Hull FC (3rd)
For Hull, as the team in the best position of the four sides still in contention, the equation is relatively simple: win at Castleford on Friday, and they are not only guaranteed a play-off place, but third spot and a trip to Leeds.
However, should they lose, their position does come into some jeopardy. They have the worst points difference of the four sides, which means that should Wigan – only two points behind Hull – win at Wakefield on Saturday afternoon, it will be the Warriors and Saints in the top four, with the cup winners missing out altogether.
Should Salford win tonight, however, Hull will be guaranteed a play-off place.
St Helens (4th)
St Helens know that victory tonight at Salford will guarantee a play-off place barring a mathematical miracle. They have the strongest points difference, and if they win at Salford, only a Wigan win by 65 points more than the Saints (eg. if St Helens win 21-20, win would need to win by 66).
However, if the Saints slip up, it not only assures Hull of a play-off place, they are out of the running. It also sets up a winner-takes-all scenario at Belle Vue on Saturday between Wakefield and Wigan – where the winner will take fourth place and earn themselves a trip to Castleford.
Quite simply, the Warriors are relying on other teams to keep their title hopes alive. If St Helens and Hull win on Thursday and Friday, then Wigan’s season is over before they even kick off at Belle Due against Wakefield on Saturday afternoon.
However, it takes just one slip-up to let Wigan in. They could actually still finish third should both Saints and Hull lose, but just one defeat allows them the opportunity to sneak into the play-offs with a win at Wakefield on Saturday afternoon.
For Wakefield, it is they who are against the grain the most.
While Wigan are fighting for one of two available places, Trinity have only one spot – fourth – in their sights. They need St Helens to lose on Thursday night, and beat Wigan themselves to guarantee a local derby against Castleford in the play-offs.