Set of Six: The main talking points from the world of rugby league
By Tony Tighe
Last Updated: 24/08/15 12:55pm
Tony Tighe looks at the main talking points from the last seven days in the world of rugby league...
Unhappy ending for Tomkins
Sam Tomkins had not made the impact he would have liked in the NRL and his final home appearance for New Zealand Warriors will also leave him with regrets.
The Warriors have lost six games in a row, failing to trouble the scoreboard in two of those, and they collapsed in frankly unacceptable fashion in front of over 14,000 supporters at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday.
Having raced into a 16-0 lead after just 12 minutes against North Queensland Cowboys, the hosts fell apart, conceding 50 unanswered points to slip to their 13th defeat in 22 games.
Out of finals contention, Tomkins and the wounded Warriors have only pride to play for in their two remaining games at Wests Tigers and Canterbury Bulldogs.
How will Tomkins look back on his time in Auckland and the NRL? That was the question put to Terry O'Connor and Tony Rea on Boots 'N' All last week.
Bulls stomp sorry Salford
The Super 8s Qualifiers were chugging along in all too predictable fashion until Sunday afternoon, when Bradford blew the promotion race wide open with a 41-10 thrashing of Salford.
There looked a real gulf in class when the Bulls lost at Wakefield last weekend and that was also the case at the Provident Stadium, except this time Bradford were the ones dishing out the hiding.
The hosts got off to a dream start with 16 unanswered points in the opening 32 minutes, and they ran in four further tries in the second half.
It was a miserable afternoon for Salford's supporters and their outspoken owner Marwan Koukash, who also got stuck in motorway traffic on his way home.
"It is going from bad to worse," Koukash tweeted. "In a restaurant close to Leigh. Some saying to me we deliberately lost the game. Need some wine fast."
Pomeroy's horror challenge
Ben Pomeroy is likely to be hit with a lengthy suspension by the RFL this week after his sickening tackle on Castleford's Ashley Gibson.
The Dragons centre, who was only making his return from suspension, picked up another red card just 28 minutes into his comeback for a suplex that's more accustomed to the WWE.
Gibson was sent crashing onto the back of his head and left the field in a neck brace following lengthy treatment. Thankfully the Castleford man wasn't serious hurt and was able to travel home with his team-mates.
Pomeroy's moment of madness overshadowed what was a fantastic performance by Catalans. Despite playing the majority of the content with 12 men they cut the Castleford defence to shreds, with Todd Carney and Thomas Bosc forging a devastating half-back partnership and Tony Gigot scoring a hat-trick.
It was a display typical of Catalans at the Stade Gilbert Brutus this season, but one they forget to put in their carry-on luggage when they travel to the north of England.
Had the Dragons showed a smidgen of that form on the road they would be in top-four contention, with a fit-again Carney pulling the strings.
Finalists up for the Cup
Leeds and Hull KR warmed up for Saturday's Challenge Cup final with wins on the road in the Super 8s and Qualifiers respectively.
Despite resting key names such as Kallum Watkins, Danny McGuire and Adam Cuthbertson, the Rhinos ran out 36-22 winners over Hull FC, with Rob Burrow putting his hand up for a Wembley start with two tries at the KC Stadium.
Hull KR, meanwhile, ground out a 12-8 win at Widnes to maintain their 100 per cent start to life in the Qualifiers.
The Robins are on a four-game winning streak, while Leeds travel south seeking a seventh successive victory. Something has to give at Wembley.
Danny Brough has been leading opposition defences a merry dance for many years now, and the Huddersfield half-back matched that with an eye-catching performance off the pitch after the Giants' win at St Helens.
Brough joined Jon Wells at the Skypad to provide some in-depth analysis of the key moments in Huddersfield's 28-22 victory at Langtree Park.
The Scotland international inspired the Giants' to only their second ever Super League victory at Saints, which saw them leapfrog the reigning champions into third spot in the Super 8s table.
Brough could well find himself back in front of the Skypad on September 3 when Huddersfield entertain Castleford at the John Smith's Stadium.
The end of the season cannot come quickly enough for Warrington and their supporters. The Wolves' form has been patchy at best this year but they have been in freefall since their Challenge Cup semi-final exit.
Things went from bad to worse last Thursday when Tony Smith's side were held scoreless at the Halliwell Jones Stadium for the first time.
The attacking verve that Warrington showed when they beat Wigan on July 2 was nowhere to be seen as they crashed to a 28-0 loss to the Warriors.
The signing of Chris Sandow has failed to remedy Warrington's problems and with their Grand Final hopes already over, you'd expect Smith to be a busy man during the close season.