Super League: Joy for Huddersfield and Halifax but misery for Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield

Jermaine McGillvary crossed four times to jump to the top of the First Utility Super League try-scoring charts as Huddersfield confirmed their place in the semi-final play-offs and moved up to third place in the table by thumping Warrington.

Huddersfield Giants' Ukuma Ta'ai comes up against a staunch Warrington Wolves' defence. Picture: John Rushworth.

Aaron Murphy also claimed a hat-trick in the 48-10 home victory.

The Giants had already all but mathematically secured qualification when Castleford were defeated by St Helens last Thursday but put the issue beyond any doubt with their third victory over Wolves this season.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Having beaten the Cheshire side home and away during the regular First Utility Super League campaign, the West Yorkshire outfit ran in three first-half tries and six more in the second.

McGillvary scored twice before the break, adding to an earlier effort from Murphy, to help the hosts to an 18-0 lead at the interval.

McGillvary twice more, Joe Wardle, Murphy with a pair that completed his treble, and Jamie Ellis chipped in with further scores after the restart to secure a comfortable win, despite the loss of Jake Connor for 10 minutes in the sin bin.

Halifax pulled off a stunning 34-12 win over Super League hopefuls Leigh Centurions in the Super 8s Qualifiers.

Steve Tyrer scored 18 points with a try and seven goals as outsiders Halifax won for the first time in the competition.

The Centurions, who topped the Championship at the end of the regular season, never recovered after conceding a breakaway try to Dane Manning after eight minutes.

Further tries from Ross Divorty and James Saltonstall helped Fax into a 20-0 lead at half-time before a brief Leigh rally as Adam Higson and Fuifui Moimoi crossed.

Scott Murrell killed off any chance of a fightback and Tyrer secured victory when he pounced in the corner.

Leeds Rhinos’ coach Brian McDermott has played down suggestions his team are suffering deja-vu following a dip in form and a heavy 46-16 defeat by Catalans Dragons on Saturday evening.

In a repeat of 12 months ago, the Rhinos have now failed to win either of their first two games since triumphing in the Challenge Cup final showpiece at Wembley.

Catalans produced their best performance of the season to upset the odds in Perpignan, running in 18 unanswered first-half points to assume control before going on to claim a comprehensive victory.

McDermott is confident this is only a minor blip, though, and said: “I don’t think it’s the same.

“Before last year’s cup final we lost two in a row and the signs were there (that Leeds might fade away). I don’t see the same signs this year that I saw last year.

“Coming out of the game and looking beyond the scoreboard,

“I saw a lot of pride out there from my players, a pride to keep the scoreboard low - Catalans could have scored a lot more than they did - and that is credit to my players.”

Earlier in the day, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats endured a nightmare clash against Widnes Vikings at belle Vue, crashing 46-4.

Coach Brian Smith, whose team has been so competitive in their first four fixtures in the Super 8s, were completely outclassed against the Vikings and now face a must-win home game against Halifax next Saturday.

“It was a poor day for us today,” said Smith, who shouldered some of the blame.

“Widnes were as good tonight as they were against Bradford and maybe even better at times.

“They started with a bang and we just couldn’t bang back with them.

“It’s very disappointing. We’ll need to improve remarkably next week to get ourselves anywhere near where we like to think we can be.

“I think I at least contributed to tonight’s performance because it was lacklustre from the beginning,

“Since I’ve been here I’ve tried to do some things in terms of preparation that most of the players are not familiar with. I tried to revitalise them a bit with energy but the payback was we were soft.”

Hull KR assistant coach Willie Poching admits his side’s focus is now on going through the Middle 8s after they claimed maximum points from a 48-4 victory over Bradford Bulls.

Rovers stay top of the qualifying table with five wins from five and - with games to come against Sheffield and Salford - Poching wants to finish the season in style.

“Our goal is to go seven for seven,” Poching said. “We’re proud to be five from five at the moment. It would be a shame not to finish in style.

“Today was about getting the win and we did that.”

Kieran Dixon scored four of Rovers’ tries and Kris Welham scored his 100th try for the Robins in what turned out to be a routine win for the Robins.

Championship side Bradford made life difficult for the Robins, despite having Danny Williams and Epalahame Lauaki both sin-binned in the first half, but the defending they had to do with 12 men caught up with them in the second half.

Bradford coach James Lowes took full responsibility for his side’s second-half capitulation.

“We were rubbish,” said Lowes. “I take full responsibility for the defeat.

“It’s not good enough and the buck stops with me.

“We got whipped against a good side and it could be another big score against Leigh if I don’t get the players believing in themselves.

“The mental side of our game is not up to speed and there isn’t a belief in ourselves when things go against us.”