Five things to watch out for in the Championship this week
1. Rochdale face their biggest test yet
Very few people would have predicted Rochdale to be anywhere near the top of the Championship after two rounds. Nevertheless, they currently perch at the top of the ladder following two stunning victories over Dewsbury and Bradford.
Now, they face they biggest challenge to date.
Hull Kingston Rovers have also won their opening two games of the season, and they are the visitors to The Crown Oil Arena for the battle between the competition’s top two teams.
Tim Sheens’ side will go into the match as huge favourites, but Rochdale have already defied the odds this season, and they won’t be afraid to do it again.
2. Brambani set for career milestone
He is one of the most well-respected and renowned players in the competition, and on Sunday, he could reach an impressive landmark in his career.
Dom Brambani will make his 300th career appearance if he plays in Batley’s game against West Yorkshire rivals Featherstone, in what is another tough game for Batley at the start of the season.
During spells with Castleford, Halifax, Sheffield and Batley among others, The 31-year-old has carved out a career that many would be proud of. He still has aspirations to achieve more with Batley, who are looking for back-to-back wins under Matt Diskin after defeating Halifax last week.
3. Will Halifax’s terrible run of form continue?
It has been an utterly miserable six months if you’re a Halifax supporter.
Since the beginning of July, Halifax have lost 10 of their last 13 matches in competitive action, including back-to-back defeats at the start of 2017.
Richard Marshall’s men have been out of sorts for a while now, and it gets no easier this weekend as they take on Sheffield, who they have lost to twice in their current slump.
Local boy Adam O’Brien has been drafted in to boost their chances, but will it be enough?
4. Can Bradford get off the mark?
The Bulls are yet to win a game since the club’s reformation, but they get a chance to put that right when they take on Swinton at the weekend.
With Bradford still 12 points adrift of their nearest counterparts, the pressure is on them to start cutting the deficit before it’s too late.
Doing so against Swinton won’t be easy after they pushed London and defeated Dewsbury on their own patch, but the Bulls will enter the game with confidence.
5. Was Toulouse’s defeat to Sheffield a shock or a reality check?
Toulouse’s results in their opening two games this season have raised eyebrows for separate reasons.
The manner in which they dismantled Batley came as a complete surprise, but so did their comfortable defeat at the hands of Sheffield.
It leaves the Championship still somewhat in the dark about their credentials. Saturday’s game with winless Dewsbury might give us all a more clear indication.
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