Super League Throwbacks: Leeds vs St Helens, Wigan vs Warrington and Catalans vs London Broncos
By Ian Proctor
Last Updated: 14/08/19 12:55pm
Ahead of this week's Super League fixtures live on Sky Sports, rugby league researcher Ian Proctor looks at some previous meetings between the sides involved and picks out some memorable moments.
June 7, 2002: Leeds 14-41 St Helens
Saints were on the way to the club's third Super League Grand Final win in four seasons when Ian Millward's team cut loose in some style to win an eagerly-anticipated meeting between teams standing second (Leeds) and third in the table.
Leeds had won their previous five games and Saints their previous four and the Rhinos were looking to avenge their 30-26 early-season defeat at St Helens and the 42-16 Cup semi-final defeat to St Helens at Wigan.
Paul Sculthorpe was at his brilliant best, showcasing the form that made him the first player to win back-to-back Man of Steel awards in 2001 and 2002, and he had a tremendous supporting cast in Paul Wellens, Tommy Martyn, Darren Albert and Peter Shiels. Saints raced into a 23-6 interval lead that eventually led to a thumping 41-14 victory.
Anthony Stewart and Micky Higham each scored two tries, Sculthorpe contributed a try and six goals and Martyn's drop-goal twisted the knife as Saints controlled the first half. Mark Calderwood scored two tries in vain for a well-beaten Rhinos side.
July 3, 2010: Leeds 28-24 St Helens
Grand Final opponents in each of the previous three seasons, Leeds and Saints were both well below-strength yet produced an enthralling contest in front of more than 17,000 fans. It was a game that highlighted the emerging young talent at both clubs.
Jonny Lomax was prominent on the wing for Saints and Chris Clarkson impressed for Leeds. Both were tryscorers in a thrilling first half that finished 16-16 following two-try Chris Flannery's touchdown just before the break.
Making matters worse for the visitors, Saints lost the services of half-backs Leon Pryce (back spasm) and Kyle Eastmond (ankle) having established a 24-16 lead. Almost immediately, Danny McGuire scored a classic try to set up frantic finale after inter-passing with Ryan Bailey.
The decisive score again involved McGuire and Bailey as well as the outstanding Danny Buderus who sent Ryan Hall in for the match-winning try at the corner flag. The hooker duel between the ex-Newcastle Knights legend and James Roby was a beauty, pitting together two of the world's finest number 9s.
October 2, 2015: Leeds 20-13 St Helens
Saints stood between Leeds and an appearance at Old Trafford when they met in the play-off semi-final one week after the Rhinos secured the League Leaders shield with that Ryan Hall try at Huddersfield.
As reigning champions, winners of the 'treble' in 2006, and having lost to Leeds in the Cup semi-final, St Helens had every incentive to ruin Rhinos' dreams of completing a latter-day trophy treble. And, for a long period, Keiron Cunningham's men seemed on course to do just that.
Saints were well up for the contest, with James Roby scoring a majestic fifth minute try, and they led 13-8 when a 40/20 kick from Kevin Sinfield turned the tide. With 11 minutes remaining, Ryan Hall's try allowed his skipper to give Leeds the lead for the first time with his touchline conversion. Kallum Watkins then sealed the home win when a desperate last-gasp Saints move broke down and the centre swooped to score. The treble was 'on'.
September 27, 2003: Wigan 25-12 Warrington
As the sleeping giants of Super League it had been a source of frustration for Warrington fans that their favourites had failed to make the play-offs in each of the first five seasons after their introduction.
Finally, just a year after saving his hometown club from the threat of relegation, Paul Cullen moulded a team that was good enough to finish sixth and secure the club's Super League play-off debut. The visit to Wigan produced a stirring derby in which they gave as good as they got before succumbing 25-12.
Cullen was up against a Wigan side coached by his great friend and former Warrington colleague Mike Gregory, who remained unbeaten in eight games after succeeding Stuart Raper as Warriors coach.
Warrington stunned Wigan with the ferocity of their first-half performance and they deservedly led 12-6 at the interval. And the Wolves were still in contention until seven minutes from time when Luke Robinson's drop-goal effectively sealed the home win.
An 80-metre move starring Brent Grose ended with fellow Australian Darren Burns scoring the opening try. And Warrington's second try was another 80-metre effort from Nathan Wood.
With Kris Radlinski outstanding, Wigan stormed back in the second half and it was the full-back who sent Brett Dallas over after Adrian Lam and Danny Tickle had scored earlier tries. Both teams left the field to a standing ovation after a wonderful contest played in a white-hot atmosphere.
February 8, 2013: Wigan 17-17 Warrington
Wigan and Warrington produced a magnificent game that had no winner in front of over 20,000 fans to get the 2013 campaign off to a memorable start. The teams would meet at Old Trafford in the Grand Final at the end of the season.
It was 12-10 to Wigan at half-time after two tries from Joel Monaghan were matched by those from Josh Charnley and Ben Flower.
But the Wolves were back in front within two minutes of the restart after a classy try from half-back Richie Myler.
Liam Farrell hit back for Wigan and the home side then edged 17-16 in front with eight minutes remaining after Matty Smith's drop-goal.
Almost inevitably, Lee Briers followed suit with a one-pointer that went over via the upright with just three minutes remaining. It secured a deserved 17-17 share of the spoils after a thriller that neither side deserved to lose.
October 3, 2014: Wigan 16-12 Warrington
Wigan and Warrington locked horns for the right to return to Old Trafford in a play-off semi-final that was a repeat of the previous season's decider.
And golden point extra-time seemed imminent until Joe Burgess broke the 12-12 deadlock with less than 60 seconds remaining.
Wigan dominated early on but had only Joel Tomkins' try to show for their superiority. Warrington fortuitously hit back with a try from Joel Monaghan after Myler's pass came off the head of James Laithwaite.
Matty Bowen crucially allowed Gareth O'Brien's high kick to bounce and the stand-off followed up to score his 46th minute try that was cancelled out, almost immediately, by Anthony Gelling's effort for Wigan.
At 12-12, there were failed drop-goal attempts from Smith (twice), O'Brien and Myler, and, just as an extra-time period loomed, genial Wigan skipper Sean O'Loughlin created the match-winning try on the blind-side for Burgess.
July 19, 2009: Catalans 38-16 Harlequins
The Sky Sports cameras captured a virtuoso display from Thomas Bosc, highlighted by a wondrous solo try, as the Dragons completed their 38-16 home win over a depleted but spirited Harlequins line-up.
The visitors lacked Australian hooker Chad Randall whose club record 101-game playing sequence ended when he sustained a leg injury at Huddersfield the previous week. But a determined team, skippered by Danny Ward, limited the home side to first-half tries from Dimitri Pelo and Olivier Elima.
Greg Bird was outstanding for Catalans and Pelo finished with two tries in the 30-degree heat. But the highlight of the game was Bosc's truly audacious try when he beat the front line defence with his left foot chip kick and produced another with his right foot to beat Will Sharp for the undoubted try of the season.
Half-back Luke Gale impressed for Quins, who gave a Super League debut to Luke May, but the Dragons were good value for their third consecutive win at Stade Gilbert Brutus.