After a stunning Challenge Cup final the attention turned to the final of the inaugural 1895 Cup between the Sheffield Eagles and Widnes Vikings as both sides chased a piece of silverware to cap what will ultimately be a 2019 of league alsorans.

Widnes sprang a surprise and beat the Leigh Centurions in the semi-final to get to the showpiece final, the location where they made four Challenge Cup finals, and win two, in the eighties and nineties. The Eagles triumphed over the Batley Bulldogs to take their place at Wembley, the site of their finest hour when they lifted the Challenge Cup back in 1998.

Widnes were slight favourites for the win but both sides had a win apiece in the two games played in the league in 2019.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 24th Aug 2019 7:40 PM | Views : 225 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

If you listened to the pundits, the bookies and the neutral fans, then there was only one side who would be lifting the Challenge Cup at the end of eighty Wembley minutes, runaway league leaders St Helens. But this is the Cup, and it’s a funny old thing, and anything could happen.

Warrington are the side with the recent Challenge Cup pedigree having figured in five finals, winning three since, since Saints were last represented in this auspicious event. The top two sides in Super League met in the first final of the year, with many believing that they will also meet at Old Trafford in October.

This was the fourth meeting between these two sides in 2019 with Saints having emerged victorious on every occasion, the most recent being a 30-12 win just over a fortnight ago. Both sides ran onto the sun baked field with the neutrals hoping that it would be more competitive than it appeared on paper.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 24th Aug 2019 5:01 PM | Views : 388 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

It wouldn’t be a Challenge Cup final weekend without the now traditional Friday Night Lights encounter at London Skolars, this season the opposition being Betfred League One fourth placed side Hunslet.

The 4G pitch at the New River Stadium in Wood Green, a ten mile drive around the North Circular, always attracts a good following of diehard Rugby League supporters down in the nationals capital to make a weekend of it.

But two important league points were up for grabs as Hunslet looked to cement their play-off spot while a loss would spell the end of the Skolars chase for the play-offs and the second promotion spot for another season.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 23rd Aug 2019 9:22 PM | Views : 249 | Replies : 1 | READ MORE

This weekend’s Betfred Championship fixtures were overshadowed by the tragic death of Archie Bruce the young Batley Bulldogs player who was found dead in his hotel room in the early hours of Sunday morning, following his debut against Toulouse Olympique XIII in the south of France on Saturday evening. The whole of the rugby league community grieves with Archie’s family and the Bulldogs.

Saturday’s other game saw relegated Rochdale travel to Toronto, while the rest of the games took place on Sunday afternoon.

Leigh and Widnes met at the LSV while, on paper,  the game of the afternoon was  fourth placed York City Knights against the Featherstone Rovers. Sheffield were at home to Barrow, Halifax travelled to Swinton and there was a local derby in Dewsbury where Bradford were the visitors.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 18th Aug 2019 5:31 PM | Views : 1621 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

If today’s encounter between relegation prospects Hull KR and Wakefield Trinity wasn’t already important enough, yesterdays shock win for the London Broncos in the south of France made it doubly so.

Just four games remain in the 2019 season and a win for either of these sides, who entered the game level on league ladder points, would be a massive step towards safety for 2020. A loss, on the other hand, would leave them deeply mired in the relegation dogfight.

KR were bolstered by the returns of Mitch Garbutt, Craig Hall, Kane Linnett and importantly Danny McGuire. Trinity gave a debut for loan signing Chris Green from Hull.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 18th Aug 2019 4:53 PM | Views : 1247 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

The Super League team currently at the bar and taking a slurp from their glass in the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ are the London Broncos. The have travelled to the heat of the South of France to take on a Catalans Dragons who have an eye on a top five position and a play-off finish.

The Broncos had already beaten the Dragons in Perpignan and the home side took a big beating at London’s fellow strugglers the Leeds Rhinos last weekend. The bookies were favouring a home win but Danny Ward’s side knew that a win would keep them in touch with their fellow fighters to avoid the relegation spot.

The home side made a few changes in the pack after last weeks loss but London named the same starting thirteen who took the points on their last vist to the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 17th Aug 2019 6:49 PM | Views : 673 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Warrington Wolves, without a league win in over a month, knew that the ideal preparation for next weekends Challenge Cup Cup Final would be a big win against fourth placed Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium.

The Warriors knew that a win would lift them level on points with their opponents, and into third place with just a handful of games left until the play-offs.

Both coaches made a number of changes with Tom Lineham returning for the Wolves after suspension, with a second game for loan signing Matty Smith against the side for which he made 139 appearances. The Warriors were without Ben Flower and Joe Burgess.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 16th Aug 2019 9:39 PM | Views : 1127 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

With St Helens already crowned as minor premiers, and with the Challenge Cup final and Grand Final play-offs just around the corner, they could be forgiven for easing off the gas. The Rhinos hoped that they could continue a two game winning run, which has lifted them out of the immediate danger of relegation.

Another win would see the Rhinos within a couple of points of safety and they also went into the game needing an eighteen points winning margin to get back to a positive points difference, worth an extra point in the bottom of the table shakedown.

The only change for the Rhinos was on the bench with Nathan Peteru brought in to replace the suspended Brad Singleton who was sent off against the Catalans Dragons last weekend and received a two game ban. Saints have Morgan Knowles back but are without Alex Walmsley, Lachlan Coote and James Roby.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 15th Aug 2019 9:39 PM | Views : 896 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Laura Wright has been announced as the singer of Jerusalem at this seasons Grand Final at Old Trafford.

The twenty-nine year old, who has sold more than a million albums, sang at the 2016 and 2017  Grand Finals and will be warmly welcomed back in 2019. 

Full Story, and what it means to the players, here: https://twitter.com/SuperLeague/status/1160928929491775490?s=20

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Tue 13th Aug 2019 7:14 PM | Views : 2967 | Replies : 44 | READ MORE

Round twenty-four of the Betfred Championship was spread over two days as Toulouse travelled to Widnes, and York made the trip to Toronto for Saturday’s fixtures.

The remaining games took place on Sunday with Leigh looking for a big win at relegated Rochdale, Sheffield seeking to keep their play-off hopes alive against Halifax, and Featherstone Rovers needing the crucial two points at home against Featherstone.

Elsewhere, the Bulls were in Barrow knowing that the two points were essential for their remote hopes of the top five, while the heavy woollen derby between Batley and Dewsbury was a ‘dead rubber’.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 11th Aug 2019 5:26 PM | Views : 2049 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

For the Leigh Centurions, this afternoons encounter with already relegated Rochdale Hornets was all about registering a big score to improve their points difference in the hope of securing a home play-off game in the Qualifying Final at the end of the season.

As well as confirming their place in the play-offs, a win would lift the Leigh side up to third, above a Yorks City Knights side which took a hammering against the Toronto Wolfpack last night, and level on points with Toulouse Olympique XIII. The best that Rochdale could achieve is eleventh, still a relegation place, and that would take a miracle after they have only recorded one victory in 2019.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 11th Aug 2019 4:52 PM | Views : 1254 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

French side Toulouse Olympique XIII rolled into the Halton Stadium to take on a Widnes Viking side who are treading water in 2019 after their pre-season punitive points deduction. A win would temporarily lift Toulouse into second spot ahead of the remaining fixtures but a loss would leave the door open for Leigh and Featherstone to overtake them and demote them to fifth come the end of the weekend.

A win for Widnes would lift them above the Dewsbury Rams into eleventh spot and come closer to guaranteeing their Championship spot for the 2020 season when they will look to launch their bid to return to Super League.

James Child was in the middle with the whistle, he must have been delighted when he was allocated a French side for the second weekend running.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 10th Aug 2019 4:44 PM | Views : 659 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

The Rhinos made just one change from the side which demolished the Huddersfield Giants last time out as they took on a Catalans Dragons who were paying the price for on-field indiscipline against the Warrington Wolves.

The Rhinos made one change with Luke Briscoe replacing his brother Tom on the wing after the later was ruled out for the rest of the season. The Dragons were without the services of key players  Sam Tomkins and Michael McIlorum, both serving suspensions.

The Rhinos lost the early season game in the south of France bit won the last time the sides met at Headingley Stadium by a 31-12 margin. A win would further ease the Rhinos relegation worries but a loss would put them right back in the mix. The Dragons came into the game desperate for a win to maintain their top five aspirations.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 9th Aug 2019 9:49 PM | Views : 1273 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

St Helens took the minor premiers crown with their win, and a Warrington Wolves loss, last weekend. The outcome of the game was therefore much more important for the Wire who were looking to cement their second place, while Saints were playing for pride.

The two sides met as recently as round twenty, when Saints were 21-10 winners at the Halliwell-Jones, despite trailing by 4-0 at the interval and not scoring their first point until the hour mark. Saints were looking for a hat-trick of 2019 wins against their near neighbours after also picking up a 38-12 win in round 10, in tonight's Challenge Cup dress rehearsal.

After the ‘battle of Stade Gilbert Brutus’ last weekend the home side made eight changes including the addition of a number of youngsters. Saints made just a couple of changes to their starting line-up with Jonny Lomax and Matty Costello into the side.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 8th Aug 2019 9:40 PM | Views : 828 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

There were just five rounds of the Betfred Championship remaining as we headed into round twenty-three. Toronto Wolfpack were already guaranteed top spot but had a tricky looking trip to Odsal to face the Bradford Bulls, While second placed York City Knights also had a long journey up to Barrow.

The Eagles looked to keep their slim hopes of a play-off place alive with a home game against the Widnes Vikings on Friday night with third placed Toulouse away at Halifax. Fourth placed Leigh centurions could take a step closer to a play-off berth with a home game against a Swinton Lions side which has shocked a few this season while Featherstone desperately needed a win at Dewsbury. The final game saw the already relegated Rochdale Hornets at home to an almost safe Batley Bulldogs.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 4th Aug 2019 6:55 PM | Views : 2492 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Should the Warrington Wolves fail to win at the Catalan Dragons in the Saturday evening kick-off would end their forlorn hopes of the minor premiership and hand the first trophy of the season to St Helens.

More importantly a win would lift the Wolves six points clear of fourth place and put them within a couple of wins of a guaranteed home play-off berth. The Dragons knew that a win would lift them into the top five, at least until tomorrow’s game for the Castleford Tigers.

The Dragons welcomed the return of Greg Bird, Kenny Edwards and Samisoni Langi while the Wolves would hove to do without the services of the injured free-scoring Josh Charnley.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 3rd Aug 2019 7:14 PM | Views : 2629 | Replies : 3 | READ MORE

Two sides, both deeply mired in the relegation battle, were pitted against one another at the John Smith’s Stadium as the Huddersfield Giants and Leeds Rhinos met in front of a bumper crowd with a crucial two points at stake.

The Giants were looking to consolidate their eighth place and get within four points of the play-off places. Leeds Rhinos could leapfrog the Giants into eighth with an eight point winning margin, providing that Wakefield didn’t spring a surprise and beat St Helens. A loss for the Rhinos could see them end the weekend in bottom place, should Hull KR and the London Broncos win their respective games.

It was a question of who wanted it the most.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 2nd Aug 2019 9:39 PM | Views : 1637 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Fouth placed Wigan Warriors travelled to third placed Hull FC as they looked to close the gap to just two points as the race for the play-off places hots up. A win for Hull would lift them six points clear of the Warriors and aid their claim to a top five finish while Wigan knew that defeat could see them end the weekend outside the play-off places.

Lee Radford juggled the side which missed out on Wembley last weekend with Masi Matongo replacing the injured Sika Manu. Adrian Lam could call on the services of Sean O’Loughlin and Joe Burgess while Thomas Leuluai passed a late fitness test to take up his spot in the line-up.

FC won by a single point in extra time the last time that the two sides met, way back in February.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 1st Aug 2019 9:37 PM | Views : 1626 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Of the two 1895 Cup semi-finals, the match at the Leigh Sports Village between the Centurions and Widnes Vikings was the one to get the juices flowing. Two sides with a Super League pedigree, both desperate to get to Wembley, would need to overcome wet conditions to progress.

It’s honours shared in 2019 with both sides winning their home fixtures. The Vikings won the game in April by 30-12 while Leigh picked up the points by 36-22 in May. If it hadn’t been for Widnes points penalty before the season started then they would have only been separated by two league positions.

The stage was set for a classic semi-final, it was down to the two teams to deliver.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 28th Jul 2019 5:50 PM | Views : 4342 | Replies : 25 | READ MORE

Seventh placed Sheffield Eagles and tenth placed Batley Bulldogs were drawn against one another for the chance of a trip to Wembley and the 1895 Cup Final on the 24th August. The Eagles made it this far thanks to a 32-28 win over Doncaster while Batley needed the golden point for a 17-16 win over the York City Knights.

There were wet conditions at the Olympic Legacy Park but the 4G pitch would neutralise the worst of them and an open game was promised.

The Eagles have won both games between these two sides in 2019, most notably by 54-24 when the two sides met in June.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 28th Jul 2019 3:44 PM | Views : 1404 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE


REST IN PEACE
ARCHIE BRUCE

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