Five things we learned from the final round of the Super 8’s

By Phil Wilkinson
September 26, 2016

HERE are five things we learned from the final round of the Super 8’s:

1. FORMER Great Britain captain Jamie Peacock sensationally claimed Hull KR were denied victory – and a guaranteed place in Super League – by an off-target fieldgoal. Danny Brough’s one-pointer gave Huddersfield a 23-22 win and edged them ahead of the Robins into third spot in the Qualifiers, meaning they join Leeds and Leigh in next season’s top-flight. If the game had finished a draw, KR would have been ahead in the ladder. Instead, they must now fight for their Super League survival through the sudden-death Million Pound Game against Salford this weekend.

In an epic finish, former Raiders skipper Terry Campese almost snatched a draw for KR with a 40-metre fieldgoal that bounced back off an upright, while centre Thomas Minns had a try two minutes from the end disallowed for an obstruction in the build-up.

2. In the Super League tier, Warrington snatched the League Leaders’ Shield – as minor premiers – with a 23-6 win at Hull FC. The victory avenged their Challenge Cup final defeat by the Black and Whites in August. But coach Tony Smith says the achievement was diluted by the ‘extra’ round of fixtures for May’s Magic Weekend, which distorts the final standings. “It takes a little bit away that we play that extra game,” Smith said. “If we all play the same amount of games against the same people, it means a whole lot more. When they make it pure, it will be a much bigger achievement.”
He also took a swipe at Hull FC’s use of seven overseas players. “We had one overseas player (Ashton Sims) out there and we’re very proud of that,” said Smith. Kurt Gidley and Chris Sandow were injured. Hull FC have won just once since their Wembley triumph last month

3. Wigan secured second spot, and a home semi-final, with a 48-24 thrashing of Catalans Dragons. They registered all eight of their tries by the hour mark, before dropping off and allowing Catalans to finish with a three-try flourish. Former Rabbitohs winger Joe Burgess, returning to Wigan next season, was introduced to the 16,000 fans at half-time. The magnitude of the win was made more impressive as they managed it without star full-back Sam Tomkins, who is a major doubt for the rest of the season with a foot injury. Captain Sean O’Loughlin also withdrew minutes before kick-off with a leg injury.  “We have more crutches than players in our dressing room,” quipped coach Shaun Wane.

4. Former Knights winger Shannon McDonnell scored a hat-trick as St Helens cruised past Wakefield 32-12. To an extent, Saints have flown under the radar but 11 wins from their last 12 games illustrates their strong form and capabilities. Canberra-bound Jordan Turner was praised for his towering display. “We all want to win some silverware for him this season,” said assistant coach Sean Long. Castleford winger Denny Solomona also bagged a hat-trick in a 40-26 win against Widnes to see him finish the campaign on a new record 40 Super League tries, clear of Lesley Vainikolo and Danny McGuire (who scored 38, including play-offs). His 42 in both competitions this year was a new Castleford club record, too – an astonishing return for the former Storm junior – and Luke Dorn also scored a try on his farewell appearance.

5.  As most players nurse Mad Monday hangover, six clubs are gearing up for high-stakes games this weekend. In the two Super League semi-finals, Warrington host St Helens on Friday morning, with Wigan taking on Hull FC 24 hours later. The winners of each game meet in the Grand Final at Manchester’s Old Trafford on October 8. In the Qualifiers, Hull KR take on Salford in a fixture branded the Million Pound Game – the winners will start next season in Super League, while the losers will be relegated to the Championship. Former Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens, taking over at KR next season, has stepped back from his role as Salford’s football director this week to avoid a conflict of interests.

Super 8’s round seven results:

Warrington 23 (T.Lineham 2, K.Penny tries; D.Patton 5 goals, fieldgoal) beat Hull FC 6 (C.Tuimavave try; M.Sneyd goal).

St Helens 32 (S.McDonnell 3, L.McCarthy-Scarsbrook, J.Owens, T.Fages tries; L.Walsh 4 goals) beat Wakefield 12 (C.Hall, T.Johnstone tries; L.Finn 2 goals).

Wigan 48 (G.Williams 2, M.Smith 2, A.Gelling, J.Bateman, J.Bretherton, J.Charnley tries; M.Smith 8 goals) beat Catalans 24 (V.Duport, J.Horo, L.Albert, R.Myler, J.Sigismeau tries; R.Myler 2 goals).

Castleford 40 (D.Solomona 3, L.Dorn, B.Crooks, M.Cook, P.McShane tries; L.Gale 6 goals) beat Widnes 26 (C.Farrell 2, C.Thompson 2, P.Ah Van tries; L.White 3 goals).

Final standings: Warrington 43, Wigan 42, Hull FC 40, St Helens 40, Castleford 31, Catalans 30, Widnes 24, Wakefield 20.

Qualifiers, round 7: Huddersfield 23 d Hull KR 22, Leeds 37 d Leigh 12, Salford 42 d Batley 14, London 46 d Featherstone 6.

Final standings: Leeds 12, Leigh 12, Huddersfield 10, Hull KR 8, Salford 6, London 6, Batley 2, Featherstone 0.