Round 20 of the Betfred Super League season delivered plenty of drama as leaders St Helens needed a golden-point drop goal to beat bottom of the table Wakefield Trinity, while there was a resounding win for Leeds Rhinos over Wigan Warriors.
Winners – Leeds Rhinos (18/1 – Grand Final Winner)
Leeds Rhinos got the Betfred Super League weekend up and running with an emphatic 42-12 victory over Wigan Warriors on Thursday in what was the club’s first home match for 62 days.
Rohan Smith’s side ran in seven tries during the contest, including a first for the club from forward Muizz Mustapha, while the victory was made all the more impressive as it came just a matter of days after the Rhinos had been surprisingly beaten by Toulouse in the south of France.
Losers – Wigan Warriors (7/2 – Grand Final Winner)
Wigan went into Thursday’s clash at Headingley having ran in 11 unanswered tries to thrash Hull FC 60-0 the previous week, but the Warriors reached nowhere near those levels in West Yorkshire as they suffered a second defeat in three games.
Coach Matt Peet conceded after the loss that Wigan got exactly what they deserved, with the Warriors now sitting six points behind Betfred Super League leaders St Helens, with other teams closing in from behind.
Winners – Hull KR (66/1 – Grand Final Winner)
After a disastrous couple of months that included the departure of former coach Tony Smith, Hull KR have now won back-to-back games under interim boss Danny McGuire following Friday’s 30-22 win at Warrington Wolves.
The Robins overturned a 16-12 deficit at the break to register the win that also saw them leapfrog city neighbours Hull FC in the standings – more on them later.
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Losers – Huddersfield Giants (11/1 – Grand Final Winner)
Huddersfield Giants suffered a heart-breaking 13-12 defeat at Catalans Dragons on Saturday, as Sam Tomkins’ 78th-minute drop goal secured the hosts a narrow victory.
To add insult to injury, the result also saw Huddersfield slip below the Dragons and down to fourth in the standings, as they suffered a third defeat in four matches.
The loss at the Stade Gilbert Brutus also came following the news that the Giants will likely have to do without experienced winger Jermaine McGillvary for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.
Winners – Castleford Tigers (14/1 – Grand Final Winner)
Castleford Tigers’ 46-18 win at Hull FC on Friday would have been all the sweeter for visiting boss Lee Radford (pictured), as it came on his first return to the MKM Stadium after being sacked by the Airlie Birds in 2020.
It was an impressive comeback success for Cas, who sit fifth in the standings, as they trailed 18-14 at the break before rattling off 32 unanswered points, with Derrell Olpherts running in four of the visitors’ eight tries.
Losers – Hull FC (40/1 – Grand Final Winner)
Hull FC have now lost six of their last seven matches, but it is the manner of those defeats that will be most concerning for coach Brett Hodgson and supporters of the Airlie Birds.
Friday’s loss came off the back of their 60-0 reverse at Wigan on July 15, while they also started the month by shipping 62 points at home to Leeds – a worrying trend for a side whose playoff hopes appear to be fading at an alarming rate.
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