Round five delivered on drama in the Super League Qualifiers as two sides made big strides to maintain their Super League status while the Widnes Vikings threw themselves the thinnest of lifelines by recording their first win of the competition.
Two of the games were won by narrow margins while the others were competitive and there was plenty of controversy throughout the weekend with incidents of alleged biting, dodgy try decisions, red and yellow cards and refereeing controversy.
It’s clear that all eight sides are getting nervy.
The Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils were first up on Friday night as the top two met at Headingley. Tom Briscoe put the Rhinos into an early lead but Evalds soon responded for the visitors. A Keinhorst try gave Leeds an 8-4 half time lead but after a Sutclliffe penalty extended the lead to 10-4 Brett Ferres was yellow carded and Salford took full advantage as Burke went in and Chamberlain converted to level the scores at 10-10. Tom Briscoe got his second on sixty-four, again converted for 16-10 but five minutes later Olpherts and a Chamberlain conversion again tied everything up. Sutcliffe became the hero in the last minute when after charging down a Lui attempted drop goal he slotted over a penalty after Salford stripped the ball on their own twenty to seal the 18-16 win and put the Rhinos level on points with the Red Devils. Both sides are now two points away from safety.
The remaining three fixtures were played on Saturday afternoon.
In a tough encounter between the bottom two sides it was the Widnes Vikings who ground out a win with a 26-12 win against a Halifax side who now know that they will be playing their rugby in the Championship next season. Widnes have the thinnest of lifelines to the Million Pound Game but will need a miracle.
Just one point settled the game between the Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique XIII when a Gareth O’Brien drop goal in the seventy-sixth minute secured a 13-12 victory.
Hull KR took a step closer to safety with a win over the London Broncos who now need a big sliceof luck to make the Million Pound Game. Greenwood opened the Hull KR scoring on seven but Channing struck back for the visitors. A double whammy from Atkin and Lee gave the Robins a 20-6 half time lead which London pegged back in the second half through Lovelll and a second for Channing. At 20-18 it was game on but tries from Greenwood and Vaivai in the last ten secured the twelve point win which saw KR join Leeds and Salford on eight ladder points.
Current Standings (5 Rounds):
Super League 2019: Salford Red Devils, Leeds Rhinos, Hull KR
Million Pound Game: Toronto Wolfpack v. Toulouse Olympique XIII
Championship 2019: London Broncos, Widnes Vikings, Halifax