The regular Super League season drew to a close this week with Wigan Warriors, St Helens and Catalans Dragons battling for the League Leaders’ Shield, Hull KR and Leigh Leopards in a shoot out for fourth spot whilst Warrington Wolves were in a battle f0r sixth spot and the final play off position with Salford Red Devils.
The only game that had no part to play in any of these battles was between Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers, with both teams simply playing for pride, and it was the Rhinos who responded best after their two humiliating losses of late.
Rohan Smith’s Rhinos have lost their last two games by a combined score of 111-0 but they turned up at Headingley tonight with a massive 46-0 win over the Tigers
As for the battle at the top of the table it was the Battle of the Borough that headlined the matches with Leigh hosting Wigan in an incredibly hard fought match.
A win for the Warriors and they’d lift the League Leaders Shield, such was their dominant points difference, and Matt Peet’s side managed that by a score of 10-6.
That wasn’t a score without controversy though as Oliver Gildart saw a try overturned in the second half.
That Wigan win meant that Catalans, who faced a Salford side chasing playoffs, and St Helens, hosting Hull FC, were battling it out for second place and a home semi-final plus a crucial bye round.
Saints went about their business and put Tony Smith’s FC side away by a score of 30-12, whilst Salford put up a major fight against the Dragons in their hopes of making the playoffs but ultimately they fell short 19-9.
Salford’s loss meant that Warrington made the playoffs and they sealed it in good fashion with a 20-8 win over Huddersfield Giants, Chris McQueen scoring a try on his final game before hanging up the boots for the losing Giants.
With the League Leaders Shield settled, Warrington into the six ahead of Salford, it meant the key score that mattered was Hull KR on their trip to Wakefield Trinity.
Trinity got relegated last week but they had the task of helping out Leigh gain a home playoff game by keeping Rovers quiet but they couldn’t manage that.
Brad Schneider and Mikey Lewis shone in a game where Rovers ran riot, putting up 56 points in a monstrous 56-12 win.
That was a win by such a large margin that it saw Rovers leapfrog Leigh into fourth place, meaning that Rovers will host the Leopards in the playoffs – a huge advantage.
That’s now set up a playoff picture that sees St Helens host Warrington Wolves and Hull KR host Leigh Leopards next week, before Wigan and Catalans will face the winners for a date at Old Trafford.
But did any side suffer a decisive injury blow?
Well Leigh had to reveal that both Zak Hardaker and John Asiata’s seasons could be over with scans waiting for both players over a thumb injury and a hamstring strain.
Wigan dodged a bullet with Toby King passing his HIA whilst there was a concern over Tyler Dupree but he seemed to come through the game in fine condition.
There are concerns for Warrington and Hull KR with illness for Matty Ashton and Kane Linnett whilst Hull KR were forced into a late change with Dean Hadley withdrawn just before the game
The saddest injury was perhaps the head injury to Nathan Peats ending his career in the worst way.