Bottom four confirmed
Despite their triumph over Wigan on Friday, Warrington became the final Super League team condemned to the Middle 8’s. Huddersfield’s win against Leigh on Friday extended their gap over the Wolves to three points, ending Tony Smith’s hopes of guaranteed Super League survival.
With their form of late, though, the Wolves shouldn’t have much to worry about. Their early-season slump was a worrying sign going forward but they’ve soon turned it around, winning three from their last four games. The team really at risk are Leigh. They’ve pretty much done the opposite to Warrington, starting the season well but losing their last four games. With Hull KR itching for a chance to return to the top flight, the Centurions are going to have a tough job on their hands over the next couple of months.
Leeds lose another legend
After 22 years at the Rhinos, joining at just age 12, McGuire will now leave Headingley at the end of the season to join Jamie Peacock at Hull KR. His departure throws up plenty of questions, with McGuire vacating his halfback role as well as the captain’s armband. Brian McDermott has several options but with Richie Myler coming in and Joel Moon in red hot form, those two seem the likely choice. As for the captaincy, Stevie Ward looks like the ideal candidate to me.
Eden’s record attempt hits the rocks
This time last month, Greg Eden was well on his way to breaking Denny Solomona’s Super League record of 40 tries in a season. No, however, there’s no guarantee Eden will score a try again this year, after injuring his shoulder while scoring his 37th on Friday.
The former Brisbane winger landed awkwardly while performing one of his trademark acrobatic finishes and was taken to hospital with his arm in a sling. The full extent of his injury is yet to be established but Castleford fans shouldn’t worry too much about his absence. Most of his tries come from superb work from those inside him, with the likes of Luke Gale and Ben Roberts pulling the strings. And with proven finisher Joel Monaghan filling his boots, it’s unlikely that points will dry up on the Tigers’ left flank.
Toulouse keep the dream alive
Their middle 8’s hopes have been dwindling for weeks, but a huge 31-30 win over Hull KR on Sunday kept the dream alive for Toulouse. The French side currently sit in fifth, two points behind Halifax, setting up two mammoth deciders in the last weekend of the regular season.
Toulouse host third-place Featherstone, having only lost twice at home all season, while Halifax come up against league leaders Hull KR. Olympique have a greater points difference than ‘Fax, so if results go their way Sylvain Houles’ side could find themselves coming up against Super League opposition in the coming weeks. While there’s still plenty of excitement to be had in Super League this weekend, I seriously urge you to keep an eye on the Championship scores.
Queensland remain dominant
Wednesday saw 2017 State of Origin come to a close, with the Maroons running away 22-6 winners to claim the series 2-1.
Despite being without the likes of Jonathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Darius Boyd, Kevin Walters’ young side stepped up, with debutant Cameron Munster and Cronulla winger Valentine Holmes the standout men. As for the Blues, Wednesday marked the end of yet another disappointing series. After starting on such a high with a 28-4 win in Brisbane, they looked dejected and uninterested, lacking the passion that their opponents had. Some serious personnel changes are needed if they want to stand any chance in next year’s series.