Super League Play-Off Round Up

Huddersfield Giants 8 – 22 Wigan Warriors

The Warriors inflicted defeat upon the League Leaders Shield Winners Huddersfield and are now 80 minutes away from the Grand Final. An impressive performance from Wigan put Huddersfield to the sword. However it was Huddersfield who opened the scoring through Danny Brough, who’s quick feet helped sidestep Andy Powell and cross the whitewash. Kicking was crucial throughout in the difficult conditions and following two goal-line drop-outs Wigan got onto the scoreboard after Josh Charnley was found by Anthony Gelling and Charnley crossed for his 40th try of the season, the first player to reach the feat in the summer time era.

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Josh Charnley celebrating his second try

Pat Richards kicked the conversion to level the scores, but he then kicked a penalty from the halfway line to put Wigan in-front; the penalty came from a Huddersfield re-start which went out on the full. Danny Brough was given the chance to level the scores just before the half-time interval with a penalty and he obliged to level the scores at 8-8.

In the 52nd minute Wigan were back in-front after Sam Tomkins found the overlapping Charnley, who went over to score his second try of the match. Richards kept his 100% kicking accuracy after successfully kicking the conversion to give Wigan a six point lead. 15 minutes from the end scrum-half Matty Smith gave Wigan extra daylight after kicking a drop-goal. Blake Green put the game to bed after weaving his way through the Giants defence to score Wigan’s third try, again for Richards to convert. The final point was added by Smith, who kicked another drop-goal to wrap up victory for the Warriors; this didn’t look like the Wigan side that finished the season with four consecutive defeats.

Huddersfield have another opportunity to progress in the Play-Offs, but they will need to beat Hull FC, who were the lowest ranked winners of the Elimination Play-Offs. Luckily for Paul Anderson and his Huddersfield side they will get a second chance, but they will need to sharpen up and put this poor performance to one side.

Hull FC 14 – 4 Catalan Dragons

In the first of two Elimination Play-Offs both sides knew defeat would mark the end of their season. It was another night where conditions proved difficult. Catalan were hampered before the game as scrum-half Scott Dureau was ruled out due to a quad injury. The first real action of the first half came two minutes before half-time when Leon Pryce’s high kick was collected by Jamie Shaul, on his own 20-metre line and he was able to run through a non-existent Catalan defence to score the opening try. Danny Tickle converted and gave Hull a 6-2 half-time lead.

Hull FC’s Jamie Shaul scoring the opening try

On the 56th minute Thomas Bosc kicked his second penalty to close the gap to two points. However Catalan shot themselves in the foot minutes later after substitute Eloi Pelissier was penalised to give away a penalty to Hull, which Danny Tickle converted. Hull wrapped the match up in the 67th minute when  Jacob Miller was able to get free on the run and he was able to find Gareth Ellis who crossed for the second and final try of the match. Tickle again converted to put the scores to 14-4 and that’s how it stayed. There was no fairytale end for Steven Menzies who crossed the try-line two minutes before time, but video referee Ian Smith deemed the Catalan player to have lost control of the ball.

Hull FC will now travel to Huddersfield Giants on Thursday. Another straight shoot-out with the losers season ending, with the winners going through to be selected via the ClubCall process where Warrington Wolves have the chance to pick who they play.

Warrington Wolves 40 – 20 Leeds Rhinos

Warrington took revenge for their Grand Final defeat by beating Leeds resoundingly at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. Ben Westwood scored a hat-trick for Warrington and he opened the scoring in the 5th minute when he was the first to respond to a Lee Briers grubber kick and he completed the set by crossing the try-line for the Wolves. Leeds hooker Rob Burrow then helped create two tries for the Rhinos. Firstly Burrow fed Kallum Watkins, who’s try helped level the scores and then a Burrow offload found Watkins who was able to combine with Ben Jones-Bishop to help Kevin Sinfield cross. Sinfield’s second conversion rebounded off the posts and meant Leeds only had a four point lead at 10-6.

The proceedings flared up when Briers threw a punch at Karl Ablett following a heavy tackle. Referee Jamie Child only gave Briers a warning and he remained on the field.  In the 26th minute Michael Monaghan’s off-load allowed Simon Grix to run through a gap before rounded Zac Hardaker and completing the score for the Wolves. Stefan Ratchford converted the try putting the Wolves in-front by two. Five minutes before the break Warrington extended their lead when Westwood ran onto a Briers pass before being tackled by Hardaker on the line, but it was unclear if the ball had been grounded, yet video referee Phil Bentham awarded a try through benefit of doubt. Briers added the two for the conversion giving Warrington an eight point advantage.

Westwood touching the ball down despite Hardaker’s tackle

SIx minutes into the second half Westwood completed his hat-trick when crossing the line following a good Monaghan break, this was just after Westwood was denied minutes earlier following a good tackle by Danny McGuire. Warrington ran in a fifth try after a 40-20 from Briers gave them another set. It was Briers who scored the fifth try following more good play from Monaghan. Leeds were already well behind, but Hardaker ran in a quickfire double to give Leeds some respectability in the scoreline. But in between the Hardaker double, the Briers-Westwood combined again to give the latter his fourth try of the afternoon. The game was already over but Warrington centre Ryan Atkins take advantage of a stray Kevin Sinfield pass to score the Wolves seventh try which completed a demolition.

St Helens 46 – 10 Hull KR

St Helens put in a fine performance against a lacklustre Hull KR. Adam Swift was the standout player and it was his hat-trick that gave St Helens this convincing win. It was Hull KR who started the brighter when Liam Salter touched down after a quick play of the ball and heavy pressure from the visitors. However St Helens response was emphatic scoring three tries in five minutes. The first was scored by Francis Meli who took advantage of good play from full-back Jonny Lomax. Swift scored his first try when he reacted to Lomax’s kick and it was all one-way traffic when Sia Soliola ran through a 50 metre try following some slack defending.

Adam Swift scoring one of his three tries

The Saints were over again but video referee Ben Thaler chalked off Anthony Laffranchi’s try following a knock-on from Tony Puletua, but the hosts were not to be denied minutes later as Jordan Turner latched onto Lance Hohahia offload, after the Kiwi dummied his way through the Robins defence. St Helens added two more tries before half-time, with both Tommy Makinson and Adam Swift going over to give the Saints a 34-4 lead at the interval.

Hull KR thought they had responded seven minutes in the second half however video referee Thaler ruled it out. Another two St Helens tries followed with Roby and then Swift’s hat-trick try. But moments from the end Kingston Rovers scored another try through Craig Hall; this gave the opportunity to Michael Dobson to score his final points in Super League before joining Newcastle in the NRL and he obliged adding the conversion to complete the scoring at 46-10.

St Helens will now travel to Leeds Rhinos on Friday night for a Super League eliminator with the winners progressing to play either Warrington Wolves or Wigan Warriors.

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