After the Challenge Cup final weekend all the clubs were back in action this weekend, and they did not disappoint. The race for promotion in The Qualifiers got even tighter with some shock results and the fight for a top-four spot in the Super 8s hotted up.
Warrington Wolves 80-10 Hull FC
The Wolves bounced back from a disappointing Challenge Cup Final defeat to hammer Hull FC at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
This was a record defeat for the Black and Whites as Bryson Goodwin was the pick of the bunch scoring five tries for the Wolves.
This defeat means that Hull are seven points adrift of Warrington in sixth and all but out of the race for the top four.
Warrington’s victory saw them briefly move up to third in the Super 8s, three points behind second-placed Wigan but other results over the weekend left them back in fourth spot six points ahead of Huddersfield.
The Wolves will be hoping that they can beat The Giants on Friday night and that Hull can pull off a victory against Castleford that same evening to make the race for second even tighter.
Huddersfield Giants 16-42 Wakefield Trinity
Wakefield put a big dent in Huddersfields chances of the semi-finals with a thumping of the Giants.
Although the Giants led 16-6 at one point. Wakefield scored 36 unanswered points in the second half to close the gap between the two sides to two points.
However, both sides sit six and eight points off fourth-placed Warrington, and with just eight points remaining it will be highly unlikely for either of these sides to be competing in October.
Huddersfield will still be hoping to beat Warrington on Friday to close the gap to four points, but after Warringtons beat victory and this loss for the Giants, I don’t see Huddersfield pulling off a shock.
St. Helens 10-30 Wigan Warriors
This was the biggest game of the weekend as Saints were hoping to beat their closest rivals to lift the League Leaders Shield. Wigan had other ideas and denied the Saints the chance of celebrating that night.
This has only prolonged the inevitable however as a win for Saints against Catalans in France on Saturday would be all that they need to lift the shield. Wigan now know that the chance for them to lift the League Leaders shield is out of their hands but they will do their best to prevent Saints from doing so.
Firstly, they welcome Wakefield on Thursday night and will look to beat Trinity to put the pressure onto Saints, who don’t play until Saturday. Wigan will need to beat Trinity in order to hold onto second.
Castleford Tigers 36-4 Catalans Dragons
Castleford all but confirmed their semi-final spot with this big victory over Catalans.
The Dragons would have been hoping for a victory, despite their season no longer meaning anything. Centre Brayden Williame said that the Dragons wouldn’t coast but after this performance it looks like they may well be as they have nothing to play for.
Saints travel to the Dragons on Saturday and will be looking to avenge the Challenge Cup semi-final loss and lift the League Leaders Shield.
Castleford on the other hand, travel to Hull FC and will hope that they can win because if Wakefield can beat Wigan, the Tigers could move up into second and will fight for a home semi-final. The season is definitely not over for Cas who want to make up for last seasons Old Trafford disappointment.
I don’t see Saint failing to secure top-spot, despite the loss to Wigan, and the Warriors are too strong to drop out of the play-off spots. The Tigers will be confident of being able to keep the 6 point gap between them and fifth-placed Huddersfield. However, Cas will also be looking at taking second spot away from The Warriors.
Catalans, Wakefield and Hull FC are all too far away from the top-four to threaten anybody but they will not want to disappoint their fans and will look to finish their seasons on a high, potentially hindering other teams in the process.
Halifax 4-62 Salford Red Devils
Salford maintained their 100% winning record in the Qualifiers with a 12-try win over Halifax. This leaves the Red Devils as the only side with maximum points after three games to all but confirm their Super League status.
Halifax on the other hand will most likely be looking at another year in The Championship as they suffered their third consecutive loss.
Next up, Halifax travel to another Super League side in Hull K.R., who stunned Leeds this weekend, and will be looking to pick up a victory of their own to try and sneak into the Million Pound Game as chances of automatic promotion are extremely slim.
Salford welcome Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday and will look to keep their 100% record going.
Toronto Wolfpack 34-22 London Broncos
Toronto’s first-half hammering of the Broncos was just about enough to get the victory over a London side who, once again, showed why you shouldn’t rule them out with four tries over a 12-minute period.
With Toronto being one of the five teams sat on two victories, they will be hoping that they can beat Salford next weekend to make the race for promotion even tighter than it already is.
London have only one win from the first three matches but they know that a victory against Toulouse will leave both them, and the french club on two victories and still gives them a chance of automatic promotion.
Toulouse 42-22 Widnes Vikings
Widnes suffered a third loss of their Qualifiers campaign after Toulouse showed that Catalans may not be the only French side in Super League in 2019.
Widnes’ Super League status is hanging on by a thread, as even if they win their next three matches, they could still miss out on the Million Pound Game if other results don’t go their way.
Toulouse travel to London this weekend and they will also be hoping to make it three wins out of four alongside Salford.
Leeds Rhinos 36-38 Hull KR
This was perhaps the game of the weekend as Leeds and Hull K.R. traded blows. Kingston Rovers came out on top in the end as they ended Leeds’ 100% record.
Craig Hall was the difference in this fixture as his hat-trick and goal kicking was crucial for the Rovers.
Both Leeds and Hull will still be looking for automatic promotion. Leeds face the struggling Widnes Vikings next and a win for the Rhinos will relegate the Vikings and will make it six points from a possible eight and a place in the Million Pound game will be secured as long as other results go their way.
The Robins on the other hand welcome winless Halifax and will be hoping that they can follow up this huge victory with another win against Richard Marshall’s side.
Widnes are all but relegated and Halifax are highly unlikely to be promoted eithee with both teams sat with zero points after three matches.
Salford will most likely be the Super League team to finish the top three with all the Championship sides, bar Halifax, looking to at least secure a spot in the Million Pound Game.
As it stands, I believe that Toulouse will be promoted, alongside Leeds and Salford and the Million Pound Game will take place between Toronto and London/Hull KR.
This is one of the tightest Qualifiers campaigns that there has been and although this is what I believe will happen, anything could happen.