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Rugby League: Richards decisive for title-chasing Warriors

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A bloodied and bandaged Pat Richards refused to acknowledge Wigan Warriors as favourites to win Super League despite helping them beat reigning champions Leeds Rhinos in a bruising Magic Weekend encounter.

New South Wales-born Richards helped himself to 12 individual points as the Warriors remained at the top of the table with a 20-16 victory at the Etihad Stadium.

The former Wests Tigers star was forced off the field on numerous occasions towards the end of the game with blood pouring from a cut to his eye, and he was unable to take a late penalty kick, though ultimately it didn't prove decisive - much to his relief.

"I was a bit miffed with the referee telling me to go off and get it cleared up but it feels alright and it is just good to get a win," said the 31-year-old.

"I didn't know what was going on. He told me to go off and get it cleared up but the other official had said I was alright. It didn't cost us in the end and it is good to finish off Magic Weekend with a win.

"It is a really tough 27 rounds and to finish top is a big milestone. Everything is geared towards the Grand Final but finishing top will stand you in good stead.

"I don't see ourselves as favourites - we are just doing our job week in week out. At the start of the year people said we would finish about sixth so it doesn't bother us where people think we are going to finish, we will just keep working hard and see where we go."

On Saturday, a controversial end to the Hull derby left Hull KR coach Craig Sandercock demanding an apology from video referee Steve Ganson, who failed to sport Chris Green had come from an offside position to score his decisive late try for Hull FC.

"It's a tragedy," said the Australian, whose side went down 22-16 to their fierce rivals. "We replayed it on our computer upstairs and I was yelling instructions to work for a field goal because the bloke was five metres offside.

"I'd be very disappointed if the video referee doesn't publically come out and apologise to the supporters and players because the decision was wrong full stop."

Meanwhile, Australia prop Justin Carney helped Castleford Tigers beat Wakefield Wildcats 49-24, and was pleased with their dominance throughout.

"The boys performed really well, it was a good experience and hopefully I'll get to do it again" said Carney, who joined from Sydney Roosters.

"We just put everything we practise out there and we've still got a lot of improvements left in us which is very pleasing. We've still got a lot of work to do so we'll keep on working hard through the year."

And there was an impressive return to action from Scott Dureau after five months out following surgery to remove a tumour behind his eye, as he scored a try to lift Catalan Dragons to a 46-18 win over London Broncos.

"I was worried I might not play again," said the former Newcastle star. "I didn't really know what my future held at first, whether I would survive the next week let alone play football again."

str/cw

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130526/rugby-league-richards-decisive-title-chasing-warriors