With promotion and relegation remaining for 2021, the 14 clubs in the Betfred Championship now have everything to play for. But who claim the key wins this weekend?
Toulouse Olympique P-P Halifax Panthers
Newcastle Thunder vs Bradford Bulls
This is an interesting affair as the resilient Newcastle Thunder could give the Bradford Bulls plenty of trouble here. Home advantage and all, Thunder have talent in Jake Shorrocks, Josh Woods, Bob Beswick and Ukuma Ta’ai available for selection. But the Bulls will be eager to resume their quest for promotion and with Jordan Lilley, Sam Hallas, Rhys Evans, Anthony England and Ross Oakes to choose from, they should have enough to come up with the win.
Prediction: Newcastle Thunder 22-28 Bradford Bulls
Featherstone Rovers vs York City Knights
A repeat of the thrilling 1895 Cup Final, Featherstone Rovers will hope to bounce back to winning ways at home against the York City Knights. Fev’ possess plenty of attacking threats in the shape of Dane Chisholm, Tom Holmes, Craig Hall and Nu Brown, not to mention their forward pack. The visitors have their own talent to choose from, not forgetting Matty Marsh, Danny Washbrook, Brendan O’Hagan and Adam Cuthbertson but have lacked consistency all season and that could cost them dear on this occasion.
Prediction: Featherstone Rovers 36-18 York City Knights
Dewsbury Rams vs Widnes Vikings
Dewsbury Rams will be desperate for a return to form after back-to-back defeats but they’ll struggle to do so against the Vikings. The Rams have plenty of top level experience to choose from but how long can their longevity continue for? Widnes are another club who have lacked consistency throughout this season but they may just have the edge, having key attackers in the shape of Danny Craven and Matty Smith.
Prediction: Dewsbury Rams 20-24 Widnes Vikings
Sheffield Eagles vs Oldham RLFC
Sheffield Eagles have an outside chance of play-off rugby and could go one step with a win over Oldham. The Eagles possess all of their key players in Anthony Thackeray and Izaac Farrell at half-back plus Matt James, Bradley Knowles and Scott Wheeldon in the pack. Oldham should provide a somewhat fierce challenge, having Dan Abram, Lewis Charnock, Dave Hewitt and Gareth Owen to choose from but the quality of Sheffield could see them slip up here.
Prediction: Sheffield Eagles 32-24 Oldham RLFC
Swinton Lions vs Batley Bulldogs
Since becoming coach-less, Swinton Lions have appeared to have found new life and could well back up their recent form against the Batley Bulldogs. The Lions have the likes of Jack Hansen and Martyn Ridyard plus Mike Butt, Sam Brooks and Rhodri Lloyd at their disposal as well as home advantage which should give them a real chance of victory. But the Bulldogs, with talent themselves in Alistair Leak, Tom Gilmore, Ben White and Dane Manning will provide difficult opposition especially as they go after play-off rugby.
Prediction: Swinton Lions 30-32 Batley Bulldogs
Whitehaven RLFC vs London Broncos
Two ‘expansion’ clubs go head-to-head as Whitehaven host London Broncos in an interesting match as Whitehaven have shown good form at home as of late and London may lack confidence after their humiliation last time out. ‘Haven have Karl Dion, Nikau Williams and Gregg McNally available as pivots plus Jason Mossop, Liam Cooper and Dion Aiye in the pack. The Broncos though have their own experience in Jarrod Sammut, James Meadows, Matty Fozard and Rhys Curran. However, the long trip up north could prove their undoing.
Prediction: Whitehaven RLFC 34-30 London Broncos