Last week saw Super League return and the first set of fixtures did not disappoint. A handful of shock results occurred among some tightly contested games.
It started on Thursday evening when treble winners Leeds Rhinos - missing their three veterans for the first time - hosted a rejuvenated Warrington Wolves side. In an exciting, close, aggressive game Warrington came out on top with a narrow 12-10 victory. To compound the misery, newly appointed Leeds captain Danny McGuire went off with a knee (MCL) injury.
Friday night saw 2014 and 2015 Grand Final runners-up Wigan Warriors up against a Catalan Dragons side that have recruited well over the winter period with signings such as Glenn Stewart, Paul Aiton, Richie Myler, Pat Richards, Jodie Broughton, Justin Horo and Dave Taylor.
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The conditions were horrendous, with the DW Stadium representing more of a mud bath rather than a pitch and it certainly showed. A game flooded in errors, mainly from the Perpignan side resulted in a low scoring 12-6 victory for Wigan, with hooker Michael McIllorum securing a brace for the Lancastrians.
St. Helens hosted a Huddersfield Giants side with both looking to progress on a 2015 that saw them reach two semi-finals and the Saints got the result they were looking for at Langtree Park as they overcame the Giants 30-16. A double from Percival, Vea, Turner and Thompson was enough for the St. Helens side to win by a three-score margin.
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Hull FC were looking to improve on their eighth-placed finish from last year and got off to the perfect start with a clinical victory over Salford Red Devils, 42-20. Tries from Leon Pryce, Fonua, Thompson, Talanou, Tuimavave, Bowden, Logan and Shaul meant Hull never looked like losing this one even at half time when they were comfortably ahead, 26-6.
Salford had a disappointing last year and they will be looking to improve on it, no more so than owner Dr. Marwan Koukash who has heavily invested, among so recruiting former Australia national coach, Tim Sheens and he will not be pleased with the Devils display at the KC Stadium.
Sunday saw two close games, one resulting in a share of the spoils; this came at Hull KR's, KC Lighstream Stadium where they hosted West Yorkshire's, Castleford Tigers who themselves were looking to improve on last year's dawdling, slow start when they lost three on the trot.
The game resulted in a 16-16 draw with Castleford always looking like the team that would go on to get the two points, but in the closing stages Hull KR's Mantellato scored in the corner and proceeded to convert his own kick from the left-hand side touchline to give his side one point.
The final game was between two sides who last year found themselves in the bottom four and therefore, in the Qualifiers and both will be clearly looking to improve, more so the home side, Wakefield Wildcats who finished bottom of the regular season and only stayed up via The Million Pound Game.
Unfortunately for the Yorkshire side, they did not get their wish as the Chesire outfit, Widnes Vikings managed to come out on top in a 24-16 victory. Widnes missed out on the Super 8's last year by a meagre one point so know a strong start this campaign will give them a chance to reach this year's Super 8s. Tries from Hanbury, White and two from Setaimata Sa meant the Vikings left Belle Vue with the points and their coach, Denis Betts, happy.
Next week sees a Thursday night game between Salford Red Devils and St Helens at the AJ Bell Stadium, followed by one Friday game between two sides looking for top four finishes in Huddersfield Giants and Wigan Warriors. Saturday sees Hull FC make the trip down to the south of France to play a Catalan side who will be looking to show what the expectations are all about even without hooker Paul Aiton, who was injured on debut.
There will be three games on Sunday with Warrington Wolves hosting Hull KR, Widnes Vikings playing Leeds at the Select Security Stadium and Castleford playing Wakefield in a West Yorkshire derby at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
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