Following the completion of a weather affected Super League weekend, Get ’em Onside looks at the three stars of the weekend…
Handed his first start of the season due to Albert Kelly’s absence, the former Newcastle Knights’ back put in a superb performance at left centre for the Airlie Birds as they defeated the visiting Warrington Wolves 21-12 on Friday night. Tuimavave delivered a strong defensive display with coach Lee Radford explaining “I thought Carlos did an amazing job on Ryan Atkins.” In the second half, the Samoan international highlighted his attacking prowess and finished off a set play to stretch his team’s lead to 18-0 before a Warrington comeback had Hull FC fans biting their nails.
With Kelly set to return this week for the trip to face Leeds, it will be interesting to see if Tuimavave gets a starting spot or if Jake Connor is moved back to centre but it is far to say that, looking at last week’s display, the 26 year old has done his chances no harm.
St Helens’ head coach Justin Holbrook heaped praise on his full back this weekend and who can blame him; four tries and more assists to his name coupled with his ability to get involved in plays from nowhere has ensured that Barba is a front runner for the 2018 Man of Steel award already. His playmaking abilities are evident and, in his team’s 34-2 victory over Salford on Sunday, he had a hand in two tries while crossing for two of his own to maintain the Lancastrians’ 100% record in Super League so far. The first Saints try saw Barba chip over the defensive line early in the set to enable Tommy Makinson to cross and Holbrook paid testament to his attitude to the game, explaining that, when some players perhaps seemed put off by the weather, Barba was “in the thick of it and saying to the lads, ‘What are you complaining about? Let’s get on with it.'”
St Helens’ will no doubt face serious challenges in the next four matches with Warrington, Hull KR and Leeds coming up before the Good Friday derby against Wigan but, with Barba, who would bet against them still being top of the table come Easter?
Wakefield’s 22-4 win over Huddersfield Giants was a match that was a struggle just to get played; staff and volunteers were out in force with the snow shovels ensuring the area around the ground was safe and their efforts were rewarded.
After their fourth win of the season, Trinity boast a 100% record and have won their first four matches of the season for the first time in 73 years. Sunday’s victory – in tricky conditions – was orchestrated by Irish half back Liam Finn. His immaculate kicking display guided the West Yorkshiremen around the pitch effectively, enabling his teammates to play in the right areas. He is a vital part of the way Chris Chester’s team play and is remarkably consistent; if Trinity are to challenge for the top four once more, his influence will be vital and a huge contributing factor if they do.