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Category: Rugby league

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Castleford secure first league title after overpowering Wakefield

• Castleford 45-20 Wakefield

For Castleford, this was a night many of their supporters – and players – may have thought would never materialise. Many have attempted to devalue the importance of the League Leaders’ Shield as Castleford closed in on the prize in recent weeks, but as the gates were locked at this famous old ground just before kick-off, it would have taken a brave man to try to suggest it meant nothing for a town where rugby league is everything.

Related: Castleford’s Daryl Powell: winning league bigger then Grand Final victory

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Castleford’s Daryl Powell: winning league bigger then Grand Final victory

• Castleford on verge of winning League Leaders’ Shield for first time
• Coach believes feat is better than Grand Final or Challenge Cup win

The Castleford coach, Daryl Powell, has insisted the League Leaders’ Shield is the biggest prize available in rugby league as his side close in on winning it for the first time.

Castleford have never finished top of rugby league’s first division in their 91-year history, a record they will lay to rest on Thursday night should they avoid defeat against local rivals Wakefield.

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Castleford’s Daryl Powell: winning league bigger then Grand Final victory

• Castleford on verge of winning League Leaders’ Shield for first time
• Coach believes feat is better than Grand Final or Challenge Cup win

The Castleford coach, Daryl Powell, has insisted the League Leaders’ Shield is the biggest prize available in rugby league as his side close in on winning it for the first time.

Castleford have never finished top of rugby league’s first division in their 91-year history, a record they will lay to rest on Thursday night should they avoid defeat against local rivals Wakefield.

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Clash of the Titans: Jarryd Hayne and Neil Henry on collision course from outset | Nick Tedeschi

The acrimony on the Gold Coast is about team culture and the roles of stars in it. It is a battle neither the coach nor the player will winIf a single word was to define the 2017 rugby league season, it is the term culture. It permeated the State of Or…

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Shaun Lunt double sinks Leigh to keep Hull KR on track for Super League return

• Leigh 16-20 Hull KR
• Captain seals victory with late try after Leigh dominate early on

Hull Kingston Rovers took a significant step towards an instant return to Super League next season by maintaining their unbeaten start to the Qualifiers with victory over Leigh Centurions.

The Robins, widely expected to be the side most capable of achieving promotion from the Championship this season, will probably need to win only three of their remaining five games after two tries from their captain, Shaun Lunt, laid the platform for victory here.

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Jacob Miller shines as Wakefield wizards turn on style against Leeds

• Wakefield 38-6 Leeds
• Trinity move into play-off places after six-try rout of Rhinos

It is perhaps typical of this Wakefield side that when their backs are firmly against the wall, and the critics are at their most vociferous, they produce the kind of performance which suggests this most incredible of seasons is not in danger of ending any time soon.

Related: Rugby league: Wakefield suspend Adam Walker after positive drug test

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St Helens’ Matty Smith: ‘The doctors told me I was lucky not to lose my sight’ | Aaron Bower

The scrum-half’s Super League club are in the play-offs but he is just happy to be playing again after a poke in the eye left him sitting in the changing room with ‘people trying to do all sorts to stem the blood’

As the doctors hurried around Matty Smith and the ambulance was being prepared to take him to Leeds General infirmary, what at first seemed like a minor moment of frustration quickly transformed into a potentially life-changing situation. Rugby players are renowned for being tough and, thankfully, Smith is now able to raise a smile when he is reminded that what was nothing more than a stray poke in the eye from a St Helens team-mate almost cost him much more than a few weeks on the sidelines.

A little over four weeks ago, Smith was hit with a stray hand from Jon Wilkin during a game against Leeds. At first it seemed innocuous enough but the severity of the situation became apparent quickly as blood began to pour from his left eye. “At the time, I wasn’t sure the eyeball was still in the socket,” Smith says with a grin on his face.

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Scruton’s late try completes Hull KR fightback against brave Halifax

• Hull KR 26-22 Halifax
• Championship winners overcome 22-14 deficit in Qualifiers opener

Hull Kingston Rovers survived a scare to edge Halifax in a thrilling Super 8s Qualifiers opener. Ben Heaton put Halifax in command with four tries but Hull KR turned around a 22-14 deficit to make a winning start in their bid for an immediate return to Super League.

The result may not rank as a shock, with the side who were third in the Championship beaten by the team who finished top, but the difference between the two clubs is stark.

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Rugby League round-up: Wakefield suspend Adam Walker after positive drug test

• Wakefield Trinity prop fails drugs test for cocaine
• Stevie Ward scores hat-trick for Leeds against Wigan

Wakefield’s Adam Walker has been suspended after testing positive for cocaine. The 26-year-old prop failed a drugs test after the Betfred Super League win at Widnes on 14 July.

A statement from the club read: “Wakefield Trinity received notification from UK Anti-Doping and the Rugby Football League today that Adam Walker tested positively for cocaine in a drugs test, following the recent fixture against Widnes Vikings.”

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Rugby League round-up: Wakefield suspend Adam Walker after positive drug test

• Wakefield Trinity prop fails drugs test for cocaine
• Stevie Ward scores hat-trick for Leeds against Wigan

Wakefield’s Adam Walker has been suspended after testing positive for cocaine. The 26-year-old prop failed a drugs test after the Betfred Super League win at Widnes on 14 July.

A statement from the club read: “Wakefield Trinity received notification from UK Anti-Doping and the Rugby Football League today that Adam Walker tested positively for cocaine in a drugs test, following the recent fixture against Widnes Vikings.”

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Widnes suspend Rangi Chase after positive test for cocaine

• Chase to miss opening Qualifiers home match with Warrington
• St Helens produce masterclass to shock Castleford 26-12 in Super 8s

Rangi Chase, the former England international and man of steel winner, has been suspended by Widnes after testing positive for cocaine.

Related: Widnes Vikings face move out of rugby league heartland if club is sold

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Wigan hold off Salford to secure Challenge Cup final date with Hull

• Wigan 27-14 Salford
• Wembley showdown will be repeat of 2013 final

Lee Radford has got his wish. The Hull coach will have a chance to right the wrongs of the 2013 Challenge Cup final when Wigan were supreme in a 16-0 triumph, after the Warriors battled past Salford on Sunday to set up a rematch of four years ago.

For Hull, the prize is back-to-back Challenge Cups for the first time in their history, but Wigan are now just one win away from a 20th success in the competition. Shaun Wane, the Warriors’ coach, said: “We’ll need to improve ahead of the final. On our day, though, we can challenge anyone.”

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Holders Hull crush Leeds 43-24 to set up Challenge Cup final return

• Hull FC 43-24 Leeds
• Last year’s winners to face Wigan or Salford

The enormity of what Hull FC achieved in lifting the Challenge Cup underneath the Wembley arches last year is unlikely to be forgotten any time soon – but it is increasingly clear that they are in no mood to relinquish their grip on rugby league’s most famous prize.

Hull’s first triumph at Wembley 12 months ago felt like the start of something special for the Black and Whites, and, of late, the talk by the banks of the Humber has been about how proving that was not a one-off, but instead the start of something special. A dynasty, for want of a better word.

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Wembley tears of triumph inspire Hull hero Houghton before Leeds semi-final

Challenge Cup holders’ hooker says the win ‘will never be forgotten’ in Hull and the emotional memories are driving his team’s attempt to repeat the feat

“You’re still asked about it everywhere you go round here – I don’t think it’ll ever be forgotten,” laughs Hull’s Danny Houghton when questioned about his memories of 27 August 2016. To one half of a city that is addicted to rugby league, it was a day many – including Houghton – thought would never arrive.

Related: Super League to stage Wigan v Hull regular season match in Australia

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Super League to stage Wigan v Hull regular season match in Australia

• Match will take place in February 2018 in Wollongong
• Super League-NRL double header will also be staged

Super League will host a match outside Europe for the first time in February 2018 when Wigan and Hull will play a regular season fixture in Australia.

The Warriors, who are understood to have forfeited a home game to facilitate the move, will face Hull at the WIN Stadium in Wollongong on Saturday 10 February, before travelling to Sydney to complete a three-match tour.

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‘A real gentleman’: Raiders team-mates stand up for banned Sia Soliola

  • Soliola handed five-week suspension after high shot knocked out Billy Slater
  • Junior Paulo says fellow Canberra player will learn from time on sidelines

Canberra’s Junior Paulo has described team-mate Sia Soliola as a “real gentleman” who will learn from his five-week NRL suspension for knocking out Melbourne’s Billy Slater.

Related: Losing control: outrage at non-send off highlights core problem with NRL referees | Nick Tedeschi

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Losing control: outrage at non-send off highlights core problem with NRL referees | Nick Tedeschi

As long as there have been referees, there have been complaints about them but it is apparent the head official no longer controls on-field action

To label the standard of current NRL refereeing a crisis would be to undersell through cliché just how damaging poor officiating has been to rugby league – the standard at which officials are operating is having a more negative impact than nearly anything else in the sport.

Getting universal agreement on any matter in rugby league is about as likely as spotting the Loch Ness monster in Sydney Harbour but almost to a man there was agreement that Sia Soliola should have been sent off for his tackle that was both late and high, and left Billy Slater splayed motionless on the Canberra Stadium turf.

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Castleford move closer to title thanks to Jy Hitchcox against Catalans

• Catalans 24-32 Castleford
• Tigers close to winning League Leaders’ Shield

Two Jy Hitchcox tries secured a 20th regular season win for the Castleford Tigers as they defeated Catalans Dragons in Perpignan and all but confirmed the Super League leaders a semi-final place in the end of season play-offs, even before the Super 8s start this week. They will need a maximum of two wins from the seven games to secure the League Leaders’ Shield.

The Tigers scored two late tries to secure the victory despite being down to 11 men at one point in the second half following the yellow cards for Kevin Larroyer (unsportsmanlike behaviour) and Mike McMeeken (holding down in the tackle).

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Michael McIlorum leads way as Wigan show inexperienced Leeds no mercy

• Wigan 34-0 Leeds
• Oliver Gildart also runs in two tries as Wigan score seven without reply

“It was a no-win situation,” said the Wigan coach, Shaun Wane, of the scenario his side were presented with during this convincing victory: and while he may well be correct, it will not be entirely until a week’s time whether both sides’ preparation for a peculiar evening pays off with a trip to Wembley in August.

For Wigan this was a much-needed victory to build some confidence and form before their Challenge Cup semi-final with Salford next weekend. A side close to Wane’s strongest possible line-up proved too good for Leeds and, in what has been a chastening season for the reigning Super League champions, there will at least be some satisfaction they won with such ease.

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Michael McIlorum leads way as Wigan show inexperienced Leeds no mercy

• Wigan 34-0 Leeds
• Oliver Gildart also runs in two tries as Wigan score seven without reply

“It was a no-win situation,” said the Wigan coach, Shaun Wane, of the scenario his side were presented with during this convincing victory: and while he may well be correct, it will not be entirely until a week’s time whether both sides’ preparation for a peculiar evening pays off with a trip to Wembley in August.

For Wigan this was a much-needed victory to build some confidence and form before their Challenge Cup semi-final with Salford next weekend. A side close to Wane’s strongest possible line-up proved too good for Leeds and, in what has been a chastening season for the reigning Super League champions, there will at least be some satisfaction they won with such ease.

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