The top 20 memorable moments of the season so far

As we progress through tough challenging times overcoming the Covid-19 outbreak, which has put all professional sports in England on hold, we thought we’d look at some of the memorable moments which have already taken place this season.

From Chris Kamara’s appearance to an on-air dismissal, we have scoured through all the action to have taken place so far and have picked out our favourite 20 moments so far.

20. Toronto triumph over Huddersfield in Challenge Cup

Toronto rose to Super League after dominating the Betfred Championship to earn promotion and were predicted to be one of the most interesting and exciting sides in the competition, with established names such as Jon Wilkin and big names like Sonny Bill Williams joining the club.

But, even with McDermott as coach, Toronto are still yet to register their inaugural Super League victory and have instead suffered six consecutive losses, including defeats to all four clubs based in Lancashire. Finally, on March 11th, Toronto transformed into a completely different side, dominating Huddersfield in a mid-week Challenge Cup tie on OurLeague, where the in-form Giants were handed an 18-0 loss.

19. Kamara’s on-air appearance

As the spread of COVID-19 quickened around the world, the majority of sports in England were postponed, including football, tennis and our other code, rugby union, but rugby league attempted to operate for as long as possible and did so despite games throughout the three professional leagues being postponed.

Due to lack of sport, Sky Sports opted to show every single possible Super League fixture and decided to broadcast Castleford’s Sunday clash with St Helens at 3pm, a time where football’s acclaimed Super Sunday often takes place. No other sports were occurring on this weekend, meaning Sky could choose any pundit or commentator of their choice and subsequently selected Chris Kamara, who is a presenter and football analyst on Sky Sports Football.

He brought his unique charisma into the studio but played victim in a prank performed by Brian Carney as he allegedly showed Kamara ‘one of the best tries’, which turned out to be Ryan Atkins’ unsuccessful acrobatic effort against Leeds last year. Nevertheless, Chris’ presence likely meant a large number of football fans would watch this Super League game and may become fans in the future.

18. Warrington stun the Saints

Super League kicked off with a highly-captivating opening round but the mouth-watering ties did not stop there, as Warrington hosted St Helens on Sky Sports in round two. Almost 11,000 fans flocked to the Halliwell Jones on a Thursday to provide a unique atmosphere, with many expecting Saints to reign supreme.

Warrington’s Jason Clark preparing for contact with Saints’ LMS in Round Two.

The outcome? Kristian Woolf’s side disappointed in-front of the Sky cameras, with no points being accumulated by the visitors. Warrington showed team unison throughout, with forwards assisting outside-backs and, after an impressive first-half display, occupied a 13-point lead before adding another score to finish the game 19-0. This was the first time Warrington kept St Helens scoreless in the Super League, making this one of their biggest victories over their rivals and, in general, one of their greatest victories in recent times.

17. Hull hinder Wakefield’s momentum after extra-time drop goal

Wakefield began their season showing their competitive intent, with relatively convincing wins over Warrington and Salford, and had a chance to further impress as they hosted their fifth game of the season against Hull, who were heading into this game on the back of three consecutive defeats, in a contest which always seems to be a closely fought battle.

Hull blatantly wanted to get back to winning ways, holding a 6-20 lead at the interval, but following this, the hosts quickly mounted a comeback, including two tries from the unrivalled finisher Tom Johnstone, leaving the game all-square.

It meant fans had to endure a tense period of golden point extra-time. Of course, Marc Sneyd picked Wakefield’s pockets in the opening minute of this additional period, meaning Hull received their first win in four games and turned momentum temporarily back in their favour before the season’s halt.

16. Roosters make history in World Club Challenge

After out-muscling Canberra to earn the NRL Major Premiership, Sydney had earned the right to participate in the World Club Challenge for the second consecutive year against Super League’s trophy holders St Helens. The Roosters came out victorious against Wigan in 2018 with Brett Morris scoring a hat-trick but the Saints wanted to bring the fight and, more importantly, the prestigious silverware back to England.

As many of us are aware, Sydney landed a few days early to take part in multiple activities, including an appearance at Mose Masoe’s fundraiser and an open training session at the home of the Wolves but while all of this was taking place, Saints were busy selling out their home, the Totally Wicked Stadium, to enhance the atmosphere to decibel levels never heard before.

Containing 34 of the most notable names and two impactful coaches in our sport, in-front of what was a fully sold-out venue, both sides put on an engaging spectacle for all. Nobody could pick a winner at the break, with the NRL titans holding a slender two-point lead over the local leaders.

Prior to an Alex Walmsley consolation, Joseph Manu and Luke Keary sealed Sydney’s fifth World Club Challenge triumph, which set a new record for the number of wins in annual Challenge, and also meant that Sydney entered the history books as the first side to ever retain the exclusive silverware.

15. Salford superb as Hastings’ return ends in defeat

Traditionally, Wigan usually are able to out-power Salford, largely down to the motivation provided by travelling supporters, and this game proved no different in the opening half, with Wigan holding a 12-point lead. This included a significant four-point contribution from Hastings.

But 16 unanswered points provided by the hosts gave them a famous victory over Wigan that’ll be remembered for a while amongst Salfordians.

14. Hull hammering Leeds at Headingley

Super League’s first-ever double-header culminated the opening round, with two encounters being hosted at Leeds’ newly-renovated Emerald Headingley. The eight-time champions have had two disappointing years previously and subsequently, chose to recruit heavily in the off-season. Matt Prior and Luke Gale were just two of the colossal names to make their debuts on this day and, as a team, had high expectations amongst bookmakers to excel in this year’s competition.

Unfortunately, their opening half was pretty painful to watch from their perspective, with Hull’s Carlos Tuimavave, Ratu Naulago and Josh Bowden clocking up a healthy 0-16 tally. Ash Handley did provide a small consolation, but Hull dominated proceedings thereafter, running out 4-30 winners in the end leaving a packed-out Headingley silenced.

Ratu Naulago darting over for his first try of the campaign

This was only a temporary blip, though, as Richard Agar’s Rhinos have not lost a game since.

13. Warrington woeful at Leeds

The annual battle between Leeds and Warrington at Headingley tends to be unpredictable and has produced some indelible moments over recent years. Therefore, this game is regularly broadcast on Sky Sports, with their recent clash proving how variable these games can be.

As we mentioned earlier, Warrington had already charged through the reigning champions with ease, while Leeds had already torn apart Salford and Hull Kingston Rovers, and many of us predicted these Super League sides to have a similar battle on this night, but what actually took place was contrasting to what anybody could predict.

Leeds seemed to continue their authoritative performances, initiating a 14-point lead ahead of the interval, but they hit a new gear following this, with four more unanswered scores supplied by the visitors. Warrington didn’t even get a foothold in this game at any point, meaning the reigning Challenge Cup holders were kept scoreless at this ground for the second time in three years in a simply woeful display.

12. Leeds punish Toronto

Brian McDermott made his return to Headingley for the first time since becoming coach of Toronto, and wanted to upset the hosts in what would be their first Super League victory, but Leeds had something else on their agenda.

After knocking off Warrington, the Rhinos wanted to maintain their consistently rampant form prior to the imminent season pause, and did so by directing over half-a-century worth of points past their opposition, who have lacked squad depth throughout the opening rounds. Tries came in thick and fast within the team, with nine players getting their names on the ever-growing score-sheet, and Rhyse Martin proved his international kicking standard by booting over all eleven efforts.

11. Huddersfield hold their heads high at Saints

Since joining, Simon Woolford has given Huddersfield a new lease of life by vastly improving their recent league form. In fact, the Giants held the competition’s longest unbeaten streak, before they were heavily toppled by Wigan Warriors.

On the subsequent week, Huddersfield had their toughest test of the season and were hoping to get back to winning ways at the home of the champions, St Helens. Both sides contested the opening half meaning it was all to play for in the closing stages.

Aidan Sezer, their first marquee signing, showed his stature and star quality in the end, his two successful goal kicks proved to be the difference, allowing Huddersfield to record a rare victory away at Saints which re-gained their form.

It was Saints’ first home league defeat for almost 18 months.

10. Johnstone’s incredible finish against Castleford

Wakefield’s Tom Johnstone is renowned in our competition for his ridiculous and one-of-a-kind finishes, which often seem to defy Newton’s invention of gravitation laws. In fact, these finishes have begun to form a trademark and recently, earned him a priceless England jersey, where he scored a hat-trick on debut at Leigh Sports Village.

This effort from Johnstone is, dare we say it, better than any of his previous finishes and is quite simply outrageous. He received the ball from Jacob Miller and dived over the corner with his entire body in touch. Wakefield did lose the game 32-15 but this was certainly the moment of the match.

9. Hill’s red card

After seven rounds of Super League, this particular moment is still vivid in everyone’s mind. The chaotic season opener between Wigan and Warrington on January 30th was nothing short of memorable for a number of reasons, including Matty Ashton’s debut.

However, mid-way through the first-half, Chris Hill executed a high tackle on Sam Powell prior to the hooker scoring but, after rigorous review by video referee Robert Hicks, this tackle was deemed both dangerous and high, meaning the Warrington co-captain conceded an eight-point try for his side and given the season’s first red card by Chris Kendall.

Powell was stretchered into the changing rooms and missed the following game before returning against Hull KR.

8. Catalans’ claw back victory over Hull

On paper, Catalan have one of the best sides in the league, with established household names such as James Maloney and Sam Tomkins regularly playing their roles successfully.

If you cast your minds back to the opening day in March, the Black and Whites seemed to have the match in the bag, holding a three-score lead with just 20 minutes remaining.

However, what was about to take place was one of the greatest comebacks in Super League, as the Dragons crossed three times in just eight minutes. Marc Sneyd attempted to seal the two points by booting over a drop goal, but James Maloney showed his star power in the final minute, scoring and converting a match-winning effort.

7. Hull KR’s delicious derby score

Rovers were expected to play poorly in the season’s first Hull derby due to the sheer number of youngsters who were among 18 signings that were recruited by Tony Smith in the off-season but, despite losing 25-16, impressed many during their Friday night clash on Sky Sports with a multitude of moments sending chills down the spines of those around the ground.

This effort is most likely going to be one of the most extravagant scores to occur this year and therefore, has been placed at the second-highest try on this list. This move, which was practically improvised throughout, saw nine different players receive the ball across eleven separate passes. Ben Crooks received a cut-out ball to finish the unteachable move in the corner in a video which can be viewed below.

6. Ben burrows through Burgess

George Burgess may have been born in Yorkshire but his Super League career has only just begun. As a marquee signing from South Sydney, Burgess had high expectations at Wigan, a club known for its trophy success.

However, things didn’t get off to a strong start for Burgess as he met his match early on in the form of Tongan powerhouse Ben Murdoch-Masila. After just 13 minutes, Ben received a pass from Blake Austin and charged his way through Burgess to gain this season’s first Super League score.

This particular moment reached far-and-wide, with the former Rabbitoh receiving a mention on Fox League’s social media platform (below) in a video that has been viewed 31000 times on their Twitter alone.

5. Marshall’s magical kick and chase

When people mention Liam Marshall, it is usually regarding his practically unmatchable pace. He became a different talking point for all the correct reasons during his side’s clash with Huddersfield who were, at this point in time, the only remaining unbeaten team in the competition.

Anyhow, let’s discuss this moment from magical Marshall, which took place when Wigan were barely leading 10-14. Having just conceded two minutes beforehand, Huddersfield, who were a man down due to a sin-bin, were demoralised and burst forward after the subsequent kick-off. Marshall, as expected, received the ball and what happened next was nothing short of incredible.

After capturing kick-off, Liam noticed a massive gap in the line and proceeding to lightly dink a kick over this gap. Outpacing chasing backmarkers, Marshall charged towards the travelling supporters, who were celebrating like they’d re-claimed Super League silverware, to finish an effort that went far beyond belief.

4. Warrington capture Greg Inglis

A massive rumour appeared in Australia’s Daily Telegraph yesterday regarding Greg Inglis’ next destination, which was a confusing story considering he retired last year. The article mentioned that the Australian International would be heading to Super League with Warrington, a club who already have two marquees in the form of Gareth Widdop and Blake Austin but recently lost Tongan powerhouse Ben Murdoch-Masila due to contract negotiations with New Zealand Warriors.

Shockingly, within an hour of this rumour materalising, the signing was officially confirmed by Warrington on social media just after noon. Inglis, at 33, is unrivalled with experience, holding 76 international caps, including 32 representing Queensland in State of Origin, but also is versatile due to his ability to play any position in the back five.

This is a massive shock return to everyone associated with Rugby League but, if things work out for Warrington, this capture may accelerate their journey towards their inaugural Super League silverware.

3. Mose Masoe’s magnificent recovery

The incredible story of Mose Masoe will not escape this list, and we have placed it so high due to his inspirational recovery so far from his injuries where, during Hull KR’s pre-season fixture against Wakefield on January 12th, Masoe suffered a serious spinal injury and was subsequently stretchered off the field. Initially, Tony Smith said; ‘If Mose is able to walk, that will be success’, showing the significance of his injury.

However, four months later, Mose has made unthinkable progress regarding his rehab and we are delighted to see him already walking for the first time in this heart-warming video. In the video posted on Twitter, Masoe has paid tribute to the support provided by the hospital as he walked across his kitchen aided by his daughter, who was pulling the walking frame.

This progress wouldn’t have been possible without fundraising efforts, which have taken place amongst Rugby League fans of multiple clubs, that have now topped £100000.

2. Folau signs with Super League

As one of the most well-documented signings in the Super League era, Israel Folau certainly caused controversy amongst a number of recognised media outlets.

Folau has an impressive career already considering he’s just 31, including experiences in Rugby League, rugby union and Aussie Rules Football, but came under fire recently due to his comments, which brought him into conflict with Rugby Australia, the governing body for Rugby Union, who chose to terminate his professional contract.

The Rugby Football League accepted Folau’s request to join Super League, which he did by linking with Steve McNamara’s Catalan Dragons, leading to an influx of media attention, including the likes of national newspapers from both England and Australia wanting to interview the talented star, making Super League receive attention and new supporters.

1. Radford relinquished of duties on Sky

March 12th will go down as one of the most shocking nights in 25 years of Super League. After his side performed contrary to expectations and suffered a substantial 4-38 loss at home to Warrington, Lee Radford was not a happy coach. He had no opportunity to discuss issues with players, however, as Adam Person, Hull’s chairman, appeared live on-air with the breaking and unexpected news that he and Radford had parted ways.

This came across to the vast majority of fans as a massive shock due to Radford spending seven years at the Black and Whites as a player prior to his coaching career but mainly down to his well-established coaching accolades, including two consecutive Challenge Cup victories.