2011 - Top 12 Shocks of the season - domestic competition

- Super League:

22nd April: Crusaders 32-6 Huddersfield Giants

As in result #4 below, Huddersfield, the league-leaders at the time, dropped two points where they really should have been posting a decent score against the league's bottom side.

It didn't help that the kick-off was delayed as the Giants got stuck in Easter holiday traffic (on its way to Wrexham?!), but they never seemed to get going, and the Welshmen charged out to a twenty-point half-time lead. The second half was closer, but the Giants, after an early Brough try, still failed to make inroads, and finally succumbed.

#2 - Championship 1:

29th May: London Skolars 44-22 Rochdale Hornets

This was a stunning first victory of the season for the Londoners against promotion-candidates Rochdale. The match was in the balance until well after the hour mark when an Aggrey try brought the Skolars level at 22-22, and the home side had to defend stolidly to hold out an increasingly desperate Hornets outfit.

Weathering the storm was one thing, but a Skee try on 67 minutes gave London some breathing-space, and a couple of late scores put the cherry on top.

If that wasn't enough, the Aussie Dylan Skee also broke the club's professional scoring record with two tries and eight goals.


#3 - NRL:

26th March: Penrith Panthers 12-44 Cronulla Sharks

A Penrith team failing to live up to the previous season's promise ran into a Cronulla side looking to build on a good win the previous week, with messy results.

The Panthers never really got going, and a half-hour spell either side of half-time saw them destroyed by a Sharks side on top of their game. Ultimately, the season fizzled out for both outfits, Cronulla fans may have been more surprised by that outcome after this match.


#4 - Super League:

17th July: Bradford Bulls 36-0 Huddersfield Giants

Huddersfield's title credentials took a huge knock here as they collapsed in the first half for the second game in a row. For all their strong showings of the last couple of seasons, the Giants kept losing games against teams like the Bulls who they should have been beating to justify their place at the top-end of the table.

A bigger squad and a couple of top-notch players needed for further progress.


#5 - Super League:

8th April: Wigan Warriors 28-47 Catalans Dragons

After beating Warrington at home a week earlier, the Dragons proved that they were in fine fettle with this impressive thrashing of the title favourites at the DW. The return of Pat Richards for the home side was not enough as Catalans ran in five first-half tries in reply to an early Sam Tomkins score.

The second half was no better, and after three further Catalans tries, Wigan staged a late rally as the Dragons relaxed, which only served to make the final score slightly less embarrassing.


#6 - Championship:

22nd April: York City Knights 12-50 Hunslet Hawks

York were under-strength for this league clash, and that, combined with an apparently unfriendly referee (some may say that York didn't help themselves, and the Hawks didn't give anything away) left York to contemplate life at the bottom of the table. Hunslet, after drawing the previous meeting between the sides, were pretty pleased with this result.


#7 - back to Oz:

10th June: St George Illawarra 14-28 Gold Coast Titans

A home match for the Dragons against the Gold Coast easy-beats, but as with shock #10, the better team was missing a stack of first-teamers. This time however, they weren't being rested, they were flogging themselves round the State of Origin circuit. Great for the NRL, not really fair to skew the competition though is it? Star players will always be torn I suspect...


#8 - hello Championship 1:

27th March: Oldham Roughyeds 24-68 Swinton Lions

A sort of derby match here on a boggy early-Spring pitch. Oldham had hopes of repeating the previous season's home triumph against these opponents, and after Lucas Onyango nearly put them 16-nil in front in the first quarter of the game, these hopes were looking pretty realistic. Turns out that Swinton's slow-starting reputation was well-earned, and with the home side struggling with injuries, they got their act together and turned things around. Twelve tries later, what a turn-around! An early indication of how much of a handful the Lions were to be in 2011.


#9 - now the first visit to the Super League:

25th April: Warrington Wolves 10-24 Hull FC

The Easter weekend did for Warrington in this game. Or did it? Three days earlier, they hammered Salford, Hull came through a local derby against Rovers. Surely after such a battle, Hull would be underdogs then? So it looked as the Wolves took a 10-0 lead inside the first quarter hour. However, Craig Fitzgibbon and Tom Briscoe between them took control of the game, and with a brace of tries for Kirk Yeaman added into the mix, Hull came out smiling as the teams trooped off to the baths. (Do modern RL clubs have baths these days? Ed.)


#10 - the first visit to the NRL:

4th September: Sydney Roosters 40-8 Melbourne Storm

Not such an exciting result as the statistics make it. This was a dead rubber at the end of the regular season: Storm has secured the Minor Premiership and were resting players, Sydney were out of the running and took advantage to finish on a high. In the end, Melbourne didn't have the momentum to take it through to the Grand Final - is it better to have footy every week during the finals series?


#11 - Another game from the Championship:

6th June: Leigh Centurions 16-36 Halifax

Halifax were on an indifferent run, Leigh were in excellent form and had been scoring a lot of points in recent weeks. That all counted for nothing though when Halifax came out and blew Leigh away with a brilliant display of attacking rugby. Six first-half tries took them to a lead of 32-6, and the result was never in doubt from then on. The second half was much closer, but after weathering an early onslaught, Halifax kept control and could afford to relax late on which cost them a couple of consolation tries.


Counting up from the least shocking of the shocks, we'll start at #12:

21st August: Hunslet Hawks 42-12 Barrow Raiders

Hunslet came into this game on a horrific 12-match losing run, Barrow were hanging on to the coat-tails of the leading pack in the division, although injuries caused a reshuffling of the team. It was a tight game until late in the first half, at which point Hunslet began to run all over the Raiders - they opened up a 26-0 lead at half-time. The second half was a much closer affair, but Hunslet eased to the victory and assured their place in the division for 2012.


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