Ahead of a big game in the context of the play-off race, Jon Wilkin and Barrie McDermott of Sky Sports assessed each team’s play-off hopes ahead of the run in towards Old Trafford.
The teams from fifth to tenth were all considered play-off hopefuls with the top four of St Helens, Wigan, Huddersfield and Catalans regarded as settled whilst Castleford, Hull FC, Leeds, Hull KR, Salford and Warrington are all in the running for the other two play-off spots.
Two of those teams met yesterday in Castleford and Warrington with the Tigers further cementing their position inside the top six with a 35-22 win over former boss Daryl Powell and his Warrington side whose play-off hopes are now remote at best.
But what about the other teams?
One side considered a favourite for the play-offs at the start of the season have been emerging as a major contender in the play-off race in Leeds Rhinos.
After a horrific start to the season, wins over Hull FC and the Tigers got Leeds back in the hunt especially considering the exhilarating rugby they’re playing under new boss Rohan Smith.
But one man who knows the road to Old Trafford oh so well had his say on Leeds’ play-off hopes in Jon Wilkin who said on Sky Sports: “I think things are looking up for them. Aidan Sezer is back to his best. His celebration after his try at the Magic Weekend was a release of emotion and frustration not just his frustration but the frustration of many star players at the club.
“Once they get past their frustration, I believe they have all the constituent parts to make the play-offs and be a competitive team.”
However there was more frustration for Leeds yesterday as they were without plenty of key players including Liam Sutcliffe who pulled out of the match at the last minute due to illness.
That helped Leeds on to a shock defeat to Toulouse who lifted themselves off the bottom of the league for the first time this season.
It is certainly a blow to Leeds’ play-off hopes. Though still possible, it makes Leeds’ other trips to France in the run in all the more important.