Hull FC and Castleford Tigers kicked off yet another blockbusting weekend of Rugby League action on Thursday night, and attention will now turn to the rest of the clubs in action – across the Super League and the Kingstone Press Championships.
There’s plenty to be played for – with a couple of big results potentially in the pipeline should things go a certain way. But amidst all the madness, what exactly can we expect from this Rugby League weekend that is now well and truly upon us? Let’s have a look. Incidentally, last week we gave you our five things to expect – and we got four spot on! Why would you follow anyone else’s predictions?
1. A relegation in the Championship
This will come as no surprise for aficionados of the Kingstone Press Championship, but we’re about to see our first relegation from that division this weekend. The situation for Barrow Raiders is looking bleak; and the permutations required for them to beat the drop are horrific. They must win their last six games – hope Whitehaven lose all theirs – and overhaul a 200-point swing in the meantime. Not good. So we’ll likely wave goodbye to the Raiders this weekend, but you can bet Bobbie Goulding’s men will be back in 2015 to have a tilt at Championship One.
2. Wakefield’s play-off dream to fade away
It’s been a real renaissance run for Wakefield under new coach James Webster – but that came crashing to a halt last week in the South of France when they were thumped by Catalan Dragons. That’s left the Wildcats chasing the pack for a spot in the top eight, and it looks a real tough ask for Webster’s men to make the cut. A win against Warrington this week seems somewhat imperative if they are to keep their hopes alive – but with the Wolves smarting after defeat to Widnes last Friday, expect Tony Smith’s men to respond in some style.
3. London’s first victory
If we say it enough times in this column, it’s simply bound to come true one day – or so you would think. It’s 0-21 for London, and they have six games left to ensure they’re not the first Super League side to go a whole season without winning a single game. That’s some feat, and Joey Grima will have his troops well motivated to ensure that doesn’t happen. With Hull KR the visitors to the capital this weekend, could this be the match London snap their horrible run? It certainly seems possible – with the Broncos playing without fear of relegation (given how it’s already been confirmed), they could spring a surprise.
4. Featherstone to slip out of second spot
The race for the coveted second spot in the Championship is well and truly alive, with just two points seperating three teams. Featherstone, Doncaster and Halifax are all in pursuit of the spot that notoriously provides more prize money, and we could see a pivotal weekend of action. Featherstone are up in Cumbria against Whitehaven, and Donny and Fax have seemingly easier fixtures. With Fax at struggling Swinton and Doncaster at relegation-threatened Keighley, could we see a new side in second by Sunday evening?
5. Salford to keep their dream alive
If Widnes slip up at table-topping St Helens on Friday night, it well and truly opens the door for the chasing pack to pounce once again. And after yet another win last weekend, the team that looks most capable of catching the Vikings has to be Salford. Iestyn Harris has got his troops well and truly ticking over the last few weeks, but they are up against stiff opposition on Friday themselves. Leeds are the visitors to the AJ Bell Stadium, but without Kevin Sinfield, could they come unstuck?