England winger Ryan Hall produced two devastating finishes to earn the Super League champions Leeds an impressive 28-22 victory in last night’s Grand Final rematch against Warrington at Headingley.
Hall demonstrated his uncanny ability to score tries from near-impossible positions as he twice squeezed over at the corner for crucial scores as Warrington suffered a fourth defeat of the season.
The in-form Hall was in good company as the Rhinos demonstrated their determination to hang onto their crown despite the absence of four of their Grand Final heroes through injury and suspension.
“I know it’s a bit of cliché to say there are not too many people in the world who could get the ball down in those circumstances but I think it’s accurate,” the Leeds coach, Brian McDermott, said about Hall’s tries.
“You could say the same about [Warrington winger] Joel Monaghan. It’s great for Hally and it’s great for us that we’ve got him in our team.”
The Warrington coach Tony Smith said: “I thought our first half was dreadful, the worst we’ve produced for a while in terms of energy. I didn’t think they were outstanding, just businesslike, and they did what they had to do. If they had been on their game, they would have smacked us. They were okay but we were well below okay.”
Hull KR started to win back the hearts and minds of their fans after their record-breaking defeat by Wigan with a 22-14 win over St Helens.
After a 84-6 humiliation that had chairman Neil Hudgell considering his commitment, Rovers put on an impressive display against another top side. The Hodgsons – David and Josh – opened the scoring with a try apiece. Mark Percival struck back with two tries for Saints, but Cory Paterson and Alex Brown saw them to victory.
It was a good afternoon all round on Humberside, with Hull beating the Catalan Dragons 28-8. Two young backs, Ben Crooks and Tom Lineham scored two tries each.
Rhys Hanbury scored three for Widnes in their 58-24 win over Salford, who are still looking for their first away win of the season.
Huddersfield went back to the top of the table on Saturday night, thanks to a 40-24 victory at Castleford.
Jermaine McGillvary led the way with two tries, but the Giants’ coach, Paul Anderson was not impressed by the way his side eased up to allow last-placed Cas three late tries.
Kieron Dixon must be wondering what more he can do to help the London Broncos to win a match.
For the second game running, the wingman scored a first-half hat-trick of tries. Just like at Warrington on Monday, however, he finished up on the losing side, 46-20 to the third-placed Bradford Bulls.
Jarrod Sammut, emerging as one of the players of the season, went one better than Dixon with four tries, all in the second half.