Ian Golden reviews the weekend’s action in matches that featured Wales internationals and hopefuls. Pic: Wakefield Trinity
Player-coaches were in action on the weekend with important victories being secured. Wakefield Trinity finished top of the PDRL Super League leaders shield after beating local rivals Castleford Tigers 8-6 in the first of their festival games. Wales’ current head coach David Jones was playing for the Wakefield side who now have play-offs to look forward to.
In the WRL Wheelchair Invitational League, Wales head coach Alan Caron was in action for Hereford Harriers. He and Gary Preece were up against North Wales Crusaders who featured Wales internationals Stephen Halsey and John Doyle. In the other games in this competition, Torfaen Tigers, who fielded father and son Wales internationals Paul and Lee Sargent, went down to Argonauts.
Another player-head coach who led his side to success was North Wales Crusaders’ Carl Forster but it was former Wales international Rob Massam‘s try after 26 seconds that gave his side the lead at Hunslet, an advantage that they kept to send them into the League 1 Final. Sadly it was to be Massam’s final game for his club.
It’s all hotting up in the RFL Championship and as we go into the final weekend, any one of four sides could take the last of the two relegation places, whilst another four are competing for the two remaining slots in the top six.
Newcastle Thunder may already be down but they were dominant against Barrow Raiders, winning 36-24. Curtis Davies was in the Thunder side and Ben Evans with Barrow, who may now need to win next week to avoid joining them in the drop, and they take on play-off chasing York Knights, who edged out Elliot Kear‘s Batley Bulldogs on Monday.
Swinton Lions went a step further to saving themselves with a narrow 21-20 win at home to Whitehaven, dragging the Cumbrians into the mix. Rhodri Lloyd and Gavin Bennion were with Swinton and Connor Holliday playing for Haven.
Matty Fozard and Ant Walker couldn’t help Widnes Vikings as they lost at home to Sheffield Eagles, who secured their play-off place and left Widnes out of contention, whilst Dalton Grant’s London Broncos suffered a rare loss, going down 12-10 at home to Bradford Bulls, for whom Chester Butler starred. Bradford are now guaranteed a play-off spot and will take a lot for London to be ousted from the top six.
In the NRL, it was the end of Newcastle Knights’ season as Bradman Best and Tyson Frizzell couldn’t prevent defeat at New Zealand Warriors.