Five tries from Danny McGuire saw the Super League champions, Leeds, avoid the ignominy of ending the Magic Weekend at the Etihad Stadium out of the play-off positions.
McGuire's hat-trick kept his side in touch with a lively Bradford in the first half and, when he backed up Kevin Sinfield for his fourth early in the second half, Leeds were in control. He added a fifth for good measure, before a late consolation from Elliot Kear made the final margin 37-22 on a day that was hard on defences.
Two late tries from Adam Sidlow gave Salford a surprise 38-34 win over Huddersfield. The game seemed to have swung the Giants way with two tries in two minutes from the England prop Eorl Crabtree at the start of the second half.
But the club closest to calling the Etihad a home venue refused to be knocked off course. Jodie Broughton scored his second of the match before Sidlow's power took him over from close range. Huddersfield seemed to have snatched it back with a brilliant try by Danny Brough, his second of the afternoon, but a carbon-copy second from Sidlow clinched it for Salford.
London Broncos trailed 24-0 to the Catalan Dragons at half-time, before staging a comeback with tries from Antonio Kaufusi, Ben Bolger and Chad Randall. That brought them within one try, but that was as close as they could get, the Catalans pulling away to win 42-18 with tries from Remi Casty, Steve Menzies and Jamal Fakir.
The highlight of the first day's matches was a thrilling Humberside derby. At 30-16 with less than a quarter of an hour to play, Hull seemed to have the measure of their neighbours, Hull KR. But in a stunning late charge, Rovers scored tries through Sam Latus and Michael Dobson – the second despite what looked an obvious forward pass. Then, with a minute and 18 seconds left on the clock, David Hodgson raced away down the left for his second try of the match and Rovers were home, 32-30.
Widnes, who announced the signature of Huddersfield captain Kevin Brown from next season, lost 68-4 to Warrington, while Wakefield beat Castleford 32-26.
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