emerald Headingley Stadium for what was classed as Huddersfield’s home game, the Rhinos have never looked more at home than in the final 13 minutes of this contest. Despite having a man in the sin bin, Leeds scored 20 points and four tries to level the scores and send the game to golden point. In extra time, skipper Luke Gale nailed the drop goal to send Leeds top of the table and bring Super League back with a bang.
1. Bradford 30-31 Wigan 2007
Still one of the biggest deficits we’ve seen over turned in Super League history, this play-off encounter had to top our list. Bradford were cruising to the next week of the play-offs when they led 30-6. But, inspired by a Mark Calderwood hat-trick, Wigan battled back with 24 unanswered points to level the game. 24 soon became 25 as Pat Richards coolly slotted a drop goal to give Wigan a late lead. The Warriors would then hold on as Bradford squandered their chances to get back into the game. It was the first step on a remarkable journey that took the 6th placed Warriors to within 80 minutes of the Grand Final. Sadly, eventual champions Leeds ended their run in the Grand Final Eliminator.