|Huddersfield 8 Wigan 22|
|Warrington 40 Leeds 20|
|Hull FC 14 Catalans 4|
|St. Helens 46 Hull KR 10|
|Huddersfield 76 Hull FC 18|
|Leeds 11 St. Helens 10|
|Warrington 30 Huddersfield 22|
|Wigan 22 Leeds 12|
|GRAND FINAL (Old Trafford)|
|Warrington 16 Wigan 30|
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|Sunday 24th February 2013|
|Huddersfield Giants maintain their 100% start to the season|
"I think I am between satisfaction and disappointment."
Huddersfield Giants maintain their 100% start to the season and so remain top of Super League, but only just. Paul Anderson's side grab a narrow 18-16 win at Wakefield thanks mainly to a hat-trick of tries from Jermaine McGillvary. Ben Cockayne continues his try-scoring form for the Wildcats and there are further scores from Peter Fox and Tim Smith, but Paul Sykes can only land two goals while Danny Brough kicks three for the Giants;
"I genuinely do believe the best team lost." is Anderson's perhaps surprising verdict afterwards;
"With the amount of possession they had on our line, I thought Wakefield deserved to win. Their six and seven controlled the game."
None of which will console Wakefield coach Richard Agar, though he does see hope for the future in his side's efforts;
"If we continue to play with the same commitment we won't go far wrong this season. I was really encouraged by a lot of things we did today." he observes.
Now anyone who feels aggrieved at having sat through a weekend of Six Nations tripe may want to look at a replay of Salford City Reds' 38-34 victory over Hull KR at the Salford City Stadium. It's a thrill-a-minute, high-octane try-fest without even the merest sniff of a line-out, a flanker or a rolling maul. Salford register their first win of a troubled season so far with Ashley Gibson scoring twice and further efforts from Mark Sneyd, Andrew Dixon, Jack Murphy, Wayne Godwin and Danny Williams. Yet Rovers had led 34-14 at one point, scoring through doubles from Michael Dobson and Greg Eden, aswell as David Hodgson and Omari Caro;
"It's a massive result for the club." claims Salford boss Phil Veivers;
"We could have gone on to concede 50 points when we went behind 34-14 but we scored some really nice tries."
Rovers coach Craig Sandercock is understandably unimpressed with his side's late capitulation;
"We were well in control of that game but our ill discipline and errors cost us the game." he fumes;
"We made way too many errors, and first grade footballers shouldn't be making those errors, but it will turn, if we train hard and do the little things well."
Thrills also at Castleford, where the Catalan Dragons are the visitors and can only emerge with a 17-17 draw. Thomas Bosc and Gareth O'Brien trade late drop goals to share the spoils after Jordan Thompson, Michael Shenton and Kirk Dixon had replied to tries from Vincent Duport, Louis Anderson and Damien Blanch for the Frenchmen;
"I think I am between satisfaction and disappointment. We should win the game in the first 40 minutes and we could lose the game in the last 10 minutes." explains Dragons boss Laurent Frayssinous;
"I couldn't be any more proud of my players. They're training hard and they're playing hard and they're working really hard for each other. They're a joy to coach." is the glowing response from the Sainted Sir Ian of Millward.
And so to the weekly Wane whinge. Shaun's pie-boys tonk the London Broncos 48-18, but not before struggling in the first half and turning around with only a slender 22-18 advantage. Iain Thornley and Josh Charnley had scored in the first half along with Michael McIlorum and Sean O'Loughlin, but Tony Rae's side hit back through Liam Colbon, Kirk Dixon and Chad Randall. Yet the second half is all Wigan's, with Thornley and Charnley both crossing again along with Sam Tomkins, Pat Richards and Blake Green. Tomkins is sin-binned for dissent in the first half, thus prompting the wrath of his permanently dissatisfied coach;
"The referees make mistakes just like players. They are incidents for me to sort out in the week and not for Sam to do it on the field." he blasts;
"No matter what happens with decisions, referees don't do it on purpose. Sam just can't do it."
Broncos coach Tony Rae is staying positive despite the obvious adversity that comes with opening a season with four defeats on the spin;
"You don't get points for playing well in the first half. We had to get out and do the same in the second half and we didn't do that. I get a response from these blokes everyday. We are not cracking, we are holding it together and we will find ways to get better and we will be okay." he promises.
Off the field Gary Hetherington is pursuing the noble cause of expanding the World Club Challenge, but making an almighty hash of it in the process. The Leeds chief travels to Australia to discuss ideas for expansion, and comes up with the quite barmy idea of having the top three from the NRL take on the top three from Super League in an 'international series' of games from 2015;
"Rugby league needs to embrace the demand for global, international sporting events and this offers an ideal opportunity." he explains, as he scours both hemispheres for a fan who will genuinely care who wins the games between the teams finishing second and third in their respective competitions;
"We have seen in recent years the success that the American NFL and NBA have enjoyed by bringing fixtures to London and a concept such as this, further down the road, could prove very attractive to a number of cities around the world." he warns, ignoring the fact that they were real, meaningful fixtures.
By Stephen Orford
Catch up with more from me at www.steorfordonsaints.blogspot.com
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