We’re back to a full round of fixtures and there’s plenty at stake. Here are my predictions…
Wigan Warriors vs Leeds Rhinos (Thu, 7:45pm)
These two heavyweights haven’t had the best time of late, with Wigan losing four of the last five and Leeds their last six in Super League.
The Warriors are slowly improving, but they are still a long way off the confident, free-flowing side we saw at the start of the season.
While Wigan still lie second Leeds have slipped to seventh, just a point from the bottom four. They have had a lot of injuries but should still be doing better with what they have, although they are rarely well beaten in matches. A victory isn’t far away but Wigan is a tough place to go to find one.
Prediction: Wigan Warriors 24-20 Leeds Rhinos
Hull FC vs Widnes Vikings (Fri, 7:45pm)
Hull FC’s unbeaten home run came to an end last tie out and they now look very much like outsiders in the race for the top four spots.
For Widnes, the only aim is survival. They are on their all-time record losing run after an eleventh consecutive defeat, and Francis Cummins will have started preparations for the fight ahead in the Qualifiers.
It’s hard to see where a win will come from against a fellow Super League side, and surely Hull will be too strong on Friday.
Prediction: Hull FC 44-10 Widnes Vikings
St Helens vs Wakefield Trinity (Fri, 7:45pm)
St Helens now lead the Super League table by six points, with nine wins in a row taking them closer to a deserved League Leaders’ Shield.
Of course, the last team to put a dent in their record was Wakefield, who beat them 24-20 at home in April.
Trinity have been picking up recently and look impressive, and they sit just two points behind fifth-placed Hull FC. Tests don’t come tougher than this though, and Saints will be favourites.
Prediction: St Helens 32-24 Wakefield Trinity
Warrington Wolves vs Salford Red Devils (Fri, 7:45pm)
Warrington have slipped down to fourth but I see no reason to worry about them, even if neither of the last couple of games have gone smoothly.
There is plenty to worry about for Salford though, who lie three points from eighth place despite victory over Widnes last time out.
They need more wins quickly but they don’t look like they have the quality to turn over one of the top sides, and Warrington should be able to see them off.
Prediction: Warrington Wolves 36-12 Salford Red Devils
Hull Kingston Rovers vs Huddersfield Giants (Fri, 8:00pm)
Hull KR look all but certain to be in the Qualifiers yet again this season, despite showing great spirit to earn a draw at Castleford a fortnight ago.
There just isn’t the quality in the side to put a run of games together though, unlike at Huddersfield where there the Giants are on a five match winning streak.
They are yet to face a serious test on that run and while Rovers will be able to push them close, I think the winning run will continue.
Prediction: Hull Kingston Rovers 22-26 Huddersfield Giants
Catalans Dragons vs Castleford Tigers (Sat, 5:00pm)
Home form remains crucial for them, and the next to face the tough trip to Perpignan is a Castleford side that continues to overachieve in their circumstances.
This one really could go either and it should be very tight, but with a good home crowd behind them I think Catalans will get over the line.
Prediction: Catalans Dragons 26-24 Castleford Tigers