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The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Super League’s Super 8s: Round 1

Photo credit: SWPix
Photo credit: SWPix

The Good

London were the big winners this weekend as they upset Widnes at home in the first game of the Super 8s. The Broncos showed the gap between Super League and the Championship can be breached from time to time, and a terrific performance was capped off by quality Jarrod Sammut drop goal to win it. Congrats to London for a fantastic performance, they just refused to throw in the towel.

It’s becoming a broken record but Huddersfield just keep on winning. Victories are becoming a regularity for the Giants and on Friday they made it their tenth win in their past 11 matches. If they keep this up then the top four is undoubtedly within their grasp. Hudderfield raced out to a 16-0 against a misfiring St Helens and then held on to record another good result. Saints were off their game again, a definite worry for coach Justin Holbrook after their Challenge Cup shocker against Catalans. Some of the Red V’s invincibility from the start of the season is rubbing off.

Salford notched two wins in a row for the time in ages with a spirited 28-10 win over Hull KR. This was a banana skin game for the Red Devils, but their defence was strong and they had too much class in the halves with new boy Jackson Hastings partnering perfectly with Rob Lui. Debutant Joey Lussick also gave them a boost off the bench, and grabbed a try, as Salford ground out a deserved victory. With Widnes up next, Ian Watson’s men have taken a giant step towards confirming their Super League survival for 2019.

Warrington gave Catalans a wake-up call on Friday with a 50-point mauling at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. The Dragons took the chance to rest a number of key players, so it was only a half-strength team that the Wolves faced. Still, you can only play against who is selected, and Warrington did the job that was required. It remains to be seen if this match will be an omen for Wembley in two weeks time.
 

The Bad

Salford might have been good in the second half at KCOM Craven Park, but Hull KR were not. They were slow, one-paced and devoid of ideas, with their playmakers Danny McGuire and Todd Carney unable to make any dent in the match. Too often Rovers’ players were caught on the sixth tackle with the ball in hand, getting their last tackle plays horribly run. Tim Sheens will be concerned with a tough Toronto trip away up next. If they start the Middle Eights with consecutive losses then they will be heading into murky waters.

The Ugly

Talking of broken records – Widnes are certainly one. Losing has become a real habit in Cheshire, one that they just can’t seem to kick. Mentally fragile, they weren’t able to close out of the game against London even when they had the lead. The other seven teams in the Middle Eights will sense weakness in the Vikings, the kind that 17 defeats on the bounce will bring. Saturday’s game against Salford is becoming a must-win encounter to stop the rot that has well and truly set in.

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