It’s the penultimate round of the 8s and there’s plenty at stake in the Qualifiers. Here are my predictions…
Huddersfield Giants vs Wigan Warriors (Super 8s, Thu, 7:45pm)
Huddersfield’s season has petered out with three successive defeats, and with injuries piling up as well it’s a low-key end to a dramatic year for the Giants.
Wigan still have the big games ahead of them, and they could seal a home semi-final with a win here – and considering their brilliant home form, that puts one foot in the Grand Final already.
They left it late last week but the defence was impressive, and I don’t see Huddersfield causing them too many problems. Shaun Wane will want to see improvement in his attack this week, and if they can do that then it will be a comfortable win.
Prediction: Huddersfield Giants 10-38 Wigan Warriors
Castleford Tigers vs Wakefield Trinity (Super 8s, Fri, 7:45pm)
Next to display their top four credentials will be Castleford, who are growing into form at just the right time of the season.
The win over Huddersfield wasn’t as simple as the scoreline suggests but they impressed in the end, and in doing so without Luke Gale they look in better shape than last year to deal with whatever is thrown at them in the closing weeks.
Wakefield should be up for a derby game and they were red-hot last week, although Tom Johnstone’s injury is a shame. Which Wakefield we’ll see is usually anyone’s guess but the Tigers should be too good.
Prediction: Castleford Tigers 26-12 Wakefield Trinity
Warrington Wolves vs St Helens (Super 8s, Sat, 3:15pm)
The only real game of interest in the Super 8s comes on Saturday, and hopefully these two sides produce the kind of cracking game that they should be able to.
It needed a penalty after the hooter to decide the teams last time and it should be close again, with Saints’ Shield celebrations doing little to cover the fact that they are well short of top form.
Warrington competed well but lacked the end product last week against Wigan, and with a number of personnel changes in that game it will be interesting what side Steve Price puts out. It really could go either way, so I’ll go for the Wolves this time.
Prediction: Warrington Wolves 18-12 St Helens
Hull FC vs Catalans Dragons (Super 8s, Sat, 5:00pm)
There’s little at stake in this one but Hull will desperately want to end their losing run before the end of the season, and with a trip to the DW Stadium to look forward to in the final round of games, they could really do with two points here.
The same might apply to Catalans to a lesser to extent, having not picked up a Super League win since July, but as the Challenge Cup hangover continues the onus is on the Black and Whites to finally show themselves again.
Prediction: Hull FC 24-20 Catalans Dragons
See my Qualifiers predictions on page 2…