Winners: St Helens
A brilliant run of form has seen Saints go from top four outsiders to Grand Final contenders in the space of two months. However, a defeat to Catalans last week would have seen them drop out of the top four, and be replaced by the Dragons.
So this was undoubtedly a crucial match for Keiron Cunningham’s side, and they performed brilliantly as a result. A 39-16 victory not only moved them four points clear of Catalans in fifth, but keeps them within touching distance of an unlikely League Leaders’ Shield triumph.
Losers: Salford Red Devils
Everyone thought it would be an easy ride for the Red Devils in the Qualifiers. How wrong they were. Defeat to Leigh leaves them in a ver precarious position, as should they lose two further games they could well end up in the Million Pound Game. They are more than capable of winning their remaining matches, but they’ve made the next few weeks that bit harder for themselves now.
WINNERS: London Broncos
It’s fair to say that London, Batley and Featherstone were all written off before the Qualifiers had even started. When Leigh beat Salford on Saturday, everyone almost forgot that the Broncos, who only lost to the Centurions by four points the week before, were taking on Batley. However, everyone knew by 5 o’clock, as the Broncos put a staggering 76 points on the board against the Bulldogs. Although London have a lot of hard work to do, and they will remain outsiders, they are being taken a lot more seriously now.
Losers: Catalans Dragons
A year that promised so much has stuttered, faltered and almost collapsed. Key injuries and a loss of form at the wrong time has seen the Dragons slip from Grand Final contenders to top four outsiders in the space of two months, with their defeat to Saints last week giving them just a flicker of hope that they could make the play-offs.
WINNERS: Leigh Centurions
Well, the Qualifiers just got interesting, didn’t they? So much pressure, so much expectation, so much hype. But the Centurions delivered. There’s no saying Leigh will get promoted still, but their victory over Salford has put them on the map, and legitimised their Super League promotion hopes. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks.
What has gone wrong at Fax? A fifth straight defeat has left fans miserable after their four-game winning run over Bradford came to an end. It was only six weeks ago that Halifax were third in the Championship and three points clear of the fifth-placed Bulls. But Fax couldn’t take a top four spot, and they appear to be suffering a bad hangover as a result.