TotalRL’s weekly ranking of the 10 clubs we feel have the edge on the rest – taking into account form, league position and forthcoming fixtures.
#1 St Helens
The Saints are undoubtedly one of Rugby League’s form teams at the moment – and with Warrington and Hull both losing at the weekend, they are now just four points adrift of the Super League summit. Can anyone stop Keiron Cunningham’s side? Catalans are the next side to try and halt their incredible winning run, when they travel to Langtree Park on Friday.
#2 Hull FC
It was defeat to Castleford for Hull last Friday night, but with them still competing on all three fronts and remaining top of the league – albeit on points difference – they don’t take a dramatic tumble on the power rankings just yet. Victory against Widnes on Thursday would make that defeat to the Tigers a thing of the past quickly: but lose to the Vikings, and some may question their title credentials.
#3 Leeds Rhinos
It’s now six wins from seven for Brian McDermott’s men – and even just one week into the Qualifiers, they look to be on course for a return to Super League next year. Hull KR are their next opponents on Friday – would victory make them all-but certain of a Super League place in 2017?
#4 Wigan Warriors
Defeats to St Helens and Hull in the previous fortnight had impacted their season somewhat, but Wigan got right back on track on Friday with an impressive win against Wakefield. They face a tricky trip to Castleford this weekend, but if Hull slip up again this weekend, the Warriors could leap above the side who knocked them out of the Challenge Cup.
#5 Toulouse Olympique
The League 1 pacesetters may have had a weekend off last week, but they remain two points clear at the top despite Rochdale’s win against Keighley. Still to lose a game this season, their quest to get into the second tier is showing no signs of slowing down ahead of a trip to Doncaster this weekend.
#6 Rochdale Hornets
The Hornets may not usurp Toulouse at the top of League One come the end of the Super 8s, but with just one defeat to their name this season, they look increasingly good value for a place in the play-offs at worst. A crucial victory against Keighley over the weekend ensured they solidified second spot – can they begin to think about overhauling the Frenchmen, perhaps?
#7 Castleford Tigers
Daryl Powell’s men simply had to win on Friday to keep alive any chance of making the top four: and they did it in style, downing the league leaders Hull FC in their own back yard. The tough fixtures keep on coming with a home game against Wigan this weekend, but if any side is capable of putting a run together to charge into top-four contention, it is likely to be Cas.
#8 Salford Red Devils
Some had suspected Ian Watson’s side may have been vulnerable in the Qualifiers, but they showed their Super League credentials on Sunday with a fine win against Huddersfield. This is arguably the best Salford squad in nearly a decade, and if they can see off Leigh Centurions on Saturday afternoon, they will move a step closer to a place back in the top flight next year for sure.
#9 Leigh Centurions
Speaking of Leigh, they make the top 10 on the power rankings this week after a great, albeit somewhat nervy, victory to start their Qualifiers campaign. They surrendered a winning position in the opening weekend last year against Hull KR, but this time they just held on against London to get an early two points on the board. This Saturday’s game against Salford looks huge.
#10 Sheffield Eagles
The Eagles are coming into form at just the right time. They may have missed out on the top four but they remain in the hunt for silverware – and crucially, they moved two points further clear of the drop zone at the weekend with a great win against Halifax. Are they an outside bet for the Championship Shield?