Mick Potter, the St Helens coach, predicted a bright future for Shaun Magennis after his side's 32-18 Super League victory over Harlequins yesterday. Paul Wellens and Francis Meli each scored two tries for the Saints in their final Sunday match at Knowsley Road. They will play their home matches at Widnes next season while their new ground is being built.
Magennis, 20, notched a try on his full debut. The Saints' other touchdown came from Chris Dean. Said Potter: "Shaun is a player for the future. He has had a hard 18 months with a knee problem but showed he can mix it up in Super League." Potter wasn't over-impressed with his side's patchy performance. "It was a mixed bag," he said. "There were errors from both teams but it was a competitive match for the crowd.
"We were our own worst enemy at times." Dean Widders grabbed two tries in a five-minute spell to help Castleford leapfrog Wakefield, their visiting neighbours, into the top eight with a crucial 40-16 victory in an entertaining derby. With Bradford failing to halt their losing run, the Tigers are now in pole position to claim the final play-off spot and, more importantly, improve their prospects of a new Super League licence for 2012 at the expense of their arch-rivals.
Bradford began the post-Steve McNamara era with their eighth league defeat in a row as fellow stragglers Salford took a 30-26 victory away from Grattan Stadium. That dreadful record becomes nine successive defeats, including the Bulls' Carnegie Challenge Cup loss to Warrington. Jodie Broughton, Ste Tyrer and Ashley Gibson all crossed for the Reds, while Steve Menzies and the newcomer Vinny Finnigan responded for the Bulls who trailed by 10 points at the interval.
Braith Anasta, the Sydney Roosters captain, admits his 200th NRL game at times felt like a "nightmare" as his side overcame a spate of controversial calls to defeat Canterbury 36-32 at the Sydney Football Stadium yesterday. In an afternoon classic unfortunately overshadowed by refereeing controversies, a 75th-minute try to Mitch Aubusson completed a comeback from the Roosters. Anasta's side had been down 30-18 early in the second half after a dubious forward-pass call had led to a Luke Patten try, one of several decisions to go against the home skipper.
But the Roosters scored the last three tries to send a crowd of 19,121, which had been livid for much of the game, into raptures. For Canberra, meanwhile, it was pure delight, but the taste of a 52-16 defeat was nothing but disgusting for Rick Stone, the Newcastle coach. The Raiders, inspired by a hat-trick from recently re-signed Josh Dugan, kept alive their NRL finals hopes with the big win at Canberra Stadium yesterday.
But it was a miserable afternoon for Stone and his Knights, with Dugan's first try coming on the back of an unlikely kick from David Shillington, the prop, before the Raiders scorched their way to a 40-0 half-time lead. Stone was devastating in his analysis of the Knights effort. "This is disgusting and it's not what we want to stand for," Stone said. "It just has a real bad smell and a weak underbelly about it."
The loss drives Newcastle's for-and-against deep into the red as the competition for a top-eight spot tightens. * Agencies