While there have been rumblings of discontent surrounding the Super League season in some sections of the game this year, there have been no qualms about the drama and excitement provided by the Championship.
A thrilling season has seen shock results aplenty, with several clubs exceeding expectations, namely London and Batley, while others, such as Sheffield. have flattered to deceive.
It has culminated in a thrilling finale to the regular season, with four clubs, Halifax, Batley, Bradford and Featherstone, still jostling for a position in the top four with two rounds to play.
Just one point separates the four teams, with Halifax and Batley currently edging their West Yorkshire counterparts going into the weekend.
However, the picture could well be clearer by the end of the weekend with some huge fixtures taking place. Featherstone travel to The Shay to take on Richard Marshall’s Fax, while Batley must take on London, with victory the only way they can guarantee they keep their spot in the four.
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Here are your four contenders
It appeared that Halifax were storming towards the Qualifiers after going on a seven-game unbeaten run. However, a heavy defeat at the hands of Leigh has pulled them back into the hunt ahead of a huge game against Featherstone.
Halifax are the only team of the four that can pretty much guarantee a place in the top four this weekend. Victory over Featherstone combined with a London victory over Batley would result in Fax being three points clear of Featherstone. They’d only be two points ahead of Batley under those circumstances, but their points difference is almost 100 better than the Bulldogs, meaning they’d be all but safe.
Ultimately, it is still in Fax’s hands, and if they win both of their remaining games they will make the four. However, contests with Featherstone and London will be difficult.
The Bulldogs could have taken a huge stride towards that four had they defeated Featherstone on Sunday, however they now need to defeat the Broncos on Sunday otherwise they will be chasing the pack.
Under the guidance of John Kear, the Bulldogs have had an outstanding season, and it would be a great shame if they were to just miss out at the death. But Batley are still well in it, and with London having to travel to Mount Pleasant, they will be confident of securing two points.
If they make it, it will be a true underdog story.
Bradford really should make the four, given their resources and full-time status, and although they aren’t currently in one of the spots, they have shown signs of improvement in their recent defeat to Leigh and hammering of Whitehaven.
It’s hard to disagree that Bradford need to make the four more than their part-time counterparts, given their ambitions for promotion and full-time status. They will be hoping one of Halifax and Batley slip up at the weekend, meaning they just need to the business in the last two weeks.
Rohan Smith’s side are the only team that doesn’t have their destiny in their own hands. Although they are ahead of Featherstone, their fixtures mean two victories will put them in the four.
The game with Fev looks set to be a huge clash for both teams.
Pretty much written off before victory over Batley, Featherstone are definitely the outsiders in the race.
However, should they win both of their games, they will make the top four. It is as simple as that.
Although they have an incredibly tough run-in, and their record against teams in the top six hasn’t been fantastic this year, their victory over Batley could prove to be the making of them this season.