Betfred Championship Round Three predictions and preview

Arguably the most exciting and unpredictable rugby league division heads into round three this weekend as the promotion hunt becomes more clear.

Workington Town vs Featherstone Rovers

Newly promoted Workington Town against red hot Featherstone Rovers, only one winner right? Workington have expectedly struggled in their opening two games, and conceding 70 points last week at Widnes was a major disappointment. ‘Fev have maintained a lot of their line-up that trounced Leigh Centurions last week, though Joey Leilua is a big loss. However, Tom Holmes, Dane Chisholm and Craig Hall should be unmanageable in their attacking rugby and should be able to overcome whatever challenge Workington throw at them.

Prediction: Workington Town 12-48 Featherstone Rovers

Barrow Raiders vs Newcastle Thunder

Two ‘expansion’ clubs go head-to-head in Barrow Raiders and Newcastle Thunder. Barrow should be highly fancied for this one, after all they home advantage, two wins from two and going well with former Super League players Hakim Miloudi and Jarrod Sammut leading the way. Newcastle are no strangers to top level experience, Craig Mullen, Alex Foster and Sam Halsall to name but are struggling for form at the moment and the prospect of a long trip to the North West coupled with facing an in-form Barrow side really puts them up against it.

Prediction: Barrow Raiders 28-18 Newcastle Thunder

Batley Bulldogs vs York City Knights

Dark horses Batley Bulldogs to overcome York City Knights? The Bulldogs have recorded two impressive victories and maintain a strong squad heading into this one. Alistair Leak, Ben Kaye, Tom Gilmore and James Meadows are all available and should lead by example in attack. Not to fully count out the Knights, they have some top level experience available but may somewhat struggle for consistency, which has arguably been their undoing as of late.

Prediction: Batley Bulldogs 30-16 York City Knights

Dewsbury Rams vs Sheffield Eagles

Another all Yorkshire affair as Dewsbury Rams go against Sheffield Eagles. The Rams back at home and having the likes of Chris Annakin, Dom Speakman, Elliot Minchella and even Paul Sykes named could see them cause plenty of problems. However, Sheffield, surprising many with their win at Bradford last week, could be full of confidence and with Izaac Farrell, Anthony Thackeray and Josh Guzdek available as ‘pivots’, could well catch the Rams cold.

Prediction: Dewsbury Rams 16-28 Sheffield Eagles

Halifax Panthers vs Widnes Vikings

Halifax opened up their account last week but will be up against a stern test in Widnes Vikings. ‘Fax have half-backs Cory Aston and Joe Keyes available to lead, plus a full contingent of forwards, with Adam Tangata, Daniel Murray and Matt Garside to name. Widnes are currently top of the league and that is no fluke, with over 100 points scored already. Both Danny Craven and Matty Smith are available at half-back as well as Adam Lawton, Matty Fozard and Matt Fleming for further experience. An incredibly tough game to call, but ‘Fax, with home advantage could edge it, but it could go either way quite easily.

Prediction: Halifax Panthers 26-24 Widnes Vikings

London Broncos vs Whitehaven RLFC

Both without wins and both with points to prove, which ‘expansion’ club will come out on top? London are still in a period of transition and have somewhat struggled in attack so far. But so have Whitehaven, making this another difficult game to call but with London having home advantage, they could just get the goods this time around.

Prediction: London Broncos 24-16 Whitehaven RLFC

Leigh Centurions vs Bradford Bulls

Once upon a time, the top two ‘runaway’ clubs in the Championship and this ‘rivalry’ will reignite as Leigh host Bradford Bulls. The Centurions, full-time and all, should have the advantage, being at home, not to mention possessing top level experience throughout their ranks but how much did that loss at Featherstone take out of them? Then again, the Bulls were humbled by Sheffield at Odsal last week and will be itching to get back to winning ways, but executing it is an entirely different matter in such a game.

Prediction: Leigh Centurions 32-24 Bradford Bulls

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