The Qualifiers heat up while the top four could be finalised this week. Here are my predictions…
Wigan Warriors vs Wakefield Trinity (Super 8s, Thu, 7:45pm)
Wigan haven’t had the smoothest of campaigns but they look to be peaking at exactly the right time after a brilliant performance to deny St Helens the Shield last week.
Now that their creative problems have been resolved with George Williams on hot form, and Sean O’Loughlin has returned to lead them, they look a great side and if they can keep things up for another few weeks then they may well be favourites going into the play-offs.
The season is effectively over for Wakefield but they showed that the desire is still there with a great win at Huddersfield, whose fifth place they will be eying up. Consistency is always their problem though, and travelling to Wigan will be too tough a task at any rate.
Prediction: Wigan Warriors 32-12 Wakefield Trinity
Hull FC vs Castleford Tigers (Super 8s, Fri, 7:45pm)
Hull are in a right old mess on the field right now, that’s for sure. The question is whether they can recover things before the end of the season, because they simply can’t put on another show as bad as last week at Warrington.
Cas are on a roll and are building nicely ahead of the play-offs, even if a home semi-final looks unlikely. The return of half-backs Ben Roberts and Luke Gale last week came at a perfect time, and the Man of Steel already looks in good shape to lead them.
It’s hard to guess what Hull side we’ll see but I think Castleford will be too strong anyway.
Prediction: Hull FC 10-44 Castleford Tigers
Warrington Wolves vs Huddersfield Giants (Super 8s, Fri, 7:45pm)
Huddersfield’s great run came to an end last week and it looks like the top four will be out of reach, and a win for Warrington here makes that certain.
The Wolves were great against Hull but it’s hard to take a huge lot out of a game like that. What it will have done is give them a huge confidence boost though, just days after defeat at Wembley.
The Giants will look to make amends and finish off strongly, but I think Warrington will get the win.
Prediction: Warrington Wolves 24-16 Huddersfield Giants
Salford Red Devils vs Toronto Wolfpack (Qualifiers, Sat, 3:15pm)
Salford are the only side to have maximum points in the Qualifiers after three games, and they have been in brilliant form. The signing of Jackson Hastings has been a masterstroke and their half-back partnership is deadly, while Joey Lussick has made a huge impact as well.
Toronto will be a big challenge but they are yet to impress me in this competition, with two poor performances followed by a win against London that was blurred by a sloppy final half hour.
They don’t look quite Super League ready yet, but this is a game they may need to win to make the top three. The Red Devils look a much better team though with real quality in their side, and they will be more professional too, so I can only see a home win.
Prediction: Salford Red Devils 30-18 Toronto Wolfpack
Read the rest of my predictions on page 2…