Another week of Super League has been and gone. We now only have six rounds of action to go as we get set for the dramatic conclusion to the season.
This week, as much as any, told us plenty about the sides looking to secure Super League glory this term. We learnt about the Champions, the runners-up, the champions-elect and the dark horses.
So, with that in mind, here’s the five major talking points from this weekend’s rugby.
1. Grand Finalists struggling for cutting edge
When it comes to defensive sides and teams with the grit needed to win at Old Trafford, look no further than last year’s two Grand Finalists in St Helens and Wigan. Even as both fell to defeat this week, they showed grit and defensive smarts. But it was their inability to cross the line that proved their undoing. Both sides seemed to struggle to come up with crucial scores in their defeats. Yes, Wigan scored three tries in the first half of their lose to Hull KR but in the second they had plenty of chances to take the lead and didn’t. If either side want to win the Grand Final this year, that has to change.
2. Can Hull KR get to Old Trafford?
Why not? They’re the best side to watch in the league by far and their ability to score tries almost at will could stand them in good stead where their title hopes are concerned. No team will want to face them in a knock-out game and it’s not like they lack experience. In the shape of Ryan Hall, Kane Linnett and Shaun Kenny-Dowall they have three of the best leaders in the competition. Play-off rugby is not yet a certainty however making Saturday’s derby against Hull FC extra special.
3. Warrington lacking consistency
For the majority of the season, it’s felt like a two horse race where the League Leaders’ Shield is concerned but really it should’ve had a third contestant. I’ve seen Warrington at their best this season and they’re as good as Catalans and St Helens and have beaten both. But for every superb showing against a side like Saints there’s a defeat like the one they suffered today. Take nothing away from Wakefield, they played well to beat the Wolves but if Warrington want to cement their title credentials they need to do away with defeats like the one they suffered today.
4. Catalans in control
There was a worry that last week’s defeat to St Helens signified a shift in momentum but a week on and the Dragons are well in command of the race for top spot after victory over Hull FC. It was hardly a classic performance against the Black and Whites but it was a win and sees the Dragons very much in control of their own destiny following St Helens’ defeat to Castleford.
5. Who’ll make the top six?
Your guess is as good as mine at the moment. Right now, I’d suggest the current top five will be playing finals rugby at the end of the season but it appears one of three teams could snatch sixth spot. Leeds got back on track against Leigh on Friday, when Hull FC get their first team on the field again they can beat anyone whilst Castleford appear to have found some form and could make a late surge for sixth spot.