Talking Rugby League: A weekend of shocks across Super League and beyond

Every week in League Express we nominate a Team of the Week in the Highlights column.

We normally nominate a team that has produced a shock result.

This week Toulouse Olympique got the nod for getting off the mark with a remarkable first victory in Super League against St Helens.

You will see the match report on page 20 of this edition of League Express.

Given that I wrote an article about St Helens in last week’s paper that was headlined ‘Can Anyone Give Them a Game?’, I think it’s fair to say that the result from the Stade Ernest Wallon was clearly the biggest shock of the season so far.

And it wasn’t just the result. St Helens were winning 20-18 with two minutes to go but Toulouse struck to score the winning try from Paul Marcon almost at the death. It was quite remarkable and it sends out a warning to the other clubs near the bottom of the Super League table that they can’t take for granted that Toulouse will be relegated at the end of the season.

If they can beat St Helens, then in theory they can beat anyone.

Other shock results included Wakefield’s win at Warrington and, at least to some extent, Salford’s defeat of Leeds. In the latter case it wasn’t that Salford’s victory was a total shock, but rather that it was the way they played in the last 20 minutes to decisively win the game that was so impressive.

Then in the Championship we had London Broncos earning their first point of the season with a draw at Barrow, while Batley Bulldogs led Featherstone Rovers for most of the game and ended up with another draw, just when many pundits were suggesting that Featherstone may be as unbeatable in the Championship as St Helens were in Super League.

The Broncos have been gradually getting better week by week in the Championship and I would like to think that the point they earned at Barrow will be the first of many.

Their coach Jermaine Coleman took on a difficult job as the club transitioned to being part-time from full-time last year, and it was always likely to take a lot of adjustment to that reality.

But now it seems to be coming together and I hope the spectators who attended their earlier home games at their new home in Wimbledon will now stick with them.

Meanwhile Sheffield Eagles will play their Challenge Cup match this Saturday at Featherstone because their new ground isn’t ready for them. What a shame that it.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Eagles in my old stomping ground of Sheffield again.

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.