Here is the Rugby League Hub countdown of the top 10 memorable moments from the Super League era. From Leeds winning 3 Super League trophies on the bounce through to Gareth O’Brien’s drop goal consigning Hull KR to the championship.
10 – Leeds vs Hull KR – Challenge Cup final 2015
Not a game that will be remembered for being an exciting, nerve jangling, thrill fest but more for the scoreline. Leeds hit their straps early in the game with a Brett Delaney try on the 7th minute, closely followed by Danny McGuire on the 17th. KR, with a struggling Albert Kelly tried their utmost to push back the rampaging Rhinos with some success in that they kept Leeds to 16 points in the 1st half.
Roll on the 2nd and Leeds shifted up a gear, with Tom Briscoe going on to break Challenge Cup records and score 4 more tries on top of his 1st in the first half.
Final score: Leeds 50 – Hull KR 0
9 – Leeds win their third Super League title in a row
The 10th of October 2009 is a night Leeds Rhinos fans will never forget, Leeds succeeded in taking their third Super League title in as many years, a feat never seen before it. Lead by the magnificent man locals lovingly refer to as Sir Kev or King Kev (who, unusually, missed 2 from 3 conversions), Leeds rallied to hang on thus ruining a farewell party for the departing St Helens player Sean Long.
Final score: Leeds 18 – St Helens 10
8 – Catalan Dragons win their first ever game in Super League against Wigan Warriors
Early 2006 was a time to forget for the usually mighty Wigan Warriors, they started the season slowly winning only 5 from their first 20 games. On the 11th February they faced a Catalans team vying to make a mark on the competition they had just joined, and boy did they start well. Late tries by both Ian Hindmarsh and Justin Murphy snatched victory from the hands of the Warriors and open their first Super League campaign in style.
Final score: Catalan 38 – Wigan 30
7 – Bradford Bulls destroy Wigan Warriors, inspired by the volcano, Lesley Vainikolo
Another night to forget for the Wigan Warriors saw them go down 34 – 6 at the hands of the defending champions, Bradford Bulls. With a barnstorming display, Lesley ‘the volcano’ Vainikolo stole the show, single handedly removing any hope of a strong Wigan performance with 5 tries. Without the single try scored by Danny Orr, Wigan would have been looking at a nilling – something not many teams have achieved.
Final score: Bradford 34 – Wigan 6
6 – Wide to west
Perhaps one of the most famous tries in Rugby League history, wide to west has gone down in the sports history books as one of the greatest ever tries and for good reason. Then champions, St Helens were looking down the barrel of defeat to the Bradford Bulls when out of nowhere came perhaps the greatest try of all time, seen on these shores. With no time remaining on the clock, Sean Long decided to place a kick wide to Kevin Iro, then as the famous commentary by Eddie Hemmings goes:
Iro to Hall, Hall is trapped, back it goes to Hoppe, over the shoulder to Hall, there is Jonkers, here is Long and Long fancies it. Long fancies it, it’s wide to west, it’s wide to west, Dwayne West, inside to Joynt, Joynt, Joynt, Jooooynt.
Final score: St Helens 16 – Bradford 11
5 – Magic Weekend 2007, Steve Ganson spoils Bradford’s party
You could cut the atmosphere with a knife, 79 minutes in, 1 minute from time – Bradford lead Leeds 38 points to 36. With the clock counting down, Steve Ganson awarded a penalty to Leeds for an offside against Bradford, an offside that later proved to be non existent. The magic Kevin Sinfield decided to go for the two pointer, 40 metres out on the left touchline – a kick that should have sealed the game. However, the ball hit the crossbar bouncing back, with Tansey ready to scoop up the ball and finish it with a touchdown.
Some say Iestyn Harris is still shouting about it to this day.
Final score: Leeds 42 – Bradford 38
4 – Salford send Hull KR in to the Championship
Nobody could have seen the ending of this game, a game dominated by Hull KR for the most part lead to one of the most incredible finishes ever witnessed in the Super League era. With two minutes on the clock, Niall Evalds of Salford bagged a magnificent try to make it 18 – 14, enough time? Surely not! 53 seconds left on the clock and a moment of magic, Josh Griffin broke midfield shifting the ball out to the right wing finally reaching Greg Johnson who touched down to make it 18 – 18 with a conversion to come. Gareth O’Brien missed the conversion leading to extra time. Salford got first hands on the ball, eventually finding Gareth O’Brien who put in potentially the best drop goal ever seen on live TV to consign Hull KR to the championship.
Final score: Salford 19 – Hull KR 18
3 – Leeds take the League Leader’s Shield right at the death
It seems crazy to think that just over a year ago we saw Leeds take on Wigan and ultimately win to secure their third trophy of the season. Leeds who have struggled through a transitional period over the past 12 months, were involved in a battle to determine who would finish top of the pile and win the League Leader’s Shield.
Cast your mind back to the evening of the 25th September 2015. Over in Wigan, Wigan took on Castleford ultimately winning the match in a comfortable 47 – 12 victory. With a helicopter circling overhead preparing to land and present Wigan with the League Leader’s Shield a moment of magic was about to take place in Huddersfield.
Leeds who had struggled to keep up with the charismatic Huddersfield team, were down 16 – 8 with around 7 minutes to play. On the 74th minute came hope for Leeds in the form of Tom Briscoe who managed to hand his side a lifeline by scoring the second try. With less than a minute to play and the winners now seemingly decided, Danny McGuire put potentially one of the best kicks of his career to put Hall through a gap down the left wing, Hall gathered the ball and sprinted the distance to the line giving Leeds a 20 points to 16 victory.
Final score: Leeds 20 – Huddersfield 16
2 – Ben Flower sees red
A moment to forget, or a moment to remember – you decide. The first ever red card handed out in a Grand Final came on the 12th October 2014 in a tense affair between Wigan Warriors and winners St Helens. After a moment of madness saw Lance Hohaia run in to the back of Ben Flower, Ben Flower retaliated with a punch knocking the St Helens half-back to the ground. Whilst laying prone on the ground, Flower then climbed on top of the unconscious Saints man and hit him again with a brutal, unprovoked punch straight to the face. Ultimately a night to forget for the game, as mainstream press journalists took the opportunity to bag our sport, we never heard the end of it. Flower later apologised for the incident and sat on the sidelines for 6 months as punishment whilst undertaking anger management. Either way, the night was memorable – it’s just a shame that it wasn’t because of St Helens taking the trophy.
Final score: St Helens 14 – Wigan 6
1 – Rob Burrow strikes again
Rob Burrow, the man known for his quick striking, flashy Rugby League style was at the centre of conversation after a cold night at Old Trafford. With a try and a man of the match performance it’s no wonder that he did, in fact, win the Harry Sunderland award. The first player to achieve the unanimous votes of all 37 judges.
It was on the 33rd minute that Rob Burrow produced a try that is still spoken about today. A try, that if scored in the other code would have been top news. Burrow broke upfield and scored from roughly 50 metres out, ducking and diving through numerous St Helens players attempting to make a tackle. Personally, my hairs still stand on end when watching the footage of that moment – as they did when I was stood there, watching it live. A moment I’ll never forget, a moment I’ll never stop talking about.
Leading 16 – 8 at the break it appeared that St Helens was finally going to break their Grand Final duck by beating Leeds. St Helens rallied from 8 – 2 down to take the lead at the break, however it wasn’t to be and Leeds won the encounter 32 – 16.
Final score: Leeds 32 – St Helens 16