Friday night’s Sky television match had all the makings of a bore-fest thrashing, for the first hour of the game at least.
St Helens were comfortably in control of Catalan Dragons at their new Langtree Park Stadium when they suddenly switched off.
From being 20-8 down at half time, Catalan were allowed back into the match as Daryl Millard managed to touchdown on the final play of the game to steal the two Super League points.
And what a try it was!
On the night when Sky Sport’s Jon Wells announced the nominations for February’s Irn Bru Try Award, it seems next months’ award could already be a foregone conclusion.
Gary Wheeler’s interception try looked to have secured the win for Saints giving the home side an eight point lead with less than ten minutes to play.
Having dragged the deficit to within four points, Catalan had less than a minute from the Saints drop out to level the scores.
From Scott Dureau’s kick to the in-goal, Catalan threw the ball around on the Saints try line before finding the gap in the same corner they started the play from.
The try gave supporters a sense of déjà vu from 2000 when St Helens snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Bradford in a competitive play off match.
Chris Joynt’s try in that play off match in September was, at the time, easily the best try ever seen in the Super League era.
But some supporters and coaches in the game are insisting Millard’s try was better.
On Twitter John Stankevitc, a former St Helens player wrote: “That was better than the ‘wide to West’ try, and I played in that game. Outstanding try.”
Internet message boards were littered with fans saying it was the best try they had ever seen, and Love Rugby League’s Facebook page was inundated with supporters of the game praising the Catalan attack.
Adam Coucom agreed with Stankevitch, and wrote: “Better than the famous wide to West to Joynt try for me.”
Billy Lawless wrote: “Best try I have ever seen in Super League. Pure awesome.”
So which was better?
Like a pretty women, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I personally wouldn’t mind taking Karen Gillan from Doctor Who out to dinner (and then back to hers!), yet I know others who wouldn’t touch her with a ten foot pole but at the same time ogle over Radio 1 DJ Fern Cotton. Bizarre!
So with that thought in mind, there are several reasons why I believe Chris Joynt’s try remains the best Super League try of all time.
Joynt’s try started with a Paul Sculthorpe play-the-ball 25 metres from Saints’ own try line. That means they had approximately 75 metres to make up if they were going to win the match.
On top of that, Sean Long’s kick towards his own try line for Kevin Iro meant at one point during the play Saints were 15 metres from their try line!
Saints themselves threw the ball around on their right wing before passing back to Sean Long, who found Dwaine West in space on the left side of the field. West’s pace was enough to beat his opposite number, and after a 30 metre dash he found Chris Joynt in support to finish the try.
The try came from nothing. Saints had no plan that night as to what will happen if they are caught 75 metres short with less than ten seconds on the clock to win the match.
In contrast to the Millard try, you could sense Catalan had all the momentum. They were given the ball from a goal line drop out in the final minute, and were even awarded a penalty from James Child.
The pendulum had swung naturally in Catalan’s favour that night. Saints had to force the match their way.
I still firmly believe Joynt’s try is the best try rugby league, never mind Super League, has ever seen. Even the late, great Brian Bevan couldn’t have produced anything like that.
See for yourself which is better. We want to hear your views!
Chris Joynt v Bradford, September 2000.
Daryl Millard v St Helens, February 2012.