With the end of the year fast approaching – and the new season also quickly emerging on the horizon – we’re spending the last few weeks of 2015 looking back at some of the highlights of the year gone by.
2015 was a quite incredible year for Rugby League, with the new league structure seemingly proving a success on the whole. We had drama at almost every turn – and here’s our pick of the five best games of what was an incredible season just gone by.
Castleford 25-24 St Helens, Super League, June
Castleford were once again one of the stories of 2015, and they produced one of the most dramatic endings to any game seen all year back in June, when they sank St Helens in spectacular fashion. The game looked to be heading for a draw after a thrilling final quarter, but Ben Roberts’ last-gasp drop-goal secured a precious two points for Cas in front of the Sky cameras.
Warrington 18-26 Hull KR, Challenge Cup, August
Without star captain Terry Campese, few gave Hull KR a chance of making Wembley and overcoming yet another major side to reach the Challenge Cup Final. However, despite falling behind to Ryan Atkins’ try just a minute into proceedings, KR fought back superbly and secured a return to Wembley with a sensational performance in a thrilling encounter at Headingley Carnegie.
Wakefield 24-16 Bradford, Super 8s, October
Nobody was quite sure what to expect when the inaugural Million Pound Game rolled around in October – but it certainly wasn’t short on drama. Had Danny Addy kicked a tricky penalty to make it 18-18 it could have been Bradford heading to Super League in 2016 – but he missed it, and Scott Moore sealed the Bulls’ fate with a thrilling last-gasp try to consign the Bulls to Championship rugby again next year.
England 20-14 New Zealand, Test Series, November
Perhaps not the most scintillating game of Rugby League you’re ever likely to see, but in terms of what it meant for England fans, it’s well worthy of a place on this list. With the series tied at 1-1 and many English fans fearing another collapse against one of the world’s big two, Steve McNamara’s side produced a performance good enough to see off the world’s top-ranked side and claim a priceless series victory.
Huddersfield 16-20 Leeds, Super 8s, September
There was no way this could have been left off the list. It needs little explanation as it’s arguably the standout moment of action from the entire season; Ryan Hall racing away to secure what would be leg two of an unprecedented treble for Leeds Rhinos in 2015. Surely there wasn’t a game that was better than this one?