This weekend saw some pivotal fixtures throughout the table.
Wigan and Hull FC battled it out on Thursday night in an absolute thriller which was followed by four Friday night games in which Huddersfield downed the travelling Catalans Dragons, and Warrington and Leeds were dealt further blows to their already unsettled seasons.
After all that, here are our five biggest talking points from the weekend’s action.
Hull KR looking strong
Hull KR capitalised on Warrington’s poor form by picking up a third win of the season, and despite sitting in just eighth place, a second consecutive year off play-off rugby could be on the cards. All of Hull KR’s losses have come against the top four teams, and as the season goes on, they are likely to start picking up points against the top sides as they did last year. If they continue to beat teams around and below them then they have a real chance of claiming a highly competitive play-off spot.
Wigan yet again finding a way to win
Despite making it six wins from seven against Hull FC on Thursday night, they have not made it easy for themselves in Super league in recent games. The hosts left it late to deflate the travelling Black and Whites with Harry Smith’s second drop goal of the season earning the home side a 19-18 victory. The month of March saw Wigan win three of their four league games, including two victories by just a single point against Toulouse and Hull FC as well as a hard-fought win over Castleford. Although currently failing to play at their full potential, Wigan’s ability to get over the line when not performing at their best shows promise especially when they are likely to only improve throughout the season.
Huddersfield put down a marker against Catalans
Before Round Seven, there were three teams sat at the top of the table who had lost just one game: St Helens, Wigan and Catalans. On Friday night, Huddersfield changed all that as they inflicted Catalans’ second loss of the season to propel themselves into third place. Ian Watson’s first year at the Giants was underwhelming but his second season has been much closer to what Huddersfield fans would have hoped for when Watson controversially jumped ship to the West Yorkshire club. Just two points off top spot, there will no doubt be serious talks about silverware or at least a final this season.
Who will get the Leeds Rhinos job?
A resilient yet ultimately unimpressive performance against league leaders St Helens on Friday resulted in yet another loss for the Rhinos. This made 2022 Leeds Rhinos’ worst ever start to a season in Super League history. Jamie Jones-Buchanan has been given the role as interim head coach of the club, but after two games in charge both resulting in relatively heavy defeats, a permanent appointment and soon is a must. The club faces a real dilemma in terms of selecting a coach, considering there are not a great deal of prospects available and the decision has to be the correct one.
Will St Helens’ defence make them too good for everyone else?
The dominance of St Helens in the past few seasons is well documented, and their quality in both defence and attack has been the best in the competition pretty much every year since 2018. However, this year Saints have defended extremely well, conceding 50 points in the first seven games of the season. The Champions have conceded more than 10 points on just one occasion all season, and Friday night’s nilling of a determined Leeds side summed up just how well they can defend their own line. This level of defence will make it very difficult for the likes of Wigan and Catalans to upset their dominance.