On top of the Betfred Super League we have the fourth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup as the Championship sides get involved in the competition for the first time in 2018.
There are some tasty looking games in Round Six of Super League with the Champions Leeds Rhinos travelling to league leaders St Helens, Wigan Warriors on the road at a resurgent Castleford Tigers and the two sides who have lost players during the week, Salford and Hull FC, meeting at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The Challenge Cup has thrown up some interesting ties with National Conference Premier side Kells playing host to the mighty Toronto Wolfpack and all Championship match-ups between Barrow and Sheffield with Batley taking on Leigh.
The weekend gets underway on Thursday night when ninth placed Huddersfield Giants play hosts to tenth placed Hull KR in an early season four pointer. The Giants will be buoyed by the contract extension signed by talisman Danny Brough while Hull KR are still without hooker Shaun Lunt who badly gashed his knee before last weekend’s losing trip to the Catalans Dragons. The Giants are strong favourites with the bookies to register their third win of the season.
There are two games on Friday night with St Helens taking on the Leeds Rhinos in the televised game. The Saints are looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season against a Rhinos side who have studdered in their opening fixtures. Jon Wilkin is back for Saints but they will be without the injured Alex Walmsley, a big loss for Justin Holbrooks side. The Rhinos held on for a win against Hull FC but the Saints are likely to prove tougher opposition and the bookies down give them a snowball in hell’s chance of getting the win.
Hull FC, courting controversy in the week in relation to the loss of disciplinary nightmare Liam Watts, travel to a Salford Red Devils side who themselves waved goodbye to full back Gareth O’Brien as he joined the big spenders at Toronto Wolfpack. Both sides lost their fixtures last week and go into Friday nights game desperate for the two points. FC are odds on with the bookies for the victory.
The Catalans Dragons are at home on Saturday afternoon for the second week running and play hosts to a Warrington Wolves side who run either very hot, or very cold, in their outings so far in 2018. Wolves Mike Cooper and Ryan Atkins will both be assessed before the game after picking up injuries last weekend but will be as confident as the bookies in their chance of a win over the side who are anchored to the base of the league.
Saturday also sees the very impressive Wakefield Wildcats looking to get back to winning ways as they take on the Widnes Vikings at the Belle Vue Stadium with a six-thirty kick off. The visitors will be without the services of Wellington Albert who has received a two game suspension for a dangerous contact last weekend and the bookies have made Wakefield strong favourites for the win to keep them hot on the tail of the Saints.
The final Super League game of the weekend sees a monster clash between the Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors. Both sides secured important victories last weekend with the Warriors defeating Wakefield Trinity at the DW and the Tigers easing past the Red Devils at the Jungle. It is probably the closest game of the weekend to call with the bookies making the home side the slight favourites to defeat the Warriors.
There are twelve fourth round ties in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup to be played over the weekend staring with two ties on Friday night. The game chosen for live streaming by the BBC is the clash between National Conference side Normanton Knights and Rochdale Hornets, but the chances of an upset are slim. That game takes place at 14:00 on Saturday.
The full list of games is;
Kells v. Toronto Wolfpack
Doncaster v. Newcastle Thunder
Normantion Knights v. Rochdale Hornets
North Wales Crusaders v. Featherstone Rovers
Barrow Raiders v. Sheffield Eagles
Batley Bulldogs v. Leigh Centurions
Coventry Bears v. Pilkington Recs
Halifax v. Oldham
Hunslet v. Bradford Bulls
Whitehaven v. Dewsbury Rams
Workington Town v. London Broncos
York City Knights v. Swinton Lions
Enjoy your Rugby League, wherever you are watching it this weekend.