The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Super League Round 20
Huddersfield put two points between them and ninth-placed Leeds with an important victory over Hull FC. That was their sixth victory in their past seven matches, a great run that has seen them rise up the table. With fixtures against Wigan, Castleford and Wakefield to come, they just might miss out on the Middle Eights, a scenario that seemed inconceivable two months ago. In Simon Woolford the Giants trust.
Like Huddersfield, Catalans are a team also on the march. They are up to seventh and are almost home safe. The Dragons put a Wakefield side to bed on Saturday night thanks to a Brayden Wiliame double. The good times are back in southern France.
Arguably the result of the weekend was Hull KR smacking Salford’s sorry bottom. The Robins put 52 points on their opponents, posting 36 points in less than 30 minutes in the first half. Danny McGuire threw back the years and was the Danny McGuire of olf, grabbing a hat-trick with his usual opportunistic guile. Hull KR had to win this one to have any chance of avoiding the Middle Eights. They probably still will be in the bottom four come the split, but now they are unbeaten in their past three matches and seem to have a renewed resilience about them. The mid-season signings of experienced duo Joel Tomkins and Todd Carney will only help proceedings.
Another club making the right moves is Castleford. The Tigers put Leeds to the sword with a 42-10 result, which leaves them sitting pretty in third on the ladder. Castleford have only lost once in their last six matches and have regained some of their touch from last season. A top-four finish would be a fantastic result for a team that has faced its fair share of adversity in the past 10 months. Jake Trueman ran the show at the Jungle with two tries, three try assists and eight tackle busts. The 19-year-old seems to be getting better every week.
Leeds limped to another defeat and not even the return of ‘Sir Kev’ could stop the rot. They’re won’t be an easy fix at Headingley, despite the hopes of some. It would require a massive collapse for the Rhinos to be relegated this year, and that is massively unlikely. Once players return from injury things will settle. But they do need to start showing some positive signs in the next fortnight.
Widnes and Salford are going toe-to-toe for the title of worst team in Super League. The Vikings seem to have it wrapped up, though Salford are doing themselves no favours with their display in Hull yesterday. They simply folded like a cheap suit after Hull KR turned up the pressure in the hot sun. Yes they are a busted team, struggling with injury, but so are the Robins. It could be curtains for the Red Devils in September unless something gives soon.
Hakim Miloudi the man of the match in an 11-point loss to Huddersfield, in a game where Darnell McIntosh scored a brace and made 145 metres, and where Adam O’Brien set up one try and made 40 tackles? I don’t think so. Those voters need their vision checked. Another occasion where Sky’s man of the match process needs reviewing as it keeps throwing up terrible, head-scratching decisions.