Super League Magic Weekend talking points
Hull KR, Leeds, St Helens, Catalans Dragons, Huddersfield and Warrington the winners at Anfield
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 27/05/19 2:54pm
With St Helens continuing their relentless assault at the top of the Betfred Super League, we reflect on a busy Magic Weekend.
Hull FC suffer another collapse
Hull FC took a strong contingent of supporters to Anfield, but their team were played off the park by Huddersfield in another worrying collapse.
Whereas some sides acknowledge when to focus on limiting the damage, Lee Radford's men have often been on the receiving end of heavy defeats that belie their status as play-off hopefuls.
The Black and Whites were beaten 80-10 at Warrington last August, and they have also gone down 72-10 at Wakefield and 62-16 at St Helens inside the last 12 months.
With such inconsistency witnessed once more on Merseyside, Hull FC cannot expect to challenge for silverware.
Saints stay six clear
It was another hugely satisfying day at the office for leaders St Helens, who swept past Castleford 36-16 to restore their six-point gap at the top of the table.
Alex Walmsley performed magnificently to cement his place as the most dominant forward in the Super League.
A sign of the amicable nature of Rugby League players was evident beforehand when Walmsley and Liam Watts were interviewed together on Sky Sports before engaging in a tussle on the field but it was Walmsley who proved unstoppable.
Justin Holbrook's side were ruthless in their quest for a 15th Super League victory of the season, and their latest triumph over a decent Tigers outfit poses the question of who can stop them.
With just 11 miles separating St Helens and Liverpool, this had the feeling of a home match for the pace-setters, and there was something ominous in the manner they ran in seven tries, without hitting top gear.
Meanwhile, Castleford suffered a fifth defeat in their last six, and Daryl Powell will hope the week off without any Challenge Cup commitments will allow his players to restore energy and confidence.
Rhinos prevail in four-pointer
The biggest match of the weekend was the relegation four-pointer between Leeds Rhinos and London Broncos. Immediately following on from Hull KR's 22-20 win over Salford, this now left the two sides on eight points in 11th and 12th place respectively.
The Rhinos twice got into good leads but were reeled in by a resilient London outfit. A narrow two-point win means Leeds won the battle but you get the impression this war is far from over.
With their relegation fears eased, interim coach Richard Agar highlighted the influence of captain Kallum Watkins in rallying his troops.
"Kallum got the boys to one side last night to talk about the magnitude of the game aside from the coaching staff, which shows great leadership from him in what is a trying time for us," he said.
If Leeds are to prevail in the final reckoning, Watkins will have played a crucial role.
Tackle of the weekend > Try of the round
The individual try of the round went to Man of Steel frontrunner Blake Austin who tore through the Wigan defence to propel his side to another victory, heaping more misery on Wigan.
The occasion got to Wolves coach Steve Price who celebrated by performing a dump tackle on mascot Wolfie!
How are you feeling today @Wire_wolfie?! 🤕— Sky Sports RL (@SkySportsRL) May 26, 2019
Tackle of the day for Saturday came from one of the coaching staff - @WarringtonRLFC's Steve Price! 🐺💥
Can anyone top it today?! Tune in to Sky Sports Arena from 12.55pm to see Day 2 of @SuperLeague's Magic Weekend. 📺 pic.twitter.com/zyuS7S1KVA
Meanwhile, Catalans had another good win, beating Wakefield Trinity 25-18, and the Dragons are now firmly ensconced in third place.
This latest victory was achieved without fulcrums Sam Tomkins and Michael McIlorum as well, and following on from the win in Barcelona, the club are riding the crest of a wave at the minute.
More magic on Merseyside?
Super League bosses gambled on moving the annual two-day event from Newcastle, which set the crowd record during the four years it was held at St James' Park.
But Anfield has put itself in pole position to retain Super League's Magic Weekend for 2020, after an aggregate attendance of 56,869 aided by a late rush for tickets from St Helens and Warrington fans in particular.
Despite being below the 64,319 that watched the 2018 event in Newcastle, chief executive Robert Elstone was delighted with the outcome.
"I'm really pleased with it in many ways," he said. "Attendances have been good, we've seen some great rugby league and I'm sure the players have been thrilled about running out at Anfield.
"More importantly, I think the fans have had a great time. We always felt confident that this stadium was special and I maintain this city has a lot to offer so I'm really hoping fans will reflect positively on Magic."
After also being held in Cardiff, Manchester and Edinburgh since its launch in 2007, London has been touted as a potential future venue.
Elstone has even discussed taking the event overseas following the Super League record crowd of 31,555 for Catalans Dragons' fixture with Wigan in Barcelona. But a return to Liverpool in future would be warmly welcomed.
Fans unite to help Salford LDRL
One of the more heartwarming talking points of the week saw Salford's Learning Disability Rugby League team overcome the theft of their minibus to take part at Magic Weekend.
The team's presence was in doubt, but following an appeal for help, some members were able to participate at the showpiece event.
The donations from supporters mean Salford can purchase a new minibus, and the game deserves a lot of praise for the work with LDRL that was prominent throughout the weekend.
There were more pleasing scenes as supporters of Hull FC and Salford came together to sing Jansin Turgut's name in the 23rd minute of their respective games on Saturday and Sunday.
Turgut, 23, is expected to make a full recovery but remains in a medically-induced coma after a fall from a three-storey car park in Ibiza.