Four weeks into the season and things are beginning to shape up. The challengers are beginning to pull away from the pretenders and we’re starting to get a good look at who are going to be the star performers this season.
This week has revealed a lot about Super League XXVI and those set for success in 2021.
With that in mind, let’s look at five major talking points from this weekend’s Super League action.
1. Hull KR improving
Many expected Hull KR to continue to struggle in 2021. After finishing bottom last year it was expected that they’d be one of the strugglers this season. However, it appears that may not be the case. The Robins continue to buy into Tony Smith’s attacking philosophies and it’s working for them. With the exception of the loss to St Helens, Hull KR have gone close in every game this season and turned on the style to plough through a hapless Leeds Rhinos side. They could be real contenders for the top six if they continue in this form.
2. Relegation battle beginning to shape up
Going into this season people were fairly optimistic about Huddersfield and Leeds. Both were expected to push for the top six or even major honours. But after four league games the pair only have one win between them. Right now they’re in a scrap at the wrong end of the table making their clash next week a must win game for both sides. The Giants will be looking to build on a positive display against St Helens this week. Meanwhile, Leeds desperately need to find a winning formula again. Salford claimed a vital 2 points against winless Leigh on Friday night applying further pressure on the Rhinos and Giants. Wakefield also remain winless leaving them, along with the others, in danger at the bottom.
3. Fans desperate for consistency
Many were baffled on Friday night when Hull FC’s Bureta Faraimo’s late and high shot only yielded a yellow card in a departure from the decision to send Zane Tetevano off for a similar offence in the Challenge Cup a few weeks ago. Now both interpretations aren’t necessarily wrong from the officials. Both could be advocated as approaches referees should take when dealing with such offences. However, the inconsistency is frustrating for fans. One philosophy needs to be adopted when dealing with these incidents.
4. Warrington written off too soon?
After Warrington’s opening weekend defeat to Castleford, many wrote Warrington off. However, even though they weren’t brilliant in victory against Catalans on Saturday, they showed me enough to be considered contenders. Their attack definitely needs to improve however their defence was magnificent whilst claiming a victory against Catalans away always takes real character. Strong defence and good character are two attributes required to achieve success and the Wolves clearly have them. If they can find an attacking formula at some stage this season then they could be a real threat. Remember nothing is won in April. They have time to get it right before October.
5. The Grand Finalists are pulling away
After Round 4 only St Helens and Wigan still have a 100% record at the top of the league. Champions St Helens haven’t been too flash in the opening four games but have done enough to claim four wins from four. Their defence has been magnificent. Meanwhile, Wigan have missed some of their key players in the opening few rounds and yet still continually claimed wins. Talisman Bevan French returned to the fold on Thursday night and was absolutely mesmeric alongside Jackson Hastings. Both teams look a cut above the rest at the moment.