Two teams dominate the Team of the Week following massive playoff victories

The conclusion of the latest round of Super League marked just three games to go for each side with three different battles across the league, the race for the title between Wigan Warriors, Catalans Dragons and St Helens, the playoff push competed between the likes of Warrington Wolves and Hull KR, whilst the relegation battle still rages on between Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity.

This past weekend of games opened up the race for the League Leaders Shield, giving us a new team atop Super League in the form of Wigan who defeated Salford 26-8 on Friday night.

Friday also saw Catalans lose to Hull KR, who boosted their playoff hopes themselves, in a close match at Craven Park with the Robins coming out 26-18 victors and helping Wigan out, as Matt Peet’s side had done themselves in beating one of KR’s playoff rivals.

The third game on Friday saw an abandonment between Leigh and Huddersfield before the final 32 minutes were played on Sunday, much to Ian Watson and Huddersfield’s protest, even before the Giants fell to defeat.

The other results saw Warrington hammer Castleford Tigers, Wakefield Trinity lost again but closed the points difference in their defeat to St Helens, whilst Leeds Rhinos and Rohan Smith eliminated Hull FC and Tony Smith from the playoffs.

Some brilliant games that have had major impacts on the league table, but which players stood out to make the team of the week?

Full-back: Jack Walker

Former Leeds Rhinos man and current KR full-back Jack Walker makes the cut. In a man of the match performance Walker also notched up a try and following a week where head coach Willie Peters revealed Rovers wouldn’t be signing him for 2024, Walker put himself firmly in the shop window.

Wingers: Josh Charnley and Tommy Makinson

Both men picked up braces this weekend as their sides won by similar scores too. Charnley’s brace came on Friday but he couldn’t add his third on Sunday however it did break the all time Leigh top flight try scoring record. As for Makinson he just continues to quietly go about another brilliant season, much like Saints themselves who have now won six on the spin.

Centres: Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Stefan Ratchford

SKD makes an appearance for the second week running and it’s not just his try scoring that gets him a spot in this team, his leadership and experience is paying huge dividends for Rovers currently. The last two games have seen them beat two top four sides and SKD is a big part of that. As for Ratchford he picked up a try and went 11 for 11 on kicks in Wire’s rout of Castleford, a worthwhile submission.

Half-backs: George Williams and Mikey Lewis

A possible England half back pairing against Tonga? Captain Williams will certainly feature and if he performs as he did against Cas then England fans can be very excited, but Lewis is the wildcard among the English halves. He can change games and make things happen at the drop of the hat and he did so with his try on Friday night – one that extended the lead from 20-18 to 26-18, effectively killing the game.

Props: Paul Vaughan and Sam Lisone

Try scoring props are a rarity but these two bagged a brace and a hattrick this weekend to edge out some of the other big men. An honourable mention must go to Liam Byrne who was dominant against Salford, but Paul Vaughan looked like the Paul Vaughan of the opening eight rounds as he forced his way over for two tries and drained Castleford’s middles. As for Lisone a hattrick talks for itself, especially when a 17 stone prop is putting the footwork on a full back to dance through.

Hooker: Edwin Ipape

Leigh’s hooker has had a brilliant campaign and he continued that against the Giants, scoring the first try of the restarted 32 minute ‘game’ and putting it beyond Huddersfield. He just edged out St Helens’ James Roby who clocked his first try of the season.

Second-Row: Ben Currie and Liam Farrell

Two more Englishmen make their way into the team, two try scorers, but ultimately two leaders who performed exceptionally again. Warrington put on a score and it was the dominance of their forwards, not least Currie, that set that up. Whereas Farrell and Wigan had to game manage in what was at times a wild match with Salford, with the skipper scoring another try as he chases down Kieron Cunningham’s all time record for tries by a forward in Super League.

Loose Forward: James Harrison

Harrison is a prop by nature but Gary Chambers played him as a thirteen on Saturday and he more than impressed in the role, picking up a try, helping lay the forwards foundation and showing some impressive hands that warranted the selection at thirteen.