Leeds Rhinos, who had started the day in second place behind Castleford Tigers, received a shock at the hands of Warrington Wolves. The home team had only mustered a single point from their opening seven games but won 25-14 at Halliwell Jones Stadium, their first victory of what had been a miserable campaign.
Wolves were 12-4 up at the break, Ryan Atkins going over twice, both times converted by Declan Patton, after Tom Briscoe had scored an early try for Leeds. They extended the lead through Tom Lineham early in the second half but Leeds narrowed the deficit to four points when Matt Parcell and Joel Moon both scored. A tense finale looked certain but, 13 minutes from the end, Kurt Gidley came up with a crucial try for Warrington and Patton was again unerring.
The Warrington coach Tony Smith felt Ben Westwood was dealt with correctly after escaping an early red card when he was sin-binned instead of being sent off for a late challenge on Liam Sutcliffe in the first minute. Sutcliffe was knocked unconscious and did not return to the field while Westwood was influential in the victory.
Smith said: “It was late but there was nothing in it in terms of anything else. It was warranted, the 10 minutes.”
He added, however, there were some other incidents he was not happy with: “There might be a couple of other things, chicken wings and those sort of things, that crept in there but we will have a look at that later on.”
Leeds boss Brian McDermott refused to get drawn in on the controversy. “I haven’t seen it enough,” he said. “He certainly doesn’t miss but I wouldn’t comment on it.”
McDermott had no complaints about the result but was pleased with his side’s character. “If you were to go through our performance in detail you’d find one or two things where we weren’t as good as we should be,” he admitted.
“We didn’t get much momentum with the ball in the first half but Warrington’s kicking game was not far off a 10 out of 10 tonight. We wanted to be more inventive with the ball. I find it hard to be critical of my team, though. I thought they dug in and showed a lot of spirit.”
Salford Red Devils fended off a brief second-half revival by Hull FC at the KCOM Stadium to secure an overwhelming 54-18 victory and climb above their opponents and Leeds into second. The visitors were 34-4 up at half-time, scoring seven tries in the process, but they were pegged back to 34-18 before Michael Dobson touched down to quell Hull’s revival. Salford saw the game out with no dramas and scored twice more before the end.
A spirited Leigh Centurions comeback was halted by Catalans Dragons, who won 37-26 on their opponents’ home turf and in doing so leapfrogged them into eighth place. The Dragons were 28-2 up at the interval but Leigh roared back with 12 quick points early in the second half. Like Salford, the away side then rediscovered their earlier form and, outscoring the hosts six tries to four, deserved their win.
There were few problems for Wakefield Trinity against second-bottom Widnes Vikings. Tom Johnstone scored two of their six tries in a 30-4 win, Dean Hadley also adding a pair with Bill Tupou and Craig Huby also going over to secure the hosts’ fifth win of the season.
St Helens threw away a 14-0 interval lead to draw 14-14 with Huddersfield Giants, Theo Fages provided two first-half tries for the hosts and Adam Smith the other but Darnell McIntosh replied twice and Sam Wood levelled things up three minutes from time.