FINAL FRIDAY: The permutations for League Leaders Shield glory

After St Helens’ failure to beat Warrington on Thursday night, the race for the Super League top spot and the League Leaders’ Shield will be decided between three teams – all of whom are playing tonight.

West Yorkshire rivals Leeds and Huddersfield will do battle at the John Smith’s Stadium, whilst Wigan know a win for Huddersfield could open the door for them to clinch the LLS in 2015.

But with three teams all needing different results and a helicopter on standby to ferry the shield to whomever wins, what are the permutations?

Leeds Rhinos: 1st
For Challenge Cup winners Leeds, the equation is fairly simple if they’re to clinch a second trophy in 2015 tonight. The task for the Rhinos involves winning at Huddersfield, and everything else happening is simply irrelevant. However, with three straight losses since Wembley, and travelling to a ground where they’ve not won any of their last five, the task is perhaps harder than suspected. But their significant points difference means a win, and they’re top. A draw would at least guarantee Leeds a home semi-final, but would give Wigan a chance of overhauling them at the top.

Wigan Warriors: 2nd
Wigan’s first priority is to secure a home semi-final, and they can do that by beating Castleford and ensuring that no matter what happens at Huddersfield, they’ll be at home in the semis no matter what (as TotalRL understands, that semi-final will be Thursday regardless). However, should Leeds slip up at Huddersfield, a win for Wigan gives them the League Leaders Shield, and ensues a mad dash to get the trophy to the DW Stadium. A draw might be enough to secure a top-two spot if Leeds win at Huddersfield, but a loss for the Warriors and a Huddersfield win would ensure Wigan are on the road in the semi-finals, visiting Leeds.

Huddersfield Giants: 3rd
Such is the narrow difference in points difference (three points) between Wigan and Huddersfield, the battle between those two sides is fascinating. Huddersfield will clinch top spot if Wigan fail to win at home to Castleford and the Giants beat Leeds (by four points or more if Wigan draw). A win would guarantee them a home semi-final too, owing to the fact they will overthrow at least Leeds in the top two. Giants fans need not worry about slipping back into fourth; they would have to lose to Leeds by 79 points or more for that to happen.

Hopefully that clears it up!