TotalRL Top 10: Biggest shock results of the 2016 season

10: Salford 44-10 St Helens
February 11th

Adam Walne Salford

It was a result that caught everyone out by surprise right at the start of the year.

Everyone had already written off the Red Devils leading into their first home game of the season after being hammered the week previous by Hull FC.

However, there was a reason that Ian Watson’s side had been tipped for a top eight finish, and they showed exactly how good they could be as they ripped apart the Saints.

New signings Robert Lui and Craig Kopczak starred for the hosts as they raced into a 32-6 lead in the first-half before extending their lead further after that.

For Saints, it proved to be a difficult defeat to recover from.

9: Leigh 32-26 Salford
August 13th

It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when very few people believed Leigh could earn promotion.

However, that came to a halt on a fine August afternoon, as the Centurions picked off Super League opposition for the first time in the Qualifiers with a hard-fought victory over Salford after holding off a late fightback.

It proved to be a hugely significant victory for Neil Jukes’ side, who never really looked back after that and went on to earn promotion with six consecutive wins in the Qualifiers.

8: Salford 16-19 London
September 17th

Another Salford inclusion, and once again, for the wrong reasons.

An awful start to the Qualifiers left Salford chasing a spot in the Million Pound Game from the early stages.

However, they were given an even bigger fright in the penultimate round of fixtures as they were stunned by Andrew Henderson’s fearless Broncos.

London raced into a 19-6 lead as a confidence-shattered Salford side failed to cope with their expansive brand of rugby.

The result was definitely a shock, and it left Salford with the threat of automatic relegation should they lose again.

In the end, things turned out just fine for the Red Devils, though.

7: Widnes 56-12 Leeds
February 14th

Widnes celebration CLEE-H(2)-MH

After losing their first Super League game of the season against Warrington, pressure was already on the Rhinos to prove they could play without Peacock, Sinfield and Leuluai.

However, the severity of Leeds’ problems were made brutally apparent in their second defeat of the season, as they were battered by Widnes in round two of Super League.

Denis Betts’ side put on an outstanding display to romp to a ten-try rout over the defending treble champions, with Corey Thompson showing his worth with a hat-trick.

The result had long-term consequences for both teams; Widnes went on to top Super League going into Easter while Leeds remained at the bottom of Super League for months, and it took them a long, long time to recover.

6: Batley 24-22 Leigh
February 7th


They were overwhelming favourites to win the league, their owner had suggested they could go unbeaten all season, and they had a squad crammed with international stars.

So when Leigh turned up at Mount Pleasant to take on Batley on the opening day of the season, it was seen as an opportunity for the Centurions to show what they were all about.

Instead, they were left stunned by a valiant Batley display that resulted in Patch Walker kicking a late penalty to win the match, resulting in memorable scenes.

Paul Rowley had only left ten days previous, and many believed they would de-rail after that.

But things didn’t work out so bad for Leigh, did they?

5: Toulouse 10-8 Leigh
April 16th

Leigh only lost three matches all season, but the first two defeats were major shocks.

Everyone knew of Leigh’s ambitions. Their goal was to become a Super League side.

So, when they played League 1 leaders Toulouse in the Challenge Cup, people didn’t even consider the fact that the French side could win.

However, Toulouse shocked the Championship powerhouses with a 10-8 victory in France, with a couple of Mark Kheirallah penalty goals proving to be the difference.

However, Leigh bounced back well and didn’t lose another game for over five months.

4: Toulouse 22-24 Rochdale
September 17th


Imagine this; you’ve stayed unbeaten in the league all year, you won the league at a canter and have already defeated a team that has been promoted to Super League. All you need is one more win, and you’re up and preparing for next year.

That’s the situation Toulouse found themselves in ahead of the Promotion Play-off Final with Rochdale, however, they were shown up on their own turf as the Hornets snatched promotion from their grasp.

Rochdale, who had been stuffed 46-6 by the same opponents under a month beforehand, showed incredible spirit to chase down an early deficit to win the match and go up.

Perhaps it was complacency, maybe they just chocked, but it was a victory that will live long in the memory for Rochdale fans.

3: Featherstone 20-0 Bradford
July 24th

It was billed as the ‘Half a Million Pound Game’, with both Featherstone and the Bulls set to clash in a winner takes all tie. The prize? A spot in the Qualifiers.

Nobody away from Post Office Road had given Jon Sharp’s side much of a chance. They had spent the whole year on the outskirts of the top four and their inability to frequently defeat those above them left them playing catch up.

However, Fev had played their way into contention with massive victories over Batley and Halifax in the weeks previous, and they looked to have hit form at the right time.

And from the minute the game kicked off, there only looked to be one winner. Featherstone were confident and determined, while Bradford looked fragile.

In the end, Featherstone ran out comfortable winners, inexplicably meaning the Bulls missed out on a spot in the top four of the second-tier, under two years since they had been relegated from Super League.

2: Wakefield 62-0 Wigan
April 10th

Jacob Miller scored three tries in the rout
Jacob Miller scored three tries in the rout

The type of result that you simply could not believe was true.

Six months earlier, Wigan had just lost in the Grand Final, while the Wildcats had clawed their way to Super League safety in the Million Pound Game.

Things had, however, changed. Wakefield, by this point under Chris Chester, were on a role, while Wigan had yet to hit their stride despite results being OK.

However, what happened on this April afternoon was simply unfathomable, unexplainable and well and truly shocking.

An 11-try annihilation saw the Wildcats embarrass the Warriors. This wasn’t just any club, any team. It was the mighty Wigan Warriors, the most illustrious club in Britain, and they were hammered by Wakefield.

Illness had depleted Wigan’s squad, in fairness, but nine of the players that did feature that day ended up playing in a team that won at Old Trafford six months later.

1: Hull KR 22-36 Oldham
April 16th

Oldham celebration CHKR-A(CC5)-DM

In perhaps the biggest Challenge Cup upset of all time, part-time minnows Oldham shocked Super League mainstays Hull Kingston Rovers.

In hindsight, this was a result that got nowhere near enough coverage. Forget the biggest upset of the season, it’s up there as the biggest of the millennium, perhaps even the last 40 years.

It is not unheard of for Championship clubs to defeat their Super League counterparts in the cup, albeit, it is incredibly rare.
It’s not even like the Roughyeds were a top end team in the competition, either. They were in the pack at the bottom of the league following promotion the year earlier and had yet to win away from home.

However, they managed to shock the Rugby League world with a simply unbelievable victory at the Lightstream stadium, defeating a side with a budget approximately ten times bigger than their own.

Tries for Will Hope, Richard Lepori, Steve Roper and Adam Clay gave them a 24-6 lead, and Rovers never got close to bringing the game back, as two further Oldham tries gave them a comfortable victory.

Incredibly, it was Oldham’s first away win of the year and ended up being one of just three victories on their travels in 2016.