Only two weeks in to the new Super League season and there were a handful of shocks with Salford, Widnes and Hull FC picking up not just surprising wins, but big wins in the wider context of the league.
It began on Thursday evening where Salford Red Devils hosted St Helens at AJ Bell Stadium. Salford produced a scintillating performance blew away the Saints 44-10, eight tries to two. Saints never got close to Salford and from early on when the Devils took the lead 18-0, they never looked back.
Perhaps Saints had one eye on the World Club Series game on Friday evening versus Sydney Roosters but whatever the reason for such a sorry display coach Kieran Cunningham will find it unacceptable and said there was complacency in the side.
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Friday evening saw two sides who, in the previous season had made the playoffs, Huddersfield Giants and Wigan Warriors, and just like the playoff match last season, Wigan came out on top but in a much closer affair. Despite Huddersfield missing Danny Brough, recently retired Luke Robinson, Eorl Crabtree, Craig Huby, Scott Grix and Brett Ferres who is now at Leeds, the Giants put in a gallant display but came up short 18-13.
A low scoring first half saw the Giants take a 6-0 lead but Wigan responded with two converted tries to take a 12-6 lead. Huddersfield responded with a try and penalty to tie the game at 12 a piece.
James Ellis then slotted a drop goal with just over five minutes to go to give the Giants the slenderest of leads at 13-12, but Huddersfield hearts were broken with just two minutes to go when Wigan winger, Josh Charnley went in the corner and Matty Smith duly coverted yet again to give the Warriors a hard-fought win to be two from two.
This game was followed by a Saturday evening kick-off in the south of France where Catalans Dragons were looking to get their first win of the campaign against Hull FC.
However, it was the away side that got the victory and it was a convincing one at that winning 38-10. Seven tries were scored by Fetuli Talanoa, Sika Manu, Josh Bowden, Jack Logan, Jamie Shaul and Gareth Ellis. While all of Catalans' ten points came from winger, Pat Richard.
This is a concerning result for Catalans, who last year only lost twice at Stade Gilbert Brutus to eventual champions Leeds and Huddersfield. They were hotly tipped to be a surprise package this year yet two defeats in a row is not the form they need to be showing. On the other end of the spectrum Hull FC have been tremendous, conceding only 30 points and scoring 80 in the process.
Sunday saw three more games taking place with the big shock coming at the Select Security Stadium with Widnes Vikings romping home to a 56-12 victory of last year's treble winners, Leeds Rhinos. The defending champions' miserable weekend was compounded by three ankle injuries sustained all in the first half to back rower Carl Ablett, winger Tom Briscoe and Ashton Golding.
Widnes ran in 10-tries to demolish Leeds and leave themselves top of the ladder after two rounds. They have now lost their opening two games of the season for the first time since 2000 and lay bottom of the ladder ahead of their World Club Challenge match versus NRL champions, North Queensland Cowboys.
The other three o'clock kick-off saw Warrington Wolves take on Hull KR at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and the hosts came away with a comfortable 38-8 victory.
Winger, Tom Lineham got a hat-trick on his home debut while Ben Currie, Joe Westerman and Daryl Clark went over the line for the Wolves. Warrington always looked in control and despite Kurt Gidley's sin bin, the Wolves managed to run in six tries with Kevin Penny also having a try ruled out for a forward pass and Westerman and Clark being stopped on the line.
It was in the second half where Warrington finally got away from Hull KR as the score at the break was 12-0.
The last game of the weekend was the 3.30pm kick-off between Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in a West Yorkshire derby. The home side ran away with it in the second half and
went on to win the game 40-6 running in seven unanswered tries after going in at half time 18-6 to the good.
Wakefield took the lead through Stuart Howarth and former Castleford player Liam Finn added the extras but that is as good as it got for the Wildcats as tries from Denny Solomona, Ben Roberts and Luke Dorn gave the Tigers the lead at the break.
Wakefield's misery was confirmed in the second half when Solomona, Adam Milner and Oliver Holmes went over. Luke Gale managed to kick six from seven for the Tigers to consign Wakefield to a convincing defeat.
It is now two defeats from two for the Wildcats while the Tigers managed to go one better after last week's 16-16 draw to Hull KR.
Next week sees Super League take a partial week off as the World Club Series comes to town. Only two games will take place between the four sides that made up the bottom four last year with Hull KR hosting Wakefield and Salford playing Widnes at the AJ Bell.
The World Club Series sees St Helens take on NRL Minor Premiers, Sydney Roosters at Langtree Park on Friday, followed by Wigan Warriors playing Brisbane Broncos again at the DW Stadium.
Sunday evening then sees the showdown between as the Super League champions, Leeds Rhinos take on the NRL champions, North Queensland Cowboys at Headingley.
The Cowboys will start off as favourites due having the best player in the world, Jonathan Thurston but Leeds' lengthy injury list could also play a part with Ablett, Golding, Briscoe, Stevie Ward, Jamie Jones-Bunchanan, Beau Falloon and Danny McGuire all out.
Ash Handley is likely to replace Tom Briscoe on the wing while there will be some rotation in the forward pack to fill the void Ablett has left.
Whatever happens, it will certainly be a cracking series and Super League will be hoping to improve on last year's 3-0 whitewash when Warrington, Wigan and St Helens all lost.News Now - Sport News