Monday, 8 May 2017

Super League Round-up

Super League Round-up


Following last week’s round-up of the Championship I’ll take a look at the 12 Super League clubs and see how they’ve faired with just 10 rounds of the regular season remaining.

CASTLEFORD TIGERS

Round 6 – 1st / 10 points
Round 13 – 1st / 20 points

Castleford’s excellent season just keeps on getting better for Daryl Powell and his men.  After a blistering opening quarter to the season they have continued their scintillating form and won a further five games from their next seven matches.

A demolition of Huddersfield Giants was followed by a fantastic away victory over Wigan Warriors but a short dip in form saw the Tigers lose to both St Helens and Hull FC in consecutive weeks.  But a further emphatic victory over Wigan and a narrow defeat of Huddersfield kept them top of the pile.

HULL FC

Round 6 – 2nd / 10 points
Round 13 – 2nd / 19 points

The Black and Whites are another side that haven’t changed places.  A slight dip which included a draw against Warrington Wolves and heavy defeats at home to Salford Red Devils and Leeds Rhinos saw them slip down a place or two.

But four consecutive victories, including the home win over league-leaders Castleford have moved them back up the table and just one point off the top.  Continue in this form and Hull are surely a shoe-in for the Play-offs.

SALFORD RED DEVILS

Round 6 – 5th / 8 points (from 7 games)
Round 13 – 3rd / 18 points

Salford have gone from strength to strength in this second quarter of the campaign.  After losing to St Helens in Round 7 they’ve gone on an amazing run of form to find themselves in the dizzy heights of the top three.

The Red Devils have found the perfect coach in Ian Watson and Marwan Koukash must be rubbing his hands at the prospect of playing for a Play-off place towards the end of the season.  Especially after the drama of last season!

LEEDS RHINOS

Round 6 – 3rd / 10 points (from 7 games)
Round 13 – 4th / 18 points

This year we’ve definitely started to see glimpses of the old Leeds.  They’re not back to their treble-winning best by any means but excellent victories over pre-season title favourites Wigan Warriors, Hull and Widnes Vikings around Easter shifted them up the table.

Their Magic Weekend match against Castleford will be a big test but they will be itching to make amends for their disappointing showing against the same opposition in Round 3 and if they can snatch a win then who knows what they can achieve this season?

WIGAN WARRIORS

Round 6 – 4th / 9 points
Round 13 – 5h / 15 points

The Warriors have slipped down the table slightly after a tough period for them.  Injuries haven’t helped their cause and they’ve only won four of their most recent seven matches and has seen them slip down a place due to the excellent form of the Red Devils and Hull.

Wigan won both of their Easter fixtures, over St Helens and Wakefield Trinity, followed six days later by victory over Catalans Dragons but that was followed by defeats to Castleford and Salford in the preceding two weeks.  They have a big six weeks coming up with what looks to be a depleted squad.

WAKEFIELD TRINITY

Round 6 – 8th / 6 points

Round 13 – 6th / 14 points

Another side who has surprised a number of fans this season, Wakefield are still on the right side of the Super 8’s/Qualifiers split for their expectations.  They’ve won more games than they’ve lost and produced some great results, particularly their victory in France in Round 7.

They've had a tendency to come unstuck against the traditionally bigger names in Super League this year and the injury to influential winger Tom Johnstone will be a big blow to Chris Chester’s side.  This is another club that has a big few weeks ahead of them.

ST HELENS

Round 6 – 6th / 6 points
Round 13 – 7th / 11 points

Where do we start with St Helens?  They are probably one of the most inconsistent sides in Super League this season.  The departure of Kieran Cunningham doesn’t seem to have helped their cause at present and heavy defeats to Salford, Wigan and, most recently, Warrington have not come as a major surprise.

What was surprising was the 16-14 defeat to Widnes in Round 11, just a week after a 26-22 victory over Castleford!  Their form this quarter has seen them almost drop into the bottom four and they could be really struggling to make the Play-offs this year.

CATALANS DRAGONS

Round 6 – 9th / 5 points
Round 13 – 8th / 11 points

Another club who has been up and down this season is the Catalans Dragons.  They haven’t been able to recreate their form from early last year and have been flirting with the bottom four as much as the Saints.

They have proven again this year that they can finally win on English soil, albeit recent victories have come from consecutive trips to Leigh and Huddersfield, and they did enjoy a 22 point win over Salford a week later.  But three further defeats in recent weeks have meant they stay just inside the Super 8’s places.

WARRINGTON WOLVES

Round 6 – 12th / 0 points
Round 13 – 9th / 11 points

The Wolves seem to be a completely different team from earlier this season!  Wire fans must have been dreading the worst after six straight defeats but a home draw with Hull seemed to rejuvenate Tony Smith’s side.

And five wins from their most recent six games has seen them take points from all but their trip to Hull in Round 12 and they now have a serious chance of breaking into the top eight for the end of season split.

HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS

Round 6 – 10th / 5 points (from 7 games)
Round 13 – 10th / 8 points

Of the teams languishing in the bottom three, the Giants have the most realistic chance of trying to break into the top eight.  Inconsistency and injuries are key factors of their season and the fans must be tearing their hair out at the moment.

Albeit it was the Challenge Cup, the defeat to Championship side Swinton Lions could have been the final straw for some supporters but ultimately, it could be a blessing in disguise as they have no distractions from now on.

LEIGH CENTURIONS

Round 6 – 7th / 6 points (from 7 games)
Round 13 – 11th / 6 points

The honeymoon period is well and truly over for the Leigh Centurions.  After an excellent start to the campaign they have not won a game since victory over Warrington on 16 March.  Seven consecutive defeats and a Challenge Cup exit at the hands of Hull KR have seen them slip the furthest of any of the 12 sides.

They only survived ending the week bottom of the table thanks to Hull’s amazing comeback victory over Widnes on Sunday but a lot can happen in ten games so they've just got to think that the season is not over yet.  Victory over Salford on Magic Weekend could well get the good times rolling again at the Leigh Sports Village.

WIDNES VIKINGS

Round 6 – 11th / 1 point

Round 13 – 12th / 5 points

I get the feeling that Widnes just can’t catch a break this season.  Having played much of the early part of the season without their preferred half back partnership they were unable to get their first win of the season until Round 11.

Their recent defeat to Hull was no doubt a heart-wrenching experience for Viking fans but epitomises their season as a whole.  If Widnes had won it could have paved the way for a mini revival but ultimately left Widnes stuck at the bottom of the table.

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