It was four games over four days as the competitive qualifiers got underway with three automatic places in Super League 2019 up for grabs with the consolation prize being a place in the Million Pound game for the remaining spot.
The Super League sides knew that those from the Championship would be looking for an upset and with only one game between this year’s Super League sides there was plenty of opportunity for some giant killing.
If this opening weekend is anything to go by, it’s going to be a nerve-racking seven rounds.
A sensational game between the Widnes Vikings and London Broncos ended with a 21-20 win for the visitors as they pulled off the first shock of the competition in the very first game.
Salford Red Devils made a mockery of the form book and embarrassed the bookies as they dominated Hull KR to give their Super League survival a massive boost. A Chamberlain penalty and Evalds try gave the visitors a 6-0 lead but Hall reduced the margin to 6-4 at the interval. Three Hastings penalties, along with converted tries from Lui and Lussick put the Devils 22-4 in the lead before a Lunt try, converted by Tickle, to reduce the arrears to ten. Wood completed the scoring for Salford with a try, Chamberlain adding the conversion for a final score of 28-10.
Saturday afternoon saw a brave first half performance from Toulouse Olympique XIII on their first ever visit to Headingley where they trailed just 20-16 at the interval. The Rhinos managed to break free in the second half to secure their 48-22 win.
It was a rough and tough first half at the New Shay which was scoreless until four minutes before the interval when Ackers scored a try, converted by O’Brien for a 6-0 lead at the interval. ‘Fax had their chances in the second half but couldn’t breach a determined Wolfpack defence. An O’Brien penalty on sixty minutes gave Toronto a little more comfort, before Dixon scored a try on seventy-seven, converted by O’Brien, to seal a 14-0 win against a brave Halifax effort.
Current Standings (1 Round);
Super League 2019: Leeds Rhinos, Salford Red Devils, Toronto Wolfpack
Million Pound Game: London Broncos v. Widnes Vikings
Championship 2019: Halifax, Hull KR, Toulouse Olympique XIII