The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Super League Round 19
Catalans’ resurgence continued with a big victory over Castleford at the Stade Gilbert Brutus, lifting them into the top eight. Coach Steve McNamara was in all sorts of trouble at the start of the season, but he deserves credit for weathering the storm and turning the results around. Again Josh Drinkwater, that most influential of mid-season signings, was the catalyst for the Dragons’ win.
Hull KR also showed signs of life with a 27-point win against Huddersfield. Adam Quinlan and Ryan Shaw did the damage, picking up a brace each, but the real destroyer-in-chief was Junior Vaivai. The cousin of ‘The Rock’ seemed indestructible as he made an outstanding 10 tackle busts to go along with his 127 metres, one try and try assist. Simply phenomenal numbers.
St Helens and Wigan kept pace at the top of the table with each posting victories. The Warriors smashed Leeds while Saints survived a scare at home against Wakefield. Meanwhile, Warrington moved into third spot with its important 30-14 result at home against Salford.
While the off-field action rolls on, things off the field are getting uglier. Both Barrow and Keighley had hit financial trouble in the past week or so, joining Whitehaven. At the same time the divide between the Super League clubs who want more control of their destinies, and the Championship and League 1 clubs below, is becoming bigger. This conflict isn’t getting solved any time soon. With more and more clubs facing money problems, it’s clear a restructuring of the sport is needed.
Leeds made the stunning move to sack their head coach Brian McDermott on Monday morning. The Rhinos might be on a bad run at the moment, with seven defeats in a row that has seem them slipping out of finals contention, but McDermott did lead them to grand final victory in October, just eight months ago. All up Leeds have won four grand finals, a World Club Challenge, a Leader’s Shield and two Challenge Cups during his eight-year tenure at Headingley – a remarkable feat that made him the longest-serving coach in Super League.
But McDermott’s reign is now no more, and judging by his statement he didn’t want to go either. The speculation is that former Bradford coach, and ex-Leeds player, Jimmy Lowes will take the job. McDermott said: “I am extremely disappointed this has happened and obviously it is not a decision I agree with. I wish everyone at the club the best and my thoughts will be with the team on Sunday and through to the end of the season.” Tough times at Headingley.
For Widnes it was another game, another loss. A much improved performance against Hull FC, but still a defeat non-regardless.