Who will win the race to make the Championship’s top four?

While clubs at the bottom of Super League are on their toes scrambling for a way out of the bottom four, the race to make the Qualifiers in the Championship is proving to be compulsive viewing too.

With ten games of the regular season to go, four teams are battling it out to take the final three spots in the top four, and the battle for those places appears to have never been tighter.

Just two points separate second-placed Featherstone and fifth-placed Halifax, while the other two clubs, Toulouse and London, are also locked on points with Fax.

Competition is fierce among the clubs as the second-half of the season kicks off, and so far, none of the sides are showing too many signs of weakness.

But which club is the most likely to crack? With Hull Kingston Rovers looking all but certain to take the top spot, one of the four clubs may miss out, which will come as a huge disappointment to whichever side that proves to be.

Currently, Featherstone are in the driving seat with a slender two point advantage over the three other clubs.

Under the guidance of Jon Sharp, the Rovers have become an excellent defensive side, something that has come to the fore again this year with their record of 211 points conceded in 13 games only bettered by Hull Kingston Rovers this year.

The question hanging over Featherstone is their ability to compete at the same level without dual-registration players from Leeds Rhinos. Without dual-reg players, they have lost to the likes of Rochdale and struggled in other games like the Challenge Cup victory over Bradford, although recently they have improved in that regard and put in some very good performances during the Championship campaign. Overall, Featherstone look course to retain their good form and make the top four, especially with key forwards like Jason Walton, Frankie Mariano and Andy Bostock all on the way back from injury.

But they certainly have competition.

Toulouse Olympique have been the surprise package of the year so far with a very impressive start to life in the Championship, and they currently sit third.

Johnathon Ford

Only Tim Sheens’ Robins have scored more points that the French side and they are unbeaten at home in league action, where they also defeated Hull. Given that all three of their rivals in the race for the four have to travel over there, they have every right to be confident.

The concern for Toulouse is the fitness of influential halfback Johnathon Ford. The Australian is a pivotal member of the team. He has missed five games this season, and Toulouse have lost four times. In the nine games he’s played, they’ve lost just once.

His absence was felt on Sunday when they lost to struggling Swinton, further emphasising his importance.

The game Ford played where Toulouse did come unstuck was against London who, after a terrible run of form, have come back really strong since Easter and moved into the top four on points difference.

Andrew Henderson’s side have struggled more than most on the injury front this campaign, but with key players coming back their form has improved, a fact emphasised by their hammering of Oldham on Sunday.

Should the Broncos improve their away form, which even now is a decent return of four wins from seven games, they will back themselves to make the four.

The final club is Halifax, who have perhaps surprised some by keeping up pace after last year’s disappointing campaign.

Nine wins in their last ten games have seen them stay in the hunt after a shaky start.

Defensively, they have improved dramatically this year and currently have the third best defence in the league, even though that has had some impact on their offence.

Perhaps most encouragingly, they have yet to slip up against the lower-end sides in the league, a problem that ultimately saw them come unstuck last term.

They perhaps have the hardest of the fixtures though, with trips to all of their rivals in the top-half to come, which makes it that bit more difficult, although Richard Marshall’s side always seems to turn up for the big games.

Whichever way you look at it though, it promises to be a thrilling finale.