Last week “real deal” Toulouse Olympique roared back into action plus Featherstone Rovers edged rivals York City Knights but will the top two be caught?
Batley Bulldogs Vs London Broncos
Dark horses Batley Bulldogs could start as favourites against full-time outfit London Broncos.
Tom Gilmore has been an impressive acquisition in the off-season and alongside skilful forwards such as Ben Kaye, Kieran Buchanan and Dane Manning, has seen the Bulldogs become a well drilled side.
London, shrugging off their slow start, are improving with players returning from injury. Last week will have given their confidence a boost but a long trip up North could take its toll, not to mention the tricky pitch that is the Fox Biscuit’s stadium.
Prediction: Batley Bulldogs 28-20 London Broncos
Halifax Panthers P-P Sheffield Eagles
Whitehaven RLFC Vs Toulouse Olympique
Potentially a ‘banana skin’ game for league leaders Toulouse but you’d expect them to find a way to win.
The French produced a masterclass at Heywood Road last week. Led by Jonathan Ford and Eloi Pelissier, they demonstrated that they are perhaps worthy of competing in Super League.
‘Haven have their work cut out. Though they surprised all with a comfortable win at Oldham but face an imminent reality check and will struggle in long periods.
Prediction: Whitehaven RLFC 12-42 Toulouse Olympique
Widnes Vikings Vs York City Knights
Two clubs in desperate need of a win, for different reasons. Widnes will hope to put last week’s embarrassment behind them whereas York will be seething from their last gasp loss to Featherstone.
The Vikings have home advantage, artificial pitch too, and could prove to be plucky. However, it is whether their attitude has improved from the drubbing.
York, meanwhile, have got over their slow start and have been competing well, especially away from home and there is no reason why their away form will desert them here.
Prediction: Widnes Vikings 16-36 York City Knights
Bradford Bulls P-P Newcastle Thunder
Swinton Lions Vs Dewsbury Rams
Swinton are still without a win, Dewsbury have sustained three consecutive defeats, so there’s not a lot of confidence between the two teams.
The Lions fought back well against Bradford, even producing some good rugby league courtesy of Jack Hansen and Martyn Ridyard, and home advantage here could favour them.
The Rams have Super League experience but is it an aging team? They started well but their heavy defeats have led to questions over their consistency this season and travelling away will not help matters.
Prediction: Swinton Lions 28-24 Dewsbury Rams
Featherstone Rovers Vs Oldham RLFC
Featherstone will be red hot favourites, 100% record and all, hosting Oldham, who were recently dealt a reality check by Whitehaven.
The Rovers, boasting exciting ‘pivots’ in Tom Holmes, Dane Chisholm and Fa’amanu Brown, will be difficult to handle. The return of supporters as well should boost the home side.
Oldham are really up against it and, though they may show bouts of resistance, will most likely be overwhelmed.
Prediction: Featherstone Rovers 46-12 Oldham RLFC