Runaway leaders the Castleford Tigers suffered a shock home defeat as the Super 8’s kicked off. Two tires from James Roby and 10 points off the boot of Mark Percival ensured ST Helens got the shock 26-12 win at the Jungle. Nearest rivals Leeds closed the gap to eight points with an impressive win over Challenge Cup finalists Wigan. A Hat trick from Stevie Ward helped Leeds as they ran in six tries to run out 32-16 as they ran away with it after a tight first half.
Hull are in third place after a 32-16 win against Salford. It was all square at the break but Hull eased ahead in an impressive second half with Jake Connor kicking a perfect six out of six. 16 points and a try for Danny Brough was key for Huddersfield as they thrashed Wakefield 36-6 in the remaining game of the weekend.
Leaders the Melbourne Storm march on taking advantage of injury hit North Queensland to move 6 points clear at the top. Two tries from Suliasi Vunivalu were part of a five try victory ending 26-8. Cronulla lost ground with huge loss at Canberra who are back in the play off hunt. Two tries for Jordan Rapana and 14 points for Jarrod Crocker saw the Green Machine to an impressive and deserved 30-12 win.
Sydney City also lost ground suffering a shock 36-18 defeat at Manly. Two tries for Tom Trbojevic and 14 points and a try from Matthew Wright were the catalyst for the Sea Eagles despite going behind early on. The big winners of the weekend were Brisbane who took advantage of Cronulla and Sydndey City’s slip ups thrashing Gold Coast 54-0. Ben Hunt had an outstanding game gabbing a hat-trick as part of the 10 try demolition. They move ominously into third place.
Elsewhere despite being down to 14 men at the end South Sydney left it late to beat ST George 26-24 with a try from Bryson Goodwin two minutes from time. Parramatta continued their good form with a comfortable win over Canterbury 20-4. Kiwi international Dallin Watene-Zelezniak went over twice as Penrith beat Western Suburbs 28-14. Finally Newcastle remain bottom but have two wins on the bounce defeating the New Zealand Warriors 26-10.
The Brisbane Broncos kicked off the final week of the regular season taking good form into the play offs with a 24-14 win over Sydney City including 12 points and a try from Anthony Milford. By contrast Canterbury go into the play offs with a loss, two tries from Joe Burgess helped South Sydney to a surprise 28-10 win. A last minute Gareth Widdop Penalty earned ST George a 28-26 win over bottom side Newcastle who have only won one game all season. Gold Coast did not get the win they needed to ensure a play off spot, losing 32-16 to North Queensland. Johnathan Thurston kicked a perfect 6 for 6 to contribute 12 points for the Cowboys who had already qualified sealed a top four spot with the win. Gold Coast now needed Canberra to beat Western Suburbs.
In the big battle for top spot Melbourne came out on top against Cronulla. Two first half tries from Cheyse Blair gave Melbourne control that they never let go, running out 26-6 winners to take spot and the advantages that go with it into the play offs.Given the Gold Coast’s defeat Wests Tigers had the chance to make the play offs, but failed as Canberra demolished them. Jordan Rapana and Josh Papalii both scored twice. Jarrod Crocker also got 16 points including a try as the Raiders scored a total of nine tries in a 52-10 win the means Gold Coast will take part in the play offs. In the final games Parramatta won in New Zealand 40-18 with a hat trick from Bevan French and finally the Penrith Panthers warmed up for the play offs with a big 36-6 win over Manly. Josh Mansour went over twice and Nathan Cleary kicked all six conversions.