Wigan Warriors vs Warrington Wolves (Super 8s, Fri, 7:45pm)
Forms offers little to separate all of the top four sides, so this game should be an interesting one in assessing the strength of these two with the play-offs just three weeks away.
The Magic Weekend clash highlighted Warrington’s shortcomings, and the Challenge Cup proved the start of a dark spell for Wigan. Both sides are much stronger for what they have been through over the course of the season, and I’m sure this game will be more like the last meeting, when just a point separated them.
The Wolves have responded well to Wembley disappointment but Wigan look to be in their best form all season, creatively in particular. It should be a cracker, but it should also be a home win.
Prediction: Wigan Warriors 25-18 Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings vs Halifax (Qualifiers, Sat, 3:15pm)
The two winless sides in the Qualifiers go head-to-head, and while Francis Cummins thinks that three wins out of three is possible for his Widnes side, the reality is that neither of these two will be finishing in the top five.
Fax performed admirably to force a respectable scoreline at Hull KR last week, while Widnes kept Leeds fairly quiet but continue to lack any punch of their own.
The Vikings’ winless run is now at 20 games, and losing at home to a part-time outfit would be the lowest point of an awful season for the club. The pressure is on them rather than Fax, and having already succumbed to London and Toulouse, I think things might well get even worse.
Prediction: Widnes Vikings 18-20 Halifax
Toronto Wolfpack vs Toulouse Olympique (Qualifiers, Sat, 5:30pm)
This could be the most important match of the whole weekend, as the two Championship sides battle for position in the middle of the table.
Toronto are yet to impress in the Qualifiers, and certainly not for a full 80 minutes. With two wins under the belt and a home clash with Widnes to come though, a win here should mean they will be in the Million Pound Game at least.
For Toulouse, it’s close to must-win is they want a place in the all-or-nothing decider. Last Sunday’s defeat to London, and certainly the scale of it, came as a big surprise after a positive start to the campaign, and with Hull KR and Salford left to go they need to take the two points from Canada, but it will be too tough an ask.
Prediction: Toronto Wolfpack 28-10 Toulouse Olympique
Hull Kingston Rovers vs London Broncos (Qualifiers, Sat, 6:00pm)
Hull KR were superb for 30 minutes and poor for 50 last week, and although that was just about enough to see off Halifax, London will provide a slightly more stern test, particularly after their sensational win over Toulouse.
Danny Ward’s side look to be peaking at the right time, and with Fax still to play, a win here or at home to Salford next week should lead to an MPG place, where they would rightly fancy their chances of beating anyone on their day.
Rovers are weakened by the loss of Adam Quinlan in particular, who was unplayable last Sunday. They will need to recover quickly but considering how many injuries they’ve had to cope with over the season, they should be fine. Improvement will be needed if they want a comfortable afternoon, but they should have enough.
Prediction: Hull Kingston Rovers 34-24 London Broncos