Round 19 of the Championship is upon us, and its heating up at both ends of the table. Last week we saw some shock results; Bradford were downed by Widnes on Monday, Newcastle secured their third win of the season against Whitehaven and the Broncos overcame Toulouse. Elsewhere, Featherstone carried on their march to the playoffs as they put Swinton to the sword, York dismantled Keighley and the Eagles got one over Barrow.
But what does round 19 have in store for us? Here are our predictions ahead of this weeks games:
Saturday 15th July
Toulouse vs Batley Bulldogs-5:00pm
Kicking off this week is a clash between second placed Batley and third placed Toulouse. This should be a close game, however the home field advantage should push Toulouse over the line in what promises to be a close game. The French side came back with a disappointing result last time out against London Broncos and will want to put this right at home. The visitors Batley come into the game off the back of a strong win against Halifax and will be full of confidence. This sets up a mouth-watering clash between two top quality sides, but ultimately Toulouse will secure the two points.
Barrow face a tough test as they welcome the rampant Rovers to Craven Park on Sunday. Featherstone were once again at their best last weekend as they romped to a 52-6 win over Swinton and it could be a similar story on Sunday afternoon. The Raiders have pushed Sheffield and Batley close, but are winless in their last three and the Rovers should power past them this weekend.
Halifax Panthers vs Newcastle Thunder-3:00pm
Sunday should end a mini spiral for the Panthers. Fax have lost their last two games, including last weeks 42-0 drubbing at the hands of Batley. However they will be looking to put some breathing room between themselves and London Broncos in the race for the top six, and ultimately should brush struggling Newcastle aside.
Keighley Cougars vs Widnes Vikings-3:00pm
Widnes are back to winning ways after getting the better of Bradford on Monday, and should make it two on the spin on Sunday against Keighley. The Cougars are in rotten form of late, losing heavily to both Bradford and York and this could be another long day for them. Whilst Widnes aren’t in sparkling form themselves, they will have been boosted by both the result and the performance against Bradford on Monday, which should see them over the line against Keighley.
Swinton Lions vs London Broncos-3:00pm
A tough test for the Broncos on Sunday, but one they should overcome on Sunday. The visitors put on a great display against Toulouse to secure the two points, and if they perform like that against Swinton they should get another win.
Whitehaven vs Bradford Bulls-3:00pm
Bradford Bulls visit Whitehaven this Sunday looking for an improved display than they put out on Monday, and I think they will do just that. Whitehaven came up short against struggling Newcastle last time out, however they have punched well above their weight this season, but Bradford will be out for blood after Monday’s game, whilst also wanting to cement their place in the top six. It will be no push over for the West Yorkshire outfit though.
York City Knights vs Sheffield Eagles-3:00pm
The first shock prediction for this round, but I think York could stun the Eagles on Sunday. They have hit a bit of a purple patch in recent weeks; they have won two on the spin, including last weeks dismantling of Keighley, and pushed Featherstone close before this. Meanwhile the Eagles have shown glimpses of inconsistency this season, especially in their loss to Swinton. A big dangling carrot for York is also that a win pushes them firmly into the race for the playoffs.