Super League: Huddersfield lead the way after three rounds of the new season
Huddersfield Giants are the early pacesetters after maintaining their perfect record.
Last Updated: 19/02/13 11:11am
Catalan Dragons' perfect start to the campaign ended on Friday as they went down to the Warrington Wolves while Leeds brushed aside Salford at Headingley.
Hull FC came from behind to earn a draw at St Helens while Bradford Bulls emerged victorious in their west Yorkshire derby against the Castleford Tigers.
Hull KR's campaign is up and running following a 44-18 triumph over Widnes Vikings while London, like Salford, are also without a win after being blanked at home by Wakefield Wildcats.
The two Super League heavyweights did not back down at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, providing a contest that was complete with three yellow cards - one man receiving two of them - and a punch-up. The Dragons arrived with a 100 per cent record but were far from perfect when it came to their discipline, with Wolves coach Tony Smith branding the game "horribly messy". The hosts in the end came out on top by a 24-16 scoreline thanks to two more tries from the prolific Joel Monaghan.
Fellow winger Damien Blanch also touched down twice for Les Catalans, though their hopes of a third straight win in 2013 were not helped by full-back Brent Webb being sin-binned twice. His second 10-minute spell off the field came after a bout of fisticuffs with Ben Westwood, meaning he is either extremely brave or has no appreciation of size. Such was the bad blood between the pair, Smith waited for Westwood on the edge of the field and then ordered his forward to sit next to him in the stands, with Webb seemingly ready to carry on the dispute for a little longer.
St Helens will feel this result was more a point dropped than one gained after being pegged back by the Black and Whites. Nathan Brown's men had a 10-point lead with 30 minutes remaining, but it was the East Yorkshire club who finished with a flourish. Their cause was not helped by an injury picked up by full-back Paul Wellens.
Tom Briscoe and Richard Whiting scored the tries as Peter Gentle's team emerged from Langtree Park with a share of the spoils. Daniel Holdsworth had the chance to win the game with the boot, but his kick was pulled wide of the far post. It was the third time in three seasons the teams have drawn with each other.
The Super League champions warmed up for their World Club Challenge on Friday against NRL champions Melbourne Storm with a comfortable victory over Super League strugglers Salford. The only disappointment for Brian McDermott was an injury picked up by full-back Zak Hardaker that will rule him out of the big game at Headingley.
Joel Moon, against his former club, and Paul McShane helped themselves to two tries apiece as Leeds bounced back to winning ways following their surprise loss at Castleford. Former Rhino junior Ashley Gibson also crossed the tryline twice for the visitors.
The Giants are proving their credentials early on with yet another fine display. Huddersfield thrashed St Helens in round one and have now got the better of the team that finished last season on top of the table. Shaun Wane's Warriors - who were missing full-back Sam Tomkins due to injury - were not without their chances and only outstanding defence from Paul Anderson's men ensured Wigan returned to Lancashire on the end of a defeat.
Jermaine McGillvary, substitute James Cording and Brett Ferres all scored for the home side, who are perhaps proving that bigger is better during the early months of the season. The result certainly makes up for the departure of Luke O'Donnell back to Australia during the week.
What looked set to be a tight finish to a see-saw contest at the Provident Stadium (still Odsal to you and I) ended up being a rather lop-sided home win in the end. The Tigers - without the talismanic Rangi Chase due to suspension - arrived having won just twice in 18 Super League meetings between the Yorkshire rivals, though they looked capable of recording a rare victory over the Bulls when Kirk Dixon's try made it 12 apiece early in the second half.
From then on, though, Cas crumbled. Justin Carney and Jamie Ellis saw yellow in the space of three minutes, allowing Bradford to run up the score against 11 men. Brett Kearney crossed twice in the closing stages to record a hat-trick and there was a well-deserved try for converted forward Chev Walker, the 99th of his career.
Craig Sandercock's troops registered their first points of the 2013 season with a straight-forward success over Widnes. The Vikings never got out of the blocks with the hosts scoring six first-half tries at Craven Park. Greg Eden grabbed one of them on his debut for KR after returning from injury while Michael Dobson was once again at his influential best.
On-loan forward Gareth Hock bagged his first four-pointer for the Vikings one minute into the second half and Denis Betts' side did muster more of a challenge after the break. Still, that is now two defeats on the spin for Widnes.
The Broncos' poor start to the campaign under Australian head coach Tony Rea continued, as they failed to register a point at the Stoop. Wakefield led from start to finish with in-form Ben Cockayne opening the scoring in the first minute. He added his second in the second half as further scores from Danny Kirmond, Peter Fox and Richard Mathers completed the scoring for Richard Agar's side.