A NEW season of Super League kicked off last weekend with a round of one-sided fixtures which did nothing to distract rugby fans’ attention from the highly publicised goings on across codes in the Six Nations.
Perhaps the most entertaining game of the round was the opening televised match between perennial contenders Warrington Wolves and last season’s Grand Final winners Leeds Rhinos.
A new-look Warrington side under Steve Price, who replaced long-serving manager Tony Smith at the end of last season, were full of ideas in the attacking third but lacked the ability and composure to carry out these plans, much to the frustration of their new head coach.
The home team had chances to get back into the game in the latter stages but couldn’t capitalise on good field position and went down to a 12-16 defeat.
“Credit to Leeds, I thought they played really well. We gave ourselves enough chances but as I’ve said all along it’s going to take a little bit of time,” said Price.
“We need to be patient, especially with our new combinations. We were a little bit poor with our offence at times but there are plenty of positives to take going forward.
“We’ve got a lot of improvement left in us. It’s only round one and this is a starting point for us.”
Ryan Hall impressed for Leeds with two tries, one of which stood out as an early contender for try of the season. A display of pace and power saw him race through the Warrington defence who were left grasping at thin air, brushing off full back Stefan Ratchford with ease on his way to the line. It was a try which deserved to win the game.
Elsewhere, Hull will travel to Australia to face Wigan this weekend on the back of a 38-12 win at home to Huddersfield. Fetuli Talanoa’s 18-minute hat-trick gave them a good springboard ahead of the first Super League match to take place down under, which kicks off at 8.45 British time on Saturday morning.
Another hat-trick, for Wakefield’s Tom Johnstone, saw off Hull KR on their own patch, while St Helens and Wigan also recorded convincing victories against Castleford and Salford respectively.
In the last game of the round, Widnes Vikings were able to get off to a good start at home to Catalans Dragons, registering a 40-12 win.
“We are the only people who think we can do anything this season and we have set our own goals,” said Vikings coach Denis Betts, hoping his side are the surprise package in this year’s competition.
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