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Super 8s Round-up: Match-week One

With the Super 8s and The Qualifiers kicking off this week. I look at each and every game and how it looks to affect the teams chances at making the play-offs, staying in Super League or being promoted.

SUPER 8s

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Warrington Wolves 56-6 Catalans Dragons

In aprecursor to the Challenge Cup Final later this month, Warrington ran in 10 tries against a rotated Catalans Dragons side at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday night.

This huge victory, along with Castleford’s narrow loss to Wigan means that the Wolves have moved up to fourth.

A Tom Lineham hat-trick and 20 points from Dec Patton were the stand-out performers on the night as Warrington look to claim second place spot, and a home semi-final for the play-offs.

The only positive from a Dragons point of view is that Josh Drinkwater, Fouad Yaha and Julian Bousquet being rested and will most likely be back in the match day squad next week.

Catalans however are sat bottom of the Super 8s table and will be looking for a more assured performance against third-placed Wigan next week in Perpignan.

Warrington travel to Castleford next week for a third vs fourth place battle, and who over wins that will be a better position to battle for the second place spot.

Catalan are unlikely to make the top four, but will be looking for as many wins as they can to build momentum for the Wembley on August 25th.

Hull FC 13-31 Wakefield Trinity

After an extremely tight first-half finished 7-7, Wakefield pulled away from Hull in the second period to consign the Black and Whites to a fifth successive loss in their Super 8s opener.

Hull were looking to rebuild their campaign after a 72-10 humbling at Wakefield two weeks ago, and a derby defeat by Hull K.R. Chris Chester’s side had other ideas and stepped up once again with a solid second-half display.

However a spell of 12 completed set out of 13 and multiple repeat sets and three tries from three repeated sets meant that Trinity just had too much for a struggling Hull side.

Hull now travel to Huddersfield, and Wakefield welcome St.Helens in Thursday nights game, as Wakefield will still be looking for that fourth spot as long as it is mathematically possible.

Wigan Warriors 24-22 Castleford Tigers

The Warriors welcomed Castleford to the DW Stadium on Friday night, and survived a second-half fightback to move clear three-points clear of Warrington to solidify their second-place position.

Both the Tigers and Wigan were looking to start the Super 8s off with a win which would have made their claim for second place, and a home semi-final, stronger.

The game finished 24-22, despite Wigan leading 20-0 at half-time, and Castleford will need to improve on their sloppy defence and discipline if they wish to be playing a home-semi final, but a top-4 finish should still be on the cards for the Tigers, as they have a six point gap over Huddersfield with 10 points up for grabs.

In order for Wigan to confirm a home semi-final they will need to beat Catalans and St. Helens in the next two rounds, and Castleford will be looking forward to their two home games in a row to boost their chances.

St. Helens 12-16 Huddersfield Giants

League Leaders Saints suffered just their fourth loss of the season and their second in succession after last weekends semi-final disappointment against Catalans.

This meant that Wigan moved within eight points of their rivals, so the League Leaders Shield has not yet been wrapped up for Saints but they are guaranteed a home semi-final.

However, Huddersfield have started their push for a play-off place with a bang after closing the gap to fourth place Castleford to 6 points.

Saints have to travel to Wakefield on Thursday night and will look to claim the League Leaders Shield as long as Catalans beat Wigan.

Huddersfield will face a Hull FC side who are looking for a win but with Castleford facing a tough fixture against Warrington, could close the gap once more.

Third and Fourth spot have yet to be decided but we should expect to see both St. Helens and Wigan claiming home semi-finals.

THE QUALIFIERS

Qualifiers

Widnes Vikings 20-21 London Broncos

London and Widnes kicked off the The Qualifiers on Thursday night with a thrilling back-and-forth game in which only a Jarrdod Sammut drop-goal made the difference.

The Broncos victory will give them  huge amounts of confidence as they aim to rejoin Super League next season. Widnes on the other hand will need to pick up a victory against either Salford or Halifax in the next two round in order to keep their slim promotion hopes alive, or it will be the Championship for them next season.

London will face a Leeds side who have been struggling for form this season, and could provide another shock by beating the team run by Kevin Sinfield and James Lowes.

Leeds Rhinos 48-22 Toulouse

Leeds welcomed Toulouse to Headlingley on Saturday afternoon in only the second meeting between the two sides.

Toulouse played courageously throughout, but Leeds’ Super League quality to pay dividends in the end to run out eventual 48-22 winners, after a solid second-half display.

A twist in the tail for the Rhinos however, will be that Ryan Hall about to pick up a serious knee injury and was immediately withdrawn from the field.

Toulouse finished third in the Championship behind Toronto and London and will be looking to double the number of French contingents playing in Super League next season, where as Leeds will be looking to be playing a much better standard of rugby that they have been all season.

The French Side will face Halifax at home next week, and both sides will be looking to pick up their first points in their bids for promotion.

Leeds, on the other hand, travel to London and will be looking for another victory to boost their chances of survival.

Hull K.R. 10-28 Salford Red Devils

Salford looked like a breath of fresh air against Hull K.R. and that has a lot to do with Jackson Hastings.

The Former Sydney Roosters and Manly half-back Hastings in particular has taken the pressure away from Robert Lui and has been a positive acquisition to the Salford squad.

The two teams finished in the bottom four of the regular season Super League, with Salford three points behind their opponents in 11th, however both teams will be looking to secure victories against all of the Championship sides in order guarantee their survival.

K.R. face a tough trip to Toronto next weekend, where as Salford welcome Widnes to the AJ Bell stadium next Saturday.

If Hull K.R. fail to beat the Wolfpack then their Super League future will be severely under threat. Salford should also have the talent and prowess to beat the Vikings at home and that could boost their hopes of survival.

Halifax 0-14 Toronto Wolfpack

The final game of the weekend pitted the two teams with the best defensive records in the Championship against each other, so a high scoring game should not have been expected.

The Wolfpack pipped Halifax with a late try in each half and a Gareth O’Brien penalty to take the 14-0 victory.

Toronto’s welcome Hull K.R. next week and should provide a good opponent to a defeated Hull K.R. side, where as Halifax travel to Toulouse hoping to do a number on the French side.

This loss for Richard Marshall’s side will not be a huge blow as they will be looking for victories against the other Championship sides and will also be looking to shock Leeds Rhinos at home on September 23rd.

Toronto are one of the favourites to be promoted alongside London and Toulouse and a Halifax will be sure to provide a few shocks away. This is the first year where all four Super League clubs could easily get relegated.

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