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Championship Round Nine: Kick-off times, TV coverage and predictions


It’s Round Nine of the Betfred Championship and with Featherstone continuing to pull away a chasing pack has formed in the incredibly tight division.

The league is so tight that aside from the four point gap separating Featherstone in first and Toulouse in second, there isn’t a single gap of more than two points separating any two sides.

Last week saw upset wins and derby games but round nine has plenty in store too.

Keighley Cougars vs Toulouse Olympique

Kick-off: Saturday 15:00pm
Prediction: Keighley 24-22 Toulouse

The upset could be on the cards this weekend with the home side coming off the back of two major upsets in the league anyway, at this point maybe they’re not upsets and Keighley are just a very solid side? Wins over Bradford and York will give them huge confidence and with Toulouse on the road anything is possible, as seen with the French side losing two of their four away games and only beating Widnes by two points. More so Toulouse have only scored 60 points on the road compared to 218 at home and the Cougars have won three of four at Cougar Park, only losing to unbeaten Featherstone.

Bradford Bulls vs Batley Bulldogs

Kick-off: Sunday 15:00pm
Prediction: Bradford 30-18 Batley

The Bulls should be too strong for Batley especially at Odsal where they’ve been perfect this season winning all four league games including over the teams placed second, third and fourth in the table. As for Batley they had found some form of their own prior to Featherstone last week, however they did scare Sean Long’s men so this could remain close on the scoreboard but expect a home win.

Halifax Panthers vs York Knights

Kick-off: Sunday 15:00pm
Prediction: Halifax 26-24 York

This is an incredibly tight game to call, or so it looks on paper. Fax were unlucky at times against Bradford on Monday with sloppy errors causing a lot of their issues but that’s the only game they’ve lost at the Shay this year. As for York they’re on a three game slide in the league and Andrew Henderson’s side are in desperate need of a win. They beat Fax here late last season by a score of 26-24 but the tables will turn this week and the home side get revenge.

London Broncos vs Featherstone Rovers

Kick-off: Sunday 15:00pm
Prediction: London 8-52 Featherstone

Sean Long will be disappointed with a few recent performances despite their wins but heading to London could be the get right game that Rovers need. They’ve averaged 45 points the last two times they played the capital’s team and with London reeling from a 52-0 loss to Toulouse, now could be the time for Fev to put another huge score up. Prior to that loss London had found form but only against the likes of Swinton, Newcastle and Whitehaven but facing top of the table Rovers will be too much.

Whitehaven vs Newcastle Thunder

Kick-off: Sunday 15:00pm
Prediction: Whitehaven 24-16 Newcastle

Both of these teams are struggling with Haven sitting 11th and Newcastle languishing at the bottom of the table. Newcastle haven’t won in the league since round one with their only wins since coming against amateur sides in the Challenge Cup. On the other hand Whitehaven have defeated York and their rivals Barrow, both away from home, in recent weeks and having only lost their home games by a combined total of six points. With the form they’re in it should be enough so they can send Newcastle back to the North East with a loss.

Widnes Vikings vs Barrow Raiders

Kick-off: Sunday 15:00pm
Prediction: Widnes 34-16 Barrow

Both of these sides have been struggling at times, albeit Barrow have struggled a lot more. After their maiden campaign in the Championship last year when they placed fourth it’s been a case of second season syndrome and they’ve struggled a lot currently sitting 13th with one win and a draw. Despite that they aren’t getting blown away but an inability to score more than 20 points (something they’ve done just once) is costing them. Widnes on the other hand bounced back from cup defeat to League One Dewsbury with an impressive win over Swinton and John Kear’s men will look to build on that.

Sheffield Eagles vs Swinton Lions

Kick-off: Monday 19:30pm
TV Coverage: Viaplay Sports One
Prediction: Sheffield 56-4 Swinton

Sheffield have been very impressive this season and a home game on the telly provides them a great opportunity to put on a show. The Monday night slot has seen some one-sided games such as Widnes’ thrashing of Halifax and opening week when Featherstone put 50 on Keighley, and this could be the same. The Eagles are three from three at home including victory over Toulouse whereas Swinton have lost their last three on the road and have conceded the third most points in the division. This could be a statement win to define themselves as the team to chase down Rovers.

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