SL round-up: Giants cement top eight spot, Rhinos nil Widnes, KR in Qualifiers

Friday night saw Huddersfield Giants complete a remarkable turnaround as they secured a top eight spot, guaranteeing their Super League status. After a poor start to the campaign, Simon Woolford’s arrival at the club has seen them impress on a weekly basis and, following four wins in their last five, a victory at Castleford secured their spot in the Super 8s.

However, they did it the hard way after falling 12-0 behind early in proceedings after the Tigers’ half-back pairing Jamie Ellis and Jake Trueman scored a try apiece. However, two Jermaine McGillvary tries – and Lee Gaskell’s moments before the hooter – meant the teams went into the sheds level at 18-18. Three quick tries at the start of the half put the visiting Giants’ ahead and they never looked like relinquishing that lead. A Danny Brough penalty put Woolford’s men three scores ahead and now Huddersfield can look forward to a Super 8s campaign where, while they are highly unlikely to trouble the top four, they could pose a serious threat to the semi-final hopes of many clubs.

The Giants victory leaves Leeds Rhinos’ top eight hopes looking increasingly slim. Despite that, the Rhinos 34-0 win over an abject Widnes side at least ended their poor losing run and, no matter the opposition, nilling a team is a pleasing thing. The excellent Brad Dwyer led the way for the Rhinos, opening the scoring after breaking the line – and then countless attempts to halt his path – before crossing for only his third Rhinos try. Luke Briscoe, Richie Myler and Matt Parcell all scored tries for the hosts to give them a half time lead of twenty points. Joel Moon extended their lead moments into the second half and further tries for Tom Briscoe – joining his brother on the scoresheet – and the impressive Jack Walker added further gloss to the scoreline as they won their first league game since late April, keeping their hopes of reaching the top eight alive.

One team who won’t be doing so is Hull KR whose hopes of guaranteeing Super League survival fell short after a home defeat to Warrington Wolves. In a seesaw encounter, the visitors led 12-8 at the break thanks to converted tries from Mike Cooper and Stefan Ratchford before KR levelled that up early in the second half due to Robbie Mulhern’s try, joining Elliot Wallis (2) on the scoresheet. Tyrone Roberts and Toby King scored tries to push Warrington ahead once more only for Chris Atkin to hit back shortly after. However, quickfire tries from Kevin Brown and Declan Patton proved too much for the Robins who, despite their best efforts, find themselves in the Qualifiers and facing a battle to retain their Super League status.

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