1. Halifax haven’t got over last year’s troubles
It’s been a miserable six months for Halifax. After a late collapse saw them miss out on the Qualifiers, they stuttered through the Championship Shield and didn’t even make the final.
Financial issues followed off the field, and on it, the same shortcomings are apparent.
Too many penalties and too many errors continue to cost them games, and they’re already playing catch up in the race for the top four.
They have now lost 12 of their last 15 games, and they need to recapture their form from last summer to stand a chance this year.
2. The challenge ahead of Bradford is bigger than some may have anticipated
Many will have looked at Bradford’s game at home to Rochdale as the perfect way to start cutting the deficit between themselves and the rest of the Championship.
That, however, was a naive outlook. Rochdale defeated the Bulls to remain top of the Championship, and Bradford remain on minus 12 points.
The Championship is an incredibly talented competition, contrary to the wider beliefs of the Rugby League community, and Rochdale’s victory didn’t come as too big a surprise to experts of the division.
Let there be no doubt about it – Bradford have a mammoth task ahead of them, and anyone who doesn’t believe relegation is a realistic threat is kidding themselves, even at this stage.
3. London can push for promotion this year
Yes, the Broncos fell to defeat, but in doing so against Hull Kingston Rovers they showed just how good they are.
The two teams produced a high-quality game in which they both showcased their credentials to play at a higher level.
London have made their aspirations to regain Super League status well known in the off-season, and this was evidence that it wasn’t just talk.
There’s a long way to go, but the Broncos have already shown signs of improvement on last year, and having missed out on the Million Pound Game on points difference last season, they could go one further this time around.
4. Toulouse still have a lot to learn
Nobody really knew how Toulouse would get on this campaign, but predictions were lofty after their demolition of Batley.
However, they were given a reality check by Sheffield at the weekend, proving that they still have a lot to work on this year.
Some have suggested that they will struggle to back up performances week in, week out with the added intensity in the Championship, and although they should be cut some slack given the awful conditions at the weekend, they didn’t prove anyone wrong with this display.
5. It’s going to be a very unpredictable year… again
There was a time when you could correctly predict 80% of the results in the Championship without much thought, but those days are gone.
This week nearly provided us with some astonishing results – Oldham were desperately close to defeating Featherstone, London threatened to shock Hull Kingston Rovers and Rochdale are top of the league!
Few would have predicted Sheffield defeating Toulouse, or Dewsbury languishing at the bottom after back-to-back defeats.
It’s a fantastically entertaining division that looks set to provide more shocks moving forward.