Top 10 Super League Moments

To celebrate the 25th Super League season, we look back at the top ten moments in that time.

The competition kick off in Paris (1996)

On this day in 1996, the long-awaited start of the Super League came around, but in unfamiliar territory.

It started in the Stade Sebastien Charlety, home of new club Paris St Germain as they hosted Sheffield Eagles.

The French side won 30-24 in front of just under 18,000 people in the French capital and it felt like a new dawn for rugby league.

However, it didn’t last and the club folded a year later as a result of poor attendances and a scandal which saw some players denounced to the authorities as they did not have employment contracts. They tourist visas to avoid paying tax.

Since the Paris experiment, rugby league, and Super League haven’t been afraid to look at expansion. Since then they have returned to France with Catalans Dragons, and have also experimented with teams in Gateshead, London, Wrexham and now Toronto.

Whilst the Paris experiment may not have been successful, it certainly lay down the Super League blueprint for expansion.

First Magic Weekend ends in controversy (2007)

Kevin Sinfield’s controversial penalty hit the bar before Jordan Tansey touched down from an offside position. Credit: Craig Milner/News Images

The first ever Magic Weekend took place in Cardiff back in 2007, and ended with a match between Bradford Bulls and Leeds Rhinos.

The Rhinos were 38-36 behind with a minute to go.

They were given a penalty in controversial circumstances, offside was given against Matt Cook, even though the ball appeared to come off a Leeds player.

Kevin Sinfield’s kick came off the underside of the bar, and fell to Jordan Tansey, who touched down to spark delirious celebrations when referee Steve Ganson awarded the try.

However, video replays proved Tansey was in an offside position, which sparked Steve McNamara to say his Bradford side had ‘been cheated’.

It took the limelight away from what had been  a very successful opening weekend for the concept. Over 50,000 people descended on Cardiff for something which has become a big part of the Super League schedule.

Solomona breaks try-scoring record (2016)

When Lesley Vainikolo broke the try-scoring record with 36 for the Bradford Bulls, few thought anyone would ever get close to that number again.

However, it was broken in 2016 when Castleford Tigers winger Denny Solomona did it. Although he did have two more games to do it.

He did it for a Castleford side that had missed out on the top four at the end of the season. He broke the record with a try in the Super 8s against Catalans Dragons.

The Samoa international then caused a stir as he left the Tigers to join Rugby Union Premiership side Sale Sharks. It was the subject of a legal dispute, Sale ended up having to pay Castleford £200,000 in compensation.

Wigan win the first Grand Final (1998)

The first Super League Grand Final in 1998 ended up in an 10-4 win for Wigan Warriors against Leeds Rhinos. It was their first title of the Super League era.

It was Leeds who drew first blood through Kiwi international Richie Blackmore. Iestyn Harris had just missed a penalty and missed that conversion as well.

The Warriors then grabbed their only try of the game through Jason Robinson. Andy Farrell scored the conversion, and also added two more penalties to confirm victory for the Warriors.

It would be the first of five Super League title wins for the Warriors.

Each year, the Grand Final crowd has gone up and up, and like Magic Weekend, has become a big part of the Super League calendar.

Saints win BBC Team of the Year as they win the Treble (2006)

Paul Wellens won the Man of Steel and was instrumental as Saints won the treble in 2006. Credit: Craig Thomas/News Images

The second team to complete the feat, Saints conquered all in sight as they completed the treble back in 2006.

They finished top of the Super League regular table by eight points from Hull FC, having only lost four times all season. They lost against Leeds Rhinos, Huddersfield Giants, Hull FC and Bradford Bulls.

In the post-season, they beat the Black and Whites once at Knowlsey Road to qualify for Old Trafford. They met Hull FC there again and beat them 26-4 in a game that sealed the treble for them.

The Saints had already won the Challenge Cup after a 42-12 win over Huddersfield Giants at Twickenham Stadium.

It was a fantastic team, led by Man of Steel Paul Wellens and top points scorer Jamie Lyon.

At the start of the 2007 season, they claimed a clean sweep as they won the World Club Challenge with an 18-14 victory over Brisbane Broncos in Bolton.

Also, they won the Team of the Year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.  The Saints were the first rugby league side to win it since 1994 when Wigan won it. No other side has won it since.

Bradford become the first side to win a clean sweep (2003)

Three years before Saints achieved the feat, Bradford Bulls became the first side to win the new treble.

However, it wasn’t quite as smooth-sailing, as Leeds kept on their tail all the way. It was only three draws from the Rhinos that separated the two sides.

A comfortable victory against the Rhinos gave them the confidence in the post-season and they went on to win the Grand Final against Wigan Warriors 25-12.

It was a season helped by Man of Steel Jamie Peacock, and top points scorer Paul Deacon.

The Bulls beat Leeds once again to lift the Challenge Cup in front of over 71,000 people in Cardiff.

In 2004, they then added the World Club Challenge after comfortably beating Penrith 22-4 in Huddersfield. They became the first side to hold all four trophies.

O’Brien sends Hull KR down (2016)

Gareth O’Brien scored one of the most dramatic drop goals in 2016 to keep Salford up. Credit: News Images

When the Super 8s were announced, the Million Pound Game was the game that would attract the most interest.

Following the conclusion of the Middle 8s, the teams in fourth and fifth would go head-to-head for a place in the Super League.

With Leigh Centurions well clear, the first team to be relegated under the new system was not far away.

Hull KR hosted Salford Red Devils at Craven Park. The Rovers seemed set to stay up, as they were 18-10 up with ten minutes to go.

But tries from Niall Evalds and Greg Johnson forced extra time. It would be the first time a .

From the first set, Gareth O’Brien went for it from the halfway line, and scored to end Rovers’ nine year stay in the Super League.

Luke Gale kicks Cas to the Grand Final (2017)

Luke Gale recovered from appendix surgery weeks before to kick Castleford into the Grand Final. Credit: News Images

Another Golden Point ending to a match. Castleford Tigers had won the League Leaders Shield by a considerable margin and had their sights on a first ever Super League Grand Final.

It all seemed to be going to plan, as they led 22-10 with 10 minutes to go. But tries from  Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival and Ryan Morgan had Saints 22-20 up with seconds remaining.

But a Luke Gale penalty set up extra time. It was the first time a Super League playoff match had gone to extra time.

After Saints missed their drop-goal attempt, Cas came down the other end and kicked theirs to keep their dream season alive.

It was feat made even more impressive by the fact Gale had only had his appendix out a few weeks prior.

However, they did lose the Grand Final 28-6 against Leeds Rhinos at Old Trafford.

Leeds send stars out on a high as Peacock wins second treble (2015)

Jamie Peacock was one of three Leeds stars to go out a treble winner. It was his second one too. Credit: Craig Milner/News Images

Another treble-winning season, but this one had a lot more drama and stories attached to it.

At the end of the season, the Rhinos would be saying goodbye to club legends Jamie Peacock, Kylie Leuluai and Kevin Sinfield.

They won the Challenge Cup after a 50-0 win over Hull KR at Wembley, Tom Briscoe scored five tries in that game.

Then came the most dramatic of endings. They went into the last day of the Super 8s needing a win to confirm the League Leaders Shield.

They were trailing 16-10 with the clock winding down. A try from Tom Briscoe seemed to just be a consolation.

But with seconds left, a Danny McGuire chip forward was taken by Ryan Hall, who ran in and scored to win them the League Leaders Shield.

They saw off St Helens in the semi-finals before facing Wigan in the Grand Final. A second-half comeback from Wigan had them in front, but a late try from youngster Josh Walters completed the holy grail for the Rhinos.

For Jamie Peacock, it was the second time he had achieved this feat,  after doing it previously with Bradford Bulls.

Wide to West (2000)

Probably the most dramatic ending to a game in the history of the Super League.

St Helens were playing Bradford Bulls at Knowlsey Road in the playoffs. With the clock at zero, Bradford Bulls were leading 11-10.

Just before the hooter, the referee gave Saints a penalty 20m from their own line. All they could do was keep it alive and hope for the best.

They spread the ball, and initially Sean Long kicked across the field to Kevin Iro, who then offloaded to Steve Hall.

Hall was trapped, but offloaded to Sean Hoppe, Hoppe then got it back to Hall. Hall then got it to Tim Jonkers, who then passed to Long, who decided to break this time.

He put Dwayne West through on the touchline. West beat two tacklers before putting Chris Joynt through to seal the most dramatic of conclusions.

Saints then went on to lift the 2000 Super League title after beating Wigan Warriors twice. First at the JJB Stadium and then Old Trafford.

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