There are just three rounds of the regular season of Super League 2018 left before the split into the Super Eights and all eyes will be on two games this weekend as the Huddersfield Giants host Wigan Warriors and Leeds Rhinos welcome Wakefield Trinity to Headingley. The Giants currently have the all-important eighth Super Eights position with the Rhinos, under the fledgling control of Sinfield and Lowes will be desperate for them to slip up.
The Championship is also hotting up with just three games remaining. Leigh Centurions need a big win at Rochdale and to keep in touch with the top four, and London Broncos eyeing up a four pointer to jump back into the four if they can win at home against Halifax on Sunday afternoon.
There are two Super League games on Thursday evening with Warrington Wolves taking on the Catalans Dragons in the SKY TV game where a win for the visitors would almost guarantee then a top eight finish. Wolves coach Steve Price has made two changes to his side with Harvey Livett and Ben Pomeroy returning in place of Dominic Crosby and Morgan Smith. The Dragons will have to overcome the odds to get the win with the bookies favouring the Wolves and Steve McNamara names an unchanged nineteen from the side which beat Wakefield last week.
Huddersfield play one of their most important games of the season against a Wigan Warriors who are coming back into a bit of form after a mid-season blip. Jake Mamo’s return is amongst four changes for the Giants as Dale Ferguson, Alex Mellor and Jake Wardle also return to the squad. Sebastine Ikahihifo, Kruise Leeming, Ukuma Ta’ai and Sam Wood all miss out. Slight favourites Wigan have skipper Sean O’Loughlin and Romaine Navarette back in contention but have lost the services of Liam Farrell after he picked up an injury last weekend.
The Leeds Rhinos are fighting for their lives and have a massive match at Headingley against Wakefield Trinity, again on SKY. Kevin Sinfield has been able to name Carl Ablett, Ash Handley, Brad Dwyer, Mitch Garbutt and Cameron Smith in his nineteen but he will be without Mullally, Delaney and Lilley who all picked up knocks in the loss to Castleford. Wakefield have made just one change from the side which lost to the Dragons last week with James Batchelor coming back from a week off with concussion to replace Liam Finn. The Rhinos are slight favourites with the bookies but a loss would magnify the home sides’ discomfort.
Hull FC have an uphill task against the Champions Elect St Helens as they look to keep in touch with the top four. Underdogs FC have Jordan Abdull back in the nineteen as he returns from a broken leg with Jansin Turgut and Jordan Lane both back in the side. Justin Holbrook makes just one change to his all-conquering side with Ryan Morgan replacing Matty Costello. A single point would be enough to ensure that the Saints end the first part of the season in top spot.
Friday night’s final game is between the Salford Red Devils and Castleford Tigers. The Red Devils have lost Greg Johnson and Logan Tomkins to injuries picked up last time out while Craig Kopczak and Luke Burgess are named in the squad but unlikely to figure in the final seventeen as they try and recover from injuries. Daryl Powell makes two changes to the side which impressed against the Rhinos last weekend as Joe Wardle and Kieran Gill enter the squad in place of Nathan Massey and Jamie Ellis. The bookies have the Tigers as overwhelming favourites
The final Super League fixture takes place on Saturday afternoon as the Widnes Vikings take on Hull KR as two of the bottom three meet. Hull KR are the favourites for the win which would, depending on other results, keep their hopes of avoiding the middle eights alive for another week.
The Championship is all about who will join Toronto in the middle eights to fight for a Super League spot for 2019 against the big boys from the top flight. Saturday sees Leigh travel to Rochdale looking for a big win (sixty-four points or more) to climb into the top four overnight while Rochdale have little to play for. Toronto take on Batley in the late kick-off as they seek their nineteenth win of the season. Game of the round is on Sunday at 13:30 when fifth placed London host third placed Halifax knowing that a win would put them right in the mix. At the same time Featherstone are at Swinton as they fight for their top four place. There is a 12:00 kick off for Sheffield against Dewsbury and Barrow host Toulouse at 15:00 with the French side still not guaranteed a top four finish despite being second on the ladder.
Championship One is spread over three days as follows;
20:00 – Keighley v. Oldham
15:00 – London Skolars v. York
13:00 – Hunslet v. Bradford
13:30 – Workington v. Whitehaven
14:00 – Coventry v. Hemel
14:00 – Newcastle v. North Wales
15:00 – Doncaster v. West Wales
Wherever you watch your rugby this weekend, enjoy.