It’s that time of the week again when pundits and fans try and predict how Super League fixtures will pan out at the weekend. Here are the predictions for round nine.
Castleford v Hull FC
The Tigers come into the game riding the high of their Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Warrington last week, which saw them book their place at Wembley for the first time since 2014. In contrast, Hull suffered a 33-18 defeat in their hard-fought semi-final against St Helens, meaning they’ve now won just one of their last four games in all competitions.
After last week’s triumph, Daryl Powell makes five changes to his squad, with Niall Evalds, Jake Trueman, Cheyse Blair, Gareth O’Brien and Daniel Smith dropping out. George Griffin returns from suspension, while Danny Richardson, Lewis Bienek, Lewis Peachey and Brad Graham are also included. There’s one change for the Black and Whites as Josh Griffin drops out following an achilles tear last week, while he has also been suspended for two games. He is replaced by Mitieli Vulikijapani, who is recalled from a loan spell at Bradford.
Castleford will likely be suffering a cup hangover, whilst Hull will be in the mood for blood.
Hull by 18
Warrington v Wakefield
The Wolves will be keen to bounce back after last week’s Challenge Cup semi-final disappointment, which saw their Wembley dreams dashed by a 35-20 loss to Castleford. Despite not being in Cup action, Trinity did have a game last week as they took on Leigh at home, holding on to win 30-20 – their third straight victory.
Warrington are unchanged from last week, with rookies Rob Butler, Josh Thewlis, Connor Wrench and Ellis Longstaff all named despite missing out. Chris Chester also names an unchanged side. Tom Johnstone keeps his place and could be in line to return from concussion protocols after missing out against Leigh.
It will be interesting to see how Steve Price gets his men back up for the league after crashing out of the cup in miserable fashion, but Chester’s men are on a roll.
Wakefield by 6
Hull KR v Salford
Neither side were in Challenge Cup action last week and so have had two weeks’ preparation for this game. Rovers will be looking to build on a fairly impressive run of form that has seen them notch victories over Leigh and Castleford in their last three games. The Red Devils, meanwhile, still have just one league win under their belts in 2021 and have lost their last five in all competitions.
There’s just one change for KR as Mikey Lewis returns from a loan stint with York in place of Will Dagger, who has joined Featherstone for a loan spell of his own. Richard Marshall makes four changes, with Andy Ackers, Pauli Pauli and Josh Johnson all returning, while young centre or back rower Ben Davies is included after joining on loan from St Helens. Kallum Watkins (knee), James Greenwood and Connor Aspey drop out, while Darcy Lussick has joined Featherstone on loan.
Hull KR should be far too strong for Salford here.
Hull KR by 14
Leigh v Catalans
Still without a win in Super League in 2021, Leigh showed some great improvement against Hull KR last weekend. Catalans, meanwhile, have had two weeks’ rest following their Challenge Cup exit in the early rounds. Joel Tomkins is out for the Dragons after succumbing to a four-match ban.
There could be a surprise here, watch this space.
Leigh by 6