Highlights from the Super League. Wigan v Salford, Catalans v Warrington, Wakefield v Hull FC, St Helens v Leeds, Leigh Centurion v Castleford and Widnes v Huddersfield.
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The long wait is over and raced to the
12 teams have their eyes on this prize.
# And it's safe to say the storm's gone away
# And I'm dancing on the morning after
# Something like freedom, freedom
# My God, I'm breathing underwater...#
2016, Wigan are the Super League champions.
And joining us, we have Hull FC's Gareth Ellis
and Jamie Jones-Buchanan of the Leeds Rhinos.
not just who maybe want to get into the England squad,
but Scotland, Wales and some of the South Sea Islanders
It's a massive achievement to play for your country
and particularly in a World Cup, to go over there and do it is certainly
something that resonates with me over the course of my career.
I think, you know, particularly Scott Taylor coming
back with his first England cap and I think it's sort of gives
a few of the other boys that ambition to get
out there and impress and hopefully get the nod at the end of the year.
There have been calls in some circles for more entertainment.
They want a more entertaining brand of rugby league.
Is that something that you as players have been talking
about or is that very much coming from the outside?
That's a really interesting question actually.
I read a really good article from Dave Woods talking
about needing a bit more dazzle in Super League and I...
I don't know, it's big to call, but I don't know
I think we're playing with a generation at
the minute who know how to play the game
competitions in all kinds of sports where
the taking part that counts so what you find
is a lot of people who were
really good at playing a game such as rugby league, outstanding
players, but there's not that many competitors and I think when I look
back over the years and watch some of the old games, particularly from
the 90s, there are some real mavericks out there, some real
You know, getting some penalties, playing the ball,
looking, thinking about what can I do here?
Just really competing and I think we probably need a few more
So your call for 2017, more mavericks.
Well, highlights from every game in Round 1
coming up, but before we get going, here's a reminder of some of
the wheeling and dealing in the transfer market.
Obviously, you've acquired from the other side Albert Kelly.
Was surprising to you guys that you were getting him?
Obviously, you know, it's not the done thing,
He's really added to us in training and he really could be
the difference between us, you know, winning something again this year.
He's got a really vital role to play in us going forward this year.
When you look around at other teams, is
there a transfer that particularly took you by surprise or
stands out for you as a really good signing?
I think the big one's probably Kev Brown, you know,
Unfortunately, he doesn't play, obviously this week
with his injury, but I think the big scale will be on Widnes and the fact
It's been pivotal around him, their game
plan for the last few years and he will be sorely missed there.
But certainly exciting for Warrington to
get a player of his calibre and that control around the six as well.
Over 21 years of Super League, we've become quite
accustomed to the season ending with St Helens playing Leeds.
They've met four times in Grand Finals, but this year,
the long-time rivals face off on the opening night.
Well, things are starting to get a bit
heated, as it often does between these two.
What a finish to a game that never disappoints.
What a great way to start the new season between Leeds and St
Helens, two of the real big names in Super League, but on the back of
relatively disappointing seasons last year.
Rob Burrow makes his 500th career appearance tonight.
Burrow, switching it away as Leeds try to
find something amiss in that Saints defence,
And a little push away from Moon and Moon might just
Phil Bentham wants a second look here.
And it's a Leeds who have first blood here tonight.
Well, if he's had time to have a look around.
Referee again is going to ask for another opinion here.
Ashton Golding might have done a terrific
Putting himself in a position to stop that
And it is not a try, so full marks to the Leeds defence.
St Helens fans beginning to get a little excited here.
They sense that their side have an opportunity.
Roby goes running away, spinning away and
Golding again, just getting in there, but Walmsley...
Well, from the naked eye, it looked as though it was short.
And I think Golding was involved again there.
There's a couple of team-mates in there as
But it looks as though they've held that ball up.
Can't see any way for that to be given and it isn't.
And Walmsley hurt for his pains as well.
Richardson with a step back on the inside.
Eight strides away from where they want to be.
And the little Frenchman is in to score.
Six minutes of the second half played.
Theo, Theo, is the chant from the stands.
So, Percival with a chance to give his side the
Under the cosh for most of the first half, but they now lead
Here's Watkins looking on the outside.
The athlete of old, the ball inside, a try is it?
What a tackle that was from Tommy Makinson.
If you watch every game between now and October,
you might not see anything as good as this.
Terrific effort and St Helens hang on for a narrow,
Well, given where you were at this time last year, it's a similar sort
of result to the beginning of last year, but did it feel very different
I mean, first of all, for me, it was really exciting.
My 18th year I think going out and playing and the novelty's never
Where we'd been last year, I think that you can work really hard
in preseason but you can't really get a measure until you've had that
So playing away St Helens, a good St Helens side,
is a great measure for us and whilst not happy with
a 6-4 loss, I think it just shows we've come on leaps and bounds,
particularly when it comes to defence.
And watching that Tommy Makinson tackle again, are you
still thinking Liam's going to go over?
I remember being pretty tired and just
giving the ball to Cal there and in a bit of space, Cal's magic.
I'd have backed him all day through this,
but the back three at Saint Helens I think are the biggest
Swift, Makinson, Lomax, were outstanding.
And the real difficulty when you're bringing the ball back, but coming
up with try series like that is what wins you games,
Obviously, presumably part of the game plan for you guys was to
Obviously with Matty Smith out, he was the key man.
Did you expect his energy levels to start to drop at some point?
Yeah, I think he did about 40 tackles.
Anyone would think we were spotting him
and trying to get at him, but
credit to him, I think he stood up to every one.
We had a few good ones, like this one here, stopping the try
With the ball in hand, very, very dangerous.
Got over the line for them and he is a strong
player and a good addition for Saints.
How impressed were you with him, not just with his defence but
also his attack, particularly given he had to be the main man?
Yeah, obviously there were a lot of questions resting on him
Defensively, he built his game around that, he came
on to everything that Leeds threw at him.
He managed to come up with a real pivotal moment in the try
Another man who had a very good game for you guys, Ash Golding.
You know, now he's taken over that number one shirt to have had as good
a game as he had and be as defensively
And, of course, he played for Stanningley as well.
But a lot of people ask me, you know, I suspected
that Leeds might have had a few more signings
this year and you look at
somebody like that, what we want to do is promote from within.
And that talent is there for me, Ashton
Golding, will be world-class in a few years.
I'm sure he'll play international.
And it's not till you actually watch the game back that
He is massive for the forwards and the amount of tries...
I think he had three try saves in that game which is just huge and
You can sign somebody from overseas but when
you've got it on your doorstep, you know, a kid who's saving tries,
winning games and gets you to Grand Finals,
How impressed were you with St Helens, particularly given they've
obviously built their pre-season around around Theo Fages with
Matty Smith, that they seem to cope very well without him but he will be
massive for them, won't he, when he comes back?
He's a massive addition for them this year.
Really steers the team around the field and
he'll be a big asset, but
You plan all your pre-season around a certain combination and
then for that to fall away, moments before
the start of the year, it
would have hit them hard, but I thought they adapted
Safe to say that you guys are feeling in a better place than you
Homeless, apart from anything last year,
Yeah, we spent the pre-season in waders last year.
And it's not an excuse, it's just a reality,
We've got a great new training facility.
We've had a really cohesive pre-season.
Got the young lads coming in and adding some
enthusiasm and I think it showed in that game that we're
in a good place and ready to keep moving forward.
Well, the defending champions of course
are Wigan and they take on
Cronulla on Sunday in the World Club Challenge.
We'll bring you highlights of that next week, but
their warm up was a Super League fixture at Salford.
Your commentator for this one is Tim Steer.
Brilliantly kept in play and Gelling will score.
The referee, Ben Thaler, puts it on report.
Burgess is after it and Burgess will score.
Chance for the break here from Gildart.
It's Gildart and it's a brilliant try for Wigan.
It's been a dominant first half from Wigan.
And George Williams dances his way through.
How many more points can Wigan put on the board?
Well, Joel Tomkins adds another four.
Salford looking for their first points of the game.
Chris Brining goes over and gets them.
Oh, he's done well to get that one down.
Well, it's been a better second half from Salford.
There's plenty of red shirts after this one.
Wigan have dropped it and it's Dobson who is going to
But it will be no more than a consolation and Wigan
We need to be a lot better and we will be a lot better.
We just had to blow the cobwebs off today.
That's the first time we've had that team together really.
So happy with the win but we know there's a lot of work to do.
I feel and the boys feel that an opportunity missed for us
because of the way that we turned out in the first half.
Like, we can put it down to different things saying that we
lost Junior, we lost Robbie, but we feel we're a good
We've had time together to be able to kick
on and we have to do that straightaway from the off, not in a
It's 30 years ago since I've played and it still gets mentioned
to me once a week around Wigan, so it means a lot to our town
and I'll be getting a few of the players in
from 30 years ago to chat to the players this week and make them
understand, if we need to, to understand how
Cronulla are a very good team from a fantastic comp and it will be
How much will the World Cup challenge
have been on the minds of the Wigan players,
however they try to talk it down beforehand?
Yeah, I think you do, as a team, don't you, when
You want to address the one that's right
in front of you but I think at half-time, the job was pretty much
done with the quality that they've got.
You couldn't see Salford coming back from that.
But they certainly would have had one eye on the game
with a pretty much full strength team next week and a few of the old
guys coming back to play in it as well.
I tell you what, there's something about Wigan though.
Tommy Leuluai, obviously was back and Joe Burgess
for them, I mean, it's a nice fit for him, isn't it?
Well, I think there was nobody else he could go play for.
They've got a lot of loyalty at Wigan and they get a lot of their
young guys really putting their heart and soul
I think Tommy Leuluai will be massive for them this year.
I think right back to 2010 when they had Leuluai, Finch and Tomkins
Even though you knew what they were going to
And, you know, there's a bit of their reunion there with Tomkins
back now and I think they'll be really exciting.
Like Gareth says, a winter win this week and all their
focus will be on becoming world champions this weekend.
It was very clear from Ian Watson how frustrated
he was at how they performed first half.
How influential do you think he could be for them?
Yeah, he's going to be another big signing for them.
The quality that he's got, he certainly
But you could see disappointment in the
Salford players and in the Salford coaching staff.
You work all pre-season, you know, and it's a bit unknown.
You want to go out there and prove that all that hard work
And also particularly, they've talked so much,
haven't they, about the culture at the club
and not wanting to be in those million pound game?
Would that have made it even more frustrating,
I think, you know, everyone wants to get off to a good start.
Like I say, you put all that hard work in.
You want to feel as though it's for something and I think they were
really disappointed with how they played
Well, Warrington checked in and out of the south of France on Saturday
without their new signing, Kevin Brown.
The Wolves won twice in Perpignan in 2016
and were looking to start the new season
The commentator for Catalan against Warrington is Matt Newson.
Warrington, Mike Cooper back at the Wires for 2017
He'll come to the right of the ruck here.
It's a lovely little pass and Andre Savelio on his debut for
Catalan trying to get front ball through Bird that time.
Rhys Evans, oh, he's allowed to bounce.
He's flipped the ball to Richie Myler.
Walsh, we've already seen one of these towering bombs.
It's going to come down under Matty Russell.
And Horo is going to try and get the line here.
And eventually, the referee, James Child, has gone
for the sin-bin and it's Tom Lineham who will have ten in the bin.
Catalan forcing the issue around the ten metre line here.
Takes it to the right of the ruck here.
Warrington sniffing a come back here.
And they'll come to this right-hand side once again.
Great tip on by Ashton Sims and it finished by Rhys Evans.
Catalan looking to extend their lead, make sure of the points.
And Catalan have all but sealed it now.
But he has great presence, great power
Catalan make a winning start to this Super League season.
Talking about big signings earlier, how big a signing
could Greg Bird be, do you think for Catalan?
He was big for them when he was there first time round
and he's world-class and his experience and he's been on his
travels and it just shows how excited, not just him but the whole
team were about getting that win in the South of France.
It was a great trip over there, especially for the
fans, and I tell you, I can't make any excuses for Warrington,
they had a few out injured and they had a few
uncharacteristic errors as well looking at it, but let's not...
We've got to give credit to Catalan because not
many teams are going to go over
He signed a five-year contract, Greg Bird and there seems
to be a culture shift of who they've brought
in and an emphasis on families
with people settling a bit more.
Do you think that could be key to them just gelling for a whole
It's great that the club have decided to do that.
It's something that Leeds and Wigan have done very well over the years
Not only on the field but how they behave off it.
And, you know, with Greg Bird, we spoke about competitors.
He'll certainly bring that to Super League this year.
Obviously, Warrington face Brisbane next week.
Will this result worry Tony at all or at least
offensively will he be fairly happy with it an attack to work on?
He's always got his eye a few weeks in front and I think credit
first of Brisbane for bringing a team over and put in that
spectacle on and, you know, Wigan aside, if
there was another team in Super League you'd like to see test
it would be Warrington to chance their arm.
They are mavericks, like Gareth says.
They are full of competitors and as long as you practice, Tony
Smith will let you do what ever you want and I think they'll be
dangerous and it will be a great game.
And for Catalan, do you think that...
Do think the competition needs them to really make an impact?
We all sat here for the first half last year and thought this could be
their year but is it important, do you think, that they make a real
impact at the back end of the season?
Well, I think they've threatened for a few years and
everyone spoke about Catalan being dark horses
and, you know, there's a lot of changes
this year but obviously they've got off to
a great start and they'll be wanting to continue
in that sort of vein of form,
picking up big wins against big teams.
So we are up and running in the 2017 season and it will be
a relief to many to be talking about rugby league.
It's been an eventful winter to say the least.
It's been quite a negative off-season and, you know,
there's a few things going on within our sport.
The Sale director of rugby, Steve Diamond, says they've
done nothing wrong in signing the record-breaking Super League
winner Denny Solomona from Castleford.
The England rugby league team have cancelled
their pre-season trip to Dubai next month.
I think it's been a bit of a time of confusion and at some stage,
we need to calm down and get a bit of calmness about us and a bit of
There are some things that are going really well.
There are other things that aren't going as well so
one of the things that were looking at at the moment is talent
retention, so we're working hard to make sure we've got the best
I think there's been a concern that we've
been sort of losing some of that talent and as a result, the product
We've got to look at what's happening in our competitive
businesses. I don't even call them competitive sports. Particularly the
NRL. We can't let it continue, the gap, financial gap. We've got to
look to incentivising investment in talent but more importantly to
retain the very best talent in this country. I hate the phrase, goat
testers off in the NRL. We should be saying to Australian players to go
test themselves in the Super League expect we are too passive, were not
ambitious. We've already started central player contracts. We need to
look at the next generation of players. The George Williams is, the
Johnny Lomax is because we need them to play in Super League. England's
rugby league side have cancelled plans after eight town versus
country row. We shouldn't just show up and expect everyone to turn over
backwards for you. You have to work hard to have that rapport with the
clubs. And I suppose that is been the bit that has been lacking in
recent times. It's wrong because some of the commotion I think if
there had have beans and better communication between clubs and the
administration and the England campaign, I think we would have
overcome a whole lot of heart ache, if you like. I think we should learn
lessons from this. If you're going to improve your chances of winning
the World Cup, you start for years beforehand. You do start one year
beforehand. You need to get the clubs to buy into the whole
programme. We didn't go ahead with a can. We have streamlined the
training sessions. We have one of the best coaches in the world who
has put demands on the player so it has a real ballot in terms of player
welfare. Our players need rest, not more work because of the demanding
schedules. In terms of resting players, we can't possibly do that.
We need a club, a fan base, a very important competition cold Super
League we should be promoted and strengthened and we should put out
our best players in every single game. We will always do what is best
our players and so if our player needs a rest, we will do that when
we can. That's therefore means we will actually be doing the best for
England to. Start with you as someone who went to the NRL to test
himself. Do you see that Gulf between is getting bigger,
particularly into financially now? I am a big fan of Super League and
when I was out in Australia I thought I was presenting England and
Super League all the time I was there. I can see the Gulf and is
getting bigger and we need to address it and the administrators on
their spoke about bridging that gap and making it more lucrative and
more incentivised for players to want to stay in Super League and
it's a tough task. A tough task. Financially, rugby union has a lot
more money. It seems that rugby league is under attack from all
angles. Yes, the money side of it is obviously big. A big part of what
you do. But there is a lot of incentive to go, testers off in the
NRL, to want to play for England and Rugby union. It is something we have
to address and I understand all the reasons why things have to happen
and the plans that we put in place for England because we all want to
see England winning the World Cup, that would be absolutely magnificent
of our game, but I think there has been a communication breakdown
somewhere between them and the clubs. We are in the final year of
the current structure. They then have 4-mac years to plan for the
World Cup. Being in this country, what would you like to see the next
season of rugby league, would you like it be shorter so that are not
playing as many games as we go towards the World Cup? I don't think
what's out there matters. The only thing that matters is that everybody
buys into the idea. That matters to me. Long-term planning, get everyone
to buy into an idea and let's go for it. It might be a bad idea, but we
don't know it'll be all buy into it. But do you need to play fewer games
to be at your peak in November? I don't really buy into that. I just
think I have always not bothered wasting energy on the things that I
can't control and most of the things that I can. If I have to play 30
games in a season Matt Garrett has to play 30 games, we'll have to play
a lot of games. That's irrelevant. Get on with it. What ever is out
there and what was put in place for us. War that strengthen us as a
nation? If we are prepared to just say this is what we have to do? And
we do it because we are players are we just get on with it, but I think
the NRL, when I was there, in four games we played 70 something years.
They were fresh and ready to go at the end of the year and I will be
honest, I used to get to the end of the year in England and think, I
can't wait for the end because I was that tired and drained and ready for
a rest. We've got to play those
games for the revenue. Everybody is talking
about, there is no money, that is why we have got
to play so many games. This could be
a discussion for the rest It was anything but summer rugby
at Wakefield on Sunday. How difficult were
those conditions? We recognised there
wasn't going to be much opportunity with ball in hand
so reverted to Plan A, stick the ball up the jumper
and take each other on Both teams went hammer and tongs,
it was a close contest. Lee Radford said he
knew this was coming. Earlier in the week we had
rough weather and we had prepared ourselves with a game plan
to approach it in that way and you saw it in the game -
we took two points That was important,
realising any opportunities. What do you make of Danny
Houghton doing that? We saw that a couple
of times this weekend. I have seen it a few
times over the weekend. It is not something
I am a big fan of. But when you are playing in that
pressured environment and winning is all that matters, you
see things like that. But I would like to
see it addressed. Wakefield feel disappointed not
to win the game but what did you Both teams went forward hammer
and tongs and went at They have got some good
combinations in their team now. They will be there
about the top eight. Hungry for more
silverware after what you This for me is our biggest
challenge, hunger, obviously we fell away towards
the back end of the year in the It has been a long time
since the club has won anything, the magnitude of playing
for the first time in a Hopefully we will find
ourselves in that position And I'm sure we'll react
differently and approach that at the back end
of the year in the super eights Fair to say you are looking forward
to the summer and a bit of To Castleford, first
stop on the Super League Back in the top division
for the first time in 12 years This Leigh defence
is doing well so far. Gale, the prop forward,
over to score the game's first McMeeken has been mentioned
in England circles. Working things forward again
here for Castleford. That was roughly
from the full-back and Minikin almost in at dummy
half but that's left instead for Roberts who goes
scampering away here. Weston was lingering
too long in the tackle. Luke Gale has landed
his three conversions. That is a good strong
carry from Jake Webster. Castleford now looking
a little more lateral. Castleford are tearing
Leigh apart in the Leigh under fire again right
at the start of the second 90 seconds of the second-half
played and Castleford Another chance for another attack
at this Castleford line. Any points on the board
at the moment but it might This is an excellent position now
for the Super League That is a lovely soft handed pass
that sees Hampshire through. Lovely from Drinkwater
to set things up. Hampshire, against his
former club, has scored. Nice spell from Hampshire
and a kick on here. Luke Gale will claim that
but there are a few questions The referee will put
the square in the air. All those who chased
I think were behind the The drop before anybody
made contact with him by Hampshire and the grounding
is good and that adds up to what should be
Leigh's pedigree and character really been tested here tonight
against a team who could well be rattling a few tins in Super
Castleford are enjoying themselves here.
He will be enjoying playing against Castleford, the club
that resurrected his career last year.
That is a lovely ball from Drinkwater and a try in the corner
Taken in by Paterson who has got himself to the ten metre mark.
Leigh carry it on and Danny Tickle, his 100th career try, against one of
Too little too late to make a difference as far as
the outcome is concerned but Leigh have something to cheer on their
But it is Castleford and by a distance.
Castleford are being talked about a lot when people
The last three or four years, during Daryl Powell's
tenure, he has just built a club, and when you go there the
I went to the game to watch Leigh and the ground was
bouncing, the fans, the staff, the people who work there.
Watching Castleford running on and off the pitch, really cohesive.
They look like they are enjoying their
They are playing well and scoring lots of points.
They look red hot at the minutes, even
They have been notorious. Their attacking play. Everybody seems to
want to go forward. There has been tough battles against Castleford
over the years. They have players who could throw the ball around and
make it difficult for the defence and defend out wide. Are you doing
your homework on Leigh? What do you make of them? Tough. They have got
some great players. Very physical side. I expect a very physical game.
One of those Games where you can get knocked off the ball, disillusioned,
tables can turn. They have been given a tough set of fixtures. Is it
a case of almost hanging on in there at this point and not getting their
heads drop if they find themselves in a match like that? I think so.
Being promoted it as a new experience for them. A challenge
every single big. Life, sport, it is all about persevering and taking
knocks on the chin. Playing against one of the best teams. The need to
hang on. Throughout this year we will be testing the general
knowledge of some of the Super League's stars in a brand-new
challenge. They have got to complete six sets in two minutes.
First it is Luke Gale. The Darryl Powell, Brian McDermott,
Chris Chester. Italy, Spain, Greece, Switzerland,
Sweden, Poland. Goldeneye. The man with the Golden
gun. Moon Raker. Casino Royale. Octopussy. Goldeneye.
Elephant and Castle. This is a hard one stop I used to live there as
well. Elephant and Castle. Can I pass?
Frankel. Galileo. Red Rum. Red marauder. See the stars. What else?
Vegetables. Broccoli. Carrots. Partner. -- pas Schlupp. This is
harder than you think. Cauliflower. How many is that? Right. One more
would be... Courgette. Raised eyebrows in here. Courgette
is a fruit. It has seeds. Do not see we do not inform you. Are you
looking forward to doing that? You will be in the hot seat when we come
to your club. Finally, let us see what happened in
the match between Widnes and Huddersfield on Friday. Big changes
at both clubs. They have both been written off in some quarters, how
much will that have motivated them? Hopefully, Huddersfield have never
really lost it to be fair. They have still got all the ambition and
firepower that they have had previously, and some skill. Talk
about attacking teams, Castleford is one. Huddersfield is another. And
they do have that straight power. You had a tough year last year. How
important, so many new players, to get a win? Obviously it fills
confidence. There are a few that are coming back. I do not think anybody
will be looking too far into the future. But to get a first-round
result is imported. Widnes have not have a great record. It will be good
to see them performing again. How much will they feel they have a
point to prove? From the division below, they will want to show that
they are ready for Super League. I am sure they will be ready and
raring to go, and to make the difference that is needed to do
better than they did last year. No Kevin Brown, Joe Mellor out as
well, do they have to learn to live with out them?
Exactly. They have had a few weeks to prepare for this but to lose a
player like Kevin Brown who has been so instrumental for Widnes for the
last few years is going to be a big hole to fill. What are you overall
impressions of the first week in? The thing that stood out was that it
was quite a low scoring week. That is a bit of a leveller. A lot of
teams concentrated big on defence. Looked at the statistic last year,
the Grand Final, the second lowest point scoring, and comes back to
this competitive nature, a lot of teams work on not losing as opposed
to scoring points. We will see. We are underway in 2017. Thank you
to Jamie and Gareth for joining us. We will see you for the same time
next week for the World Club Challenge. Goodbye.
CROWD CLAMOURS Karen!
Hey, Julie. JULIE LAUGHS
Have you heard where they found her? No. Have you?
Tell her she owes you the truth as a mate.
'You haven't lost you faith in people...have you?'
How long did you resist working for us?
Tanya Arnold is joined by the players and personalities of Super League for a new series of highlights and features from the world of Rugby League.
Wigan Warriors start the 2017 season as favourites to retain their title, but after an intriguing winter of transfer activity the competition looks wide open once again. Wigan start the defence of their title away to Salford, Catalans face Warrington and Wakefield play Hull FC. St Helens and Leeds renew their epic Super League rivalry. The fixture has delivered some of the most intense matches of recent times, including their four grand final meetings. It's a historic season for Leigh Centurions - who are back in Super League for the first time since 2005 - they play Castleford. Widnes are at home to Huddersfield.