Warrington’s comeback victory over Salford featured a possibly unique feat – two eight-point tries.
Coming across one in a game is a rarity, but Warrington were awarded two in the second half of their 36-20 victory over the Red Devils.
It’s unlikely that statistics exist to definitively confirm that two have ever happened in the same game, though it doesn’t seem anyone has yet found an example of it occurring before.
Warrington’s first eight-point try – which actually turned out not to be worth eight points anyway – was awarded when Tyler Dupree made contact with Josh Thewlis in the act of scoring.
WARRINGTON HAVE TURNED THE MATCH AROUND! 💪 pic.twitter.com/YycTpJUoF3
— Sky Sports Rugby League (@SkySportsRL) March 2, 2023
Thewlis had caught a pinpoint kick from George Williams and brought it round to slide over, but as he did so Dupree slid in on his knees prompting an angry reaction from the Wolves winger.
The try levelled the scores at 20-all, and though Stefan Ratchford missed the relatively routine conversion attempt, he did tag on the two-point penalty from in front of the posts to make the eight-point try worth six points.
Thewlis has now had eight-point tries awarded to him in successive seasons, having also scored one against Huddersfield in April 2022.
Warrington’s second eight point try on the night came towards the end of the game, with Kallum Watkins punished for catching Matt Dufty high as the Australian dived over to score. Ratchford did ensure that it was worth eight points this time, adding the conversion and the penalty goal.
What is an eight-point try?
In the laws of the game, an eight-point try is described as an offence against a try scorer.
It is defined as follows: “If a player fouls an opponent who is touching down for a try, a penalty kick at goal shall be taken from in front of the goal posts after the attempt to convert the try. After his kick has been taken the ball shall be deemed dead and play shall be restarted from the halfway line. This law applies to the period during which the ball is touched down for a try and not to any subsequent period.”
What’s the difference between an eight-point try and a penalty try?
Fans were quick to point to the penalty try awarded to Castleford last weekend in their home defeat to St Helens.
Jack Broadbent was awarded a try in the corner after being taken out with a high shot by St Helens full-back Jack Welsby.
In that instance, Broadbent didn’t actually touch down to score the try. It was judged that he would have scored had he not been fouled, hence the awarding of a penalty try.
A penalty try can only be worth six points – four for the try itself, and then two for the conversion which takes place under the posts.
Whereas for an eight-point try, a team can earn four for the try, two for the subsequent conversion and then a further two from an additional kick in front of the posts.
The laws of the game describe a penalty try as “the Referee may award a penalty try if, in his opinion, a try would have been scored but for the unfair play of the defending team. A penalty try is awarded between the goal posts irrespective of where the offence occurred.”
Should the eight-point try be renamed?
Ratchford’s conversion miss prompted a debate over the naming of an eight-point try – although that name doesn’t appear to be mentioned in the laws of the game anyway.
Forty-20 live tweeted: “There needs to be a better name for an “Eight Point Try” as those full eight points aren’t guaranteed”
Perhaps Neil Ormston, of the Rugby League Record Keepers Club, suggestion of keeping it simple with “Try & Penalty” would be the best course of action.
What was said about Warrington’s eight point tries
There was some debate over the second eight-point try on the night in particular, with many pointing out how low Dufty was when Watkins made contact and that it wasn’t a deliberate act.
🍿 Watch the highlights from last night's big comeback win over the Red Devils pic.twitter.com/oK6XOvdKe3
— Warrington Wolves (@WarringtonRLFC) March 3, 2023
Former Super League referee Richard Silverwood tweeted: “Harsh 8 point for me. Dupree can pull out and needless. Watkins is trying to make a tackle and Dufty is nearly on the floor. Yes he catches him but for me it should be deliberate foul play not accidental.”
Warrington coach Daryl Powell, perhaps unsurprisingly, agreed with both calls: “If you dive in with your knees in the act of scoring it’s a foul, so is clouting someone in the chops so I don’t think they can have any arguments with that.”
Warrington Guardian reporter Matt Turner said: “I can’t recall seeing two eight-point tries in total in my seven years reporting on this club, never mind two in one game! The first one I think is more clear-cut as it’s not great from Dupree – you can’t go sliding in knees first and expect to get away with it – but the second one is harsh for me.”
For me, Silverwood’s analysis of the incidents appears to be about right – ultimately it didn’t matter in terms of the outcome of the game.