KIERAN DIXON put his Wembley nightmare behind him with a man-of-the-match display to help Hull KR virtually clinch their Super League survival with a precious 20-18 win over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
It was a scrappy display from the Robins, who trailed for 65 minutes, but the victory maintained the club’s 100 per cent record in the Super 8s Qualifiers and went some way to making up for their humiliating 50-0 defeat by Leeds in the Challenge Cup final.
Dixon, who was in tears after an error-strewn full-back display at Wembley, was shifted on to the wing to begin his rehabilitation and he responded with an accomplished performance highlighted by a try in each half.
The outcome was tough on the Wildcats, who looked the livelier side for the most of the game and matched their hosts’ try count, but could manage only one conversion out of four attempts.
Former New Zealand international Kevin Locke, who made an impressive comeback from a seven-week lay-off with a shoulder injury, scored two early tries to put the visitors into a 12-0 lead, while the man he displaced at full-back, Lee Smith, touched down twice on the wing.
In the Super 8s, Warrington Wolves winger Kevin Penny claimed a hat-trick of tries as the Wolves claimed their first win in the post-season with a 46-16 victory over Hull FC.
With both sides unable to reach the top four and the semi-final play-offs this was a dead rubber at the Halliwell Jones stadium but the Wolves emerged worthy winners, running in nine tries.
Penny was in excellent form for the Wolves as he claimed his three tries, played key roles in two others for Gary Wheeler and Ben Currie and was also try saver, pulling off a key tackle and interception to deny Hull scores in the first half.
Wheeler and Joel Monaghan also claimed two tries for the home side with the other coming from Ryan Atkins, while Chris Sandow landed five goals.
The scoreline was a little harsh on Hull’s efforts for whom Mark Minichello claimed two tries and Dean Hadley also touched down with Marc Sneyd landing two conversions.
Leigh winger Liam Kay equalled the club record for tries in a season with his 36th as the Centurions broke their duck in the Super 8s Qualifiers with a 52-16 win over Sheffield Eagles.
The home side opened the scoring with Micky Higham’s 12th-minute try but Sheffield levelled through James Davey while their opponents were down to 12 men with Martyn Ridyard in the sin-bin.
Andrew Dixon restored Leigh’s lead and half-back Ryan Brierley got two in four minutes as Paul Rowley’s men gained the upper hand, although Scott Turner pulled one back for the visitors just before half-time, when they trailed 24-10.
Kay’s landmark try early in the second half put the Centurions out of sight and Tommy Goulden and Gregg McNally added further efforts with Ridyard taking his goal tally to eight.
Sam Smeaton scored the Eagles’ third try.
Joe Mellor and former Bradford Bulls winger Patrick Ah Van scored hat-tricks to help Widnes keep their Super League survival bid on track with a comfortable 56-12 victory at Odsal.
The Vikings, beaten at home last time out by an understrength Hull KR, overcame the Kingstone Press Championship runners-up with three first-half tries, followed by seven unanswered scores.
The Bulls replied with tries at either end of the opening stanza but struggled to keep up with the pace and power of their Super League opponents as the game wore on.
It was the Bulls’ first home defeat in the Qualifiers and only their second at home all season.
Two tries from Mellor and one from Ah Van were sandwiched in between scores from Adrian Purtell and Omari Caro to leave the Vikings 14-12 ahead at half-time.
But further tries from Charly Runciman, Mellor, Hep Cahill, Ah Van (two), Rhys Hanbury and Kevin Brown made the second half largely one-way traffic.
Halifax boss Richard Marshall had plenty of reasons to hold his head high, despite his side’s 50-28 defeat at the hands of Salford Red Devils.
Tries came for the home side from Dane Manning, Scott Murrell, James Saltonstall, Jacob Fairbank and Adam Tangata, with Steve Tyrer adding four goals.
Although they closed the gap to six points just before the hour, they couldn’t keep pace with their Super League visitors.
and said: “I’m very proud of all of them again as there were a lot of positives to take out and have been all season.
“They could have pulled away and each time we pegged them back but we have to be smarter in key areas.
“We couldn’t sustain the intensity for 80 minutes but there were a couple of key moments in the game where we were attacking with the ball and a couple of kicks which they ran back at us and scored. That was probably the difference.
“We lost our full-back and both wingers before the game and they had a bit more pace than us.
“Young Joe Martin came in and had a great game but full-back is a difficult position to play and we got found out once or twice.”