Super League Round 25: Saints Boost Bid for Top 4
St Helens beat Castleford Tigers 44-12 in a routine win over ex-coach Ian Millward in his first visit to Langtree Park. Tries from Paul Wellens (pictured, right) and Tommy Makinson helped the hosts to a 20-8 halftime lead in an overall uneventful first half.
Makinson added a length-of-the-field effort after the break created a hitherto rare cry of excitement in the crowd while scores from Gary Wheeler and young Adam Swift helped extend the lead. As the rain started pummeling down and midway through the half, the crowd and the players lifted with the routine game lighting up somewhat in the closing stages. Lomax added another to make it 44-6 before Steve Snitch gave the Tigers a consolation score which no-one could begrudge them. Swift and Makinson almost produced a memorable try in the last action of the game with a one-two move that went the whole length, only for the 18-year old to be fored over the touchline inches short of the line. The win keeps Saints in third, and with Catalans defeating Leeds the following night to go level with Saints and keep the Rhinos 2 adrift, a place in the Top 4 now looks likely for the men from Langtree Park.
- A weakened Warrington Wolves were defeated 62-18 in the capital by London Broncos. Trailing 24-18 at the break, the Broncos ran riot in the second half with the visitors clearly having their minds on their next trip to London next week for the Challenge Cup final. Tony Smith rested 8 first teamers, including senior players like Lee Briers, Joel Monaghan and Brett Hodgson. Luke Dorn scored 4 tries for the home side, as they made it three wins in a row to give a late revival in the back end of a wholly disappointing season for the Londoners. Interim coach Tony Rea appears to have instilled some pride in the shirt among the players, since the former coach took up his former role until the end of the season after young coach Rob Powell stepped down. Powell, it was announced earlier on Friday, has now left the Broncos completely, despite it being announced last month he would be given another role within the club.
Widnes Vikings claimed their sixth win of the season against an out-of-sorts Hull FC, beating them in a comprehensive 42-16 at the Stobart Stadium. Trailing 10-8 after 20 minutes, Widnes ran in two tries just before the break to go in at 20-10. Danny Craven extended the advantage before Willie Isa added his second for 30-10. The visitors closed the gap to 14 points after Tom Briscoe’s try but a comeback never looked likely with such an an error-strewn and disorientated Hull performance. Shaun Briscoe’s second gave the Vikings a 20-point lead before Rhys Hanbury sealed the comfortable win which signifies the Widnes side’s getting to grips with Super League in recent weeks, although they still lie bottom of the table on points difference behind Castleford and London. Another disappointing display from the Airlie Birds does not bode well for their prosepcts of making a serious impact upon the play-offs this season.
- Wigan Warriors beat Salford City Reds 38-6 at the DW Stadium on Monday night to strengthen their grip on top spot. Pat Richard’s return from injury saw the Australian winger score 2 tries and kick 5 goals with an 18-point haul to help his side to the routine win. The victory puts the Warriors 3 clear of Warrington with 2 matches remaining, to effectively seal Wigan the League Leaders’ Shield.
- Elsewhere on an important Sunday afternoon in the play-off race, Bradford recorded a crucial 34-12 win at Huddersfield at the newly renamed John Smiths Stadium to give their play-off credentials a boost. The Bulls lie in 8th on 23 points, one ahead of Wakefield who recorded an important last-gasp 31-30 at Hull KR, who lie in 10th just one points further back on 21 as the race for the 8 looks to be going down to the wire.
Super League XVII Round Twenty-five results:
St Helens 44-12 Castleford Tigers
London Broncos 62-18 Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings 42-16 Hull FC
Catalans Dragons 38-34 Leeds Rhinos
Hull KR 30-31 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
Huddersfield Giants 12-34 Bradford Bulls
Wigan Warriors 38-6 Salford City Reds