The end of the regular Super League XXVIII season is looming large on the horizon which means that every match in the competition from here on in carries extra significance and that includes the three which opens up another round of games on Friday night.
As ever on a Friday night we have a TV game to enjoy but while the other two are not on TV we are likely to get plenty of updates regarding it because the battle to avoid the drop will be very much in the spotlight. We’ll begin the preview with the TV game.
Hull KR vs Leigh Leopards (20.00 – Sky Sports Action)
The TV cameras head to Craven Park on Friday night for what is a repeat of the Challenge Cup final of a couple of weeks ago where Hull KR will seek about getting revenge when they take on the Leigh Leopards once again.
Leigh won at Wembley in an epic contest which needed golden point to separate the teams and if we get a game which is half as good here we should be treated to something special. It is not just revenge that Hull KR are playing for here though. They sit outside the play-off zone purely on point difference so a win here will get them back into the top six ahead of the remainder of the weekend. It will be interesting to see how Leigh go about this. Their defeat to Catalans last week probably put paid to their chances of winning the Leaders’ Shield but they need to keep up their intensity to try and finish in the top two and get the week off, or at least carry form into the play-offs with them. We can excuse them that loss last week. There was always going to be a comedown from the cup final but they’ll be judged on merit here. Leigh have already beaten Hull KR three times this season and while Hull KR are getting closer to Leigh, I can’t be having them as the favourites for this one to the extent that they are. I think we’ll see the real Leigh here and season history shows they are the better of the two sides. They’re the bet at 13/10.
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Salford Red Devils vs Wakefield Trinity (19.45)
Over at the AJ Bell Stadium we have one of the biggest matches of the night as Salford Red Devils look to protect their top six spot from a hefty chasing pack when they host a Wakefield Trinity side who are in all sorts of trouble after their defeat to the Castleford Tigers last week.
It leaves Wakefield effectively three points from safety with just five matches to play and needing something of a miracle to get themselves out of the mess that they have created. One of the reasons they are in the trouble they are is because they haven’t won a single away match this season and if that doesn’t change then they will finish bottom of the table. They go up against a Salford side who look to have found their mojo again and will be hoping to build on their win over Huddersfield last weekend. Salford look worthy favourites here but desperation might keep Wakefield competitive and even inspire them into a result. This feels like a match to leave well alone to me.
St Helens vs Castleford Tigers (20.00)
The other match on Friday night comes from The Jungle where the Castleford Tigers play host to the champions St Helens who will look to move into second spot in the table for 24 hours at least with a win in this one.
The Tigers did their relegation concerns a huge upturn last week when they won at Wakefield and they won quite impressively when you consider the pressure that was on them in that match. Danny Ward has gone in and immediately got a tune out of a Tigers squad which was grossly underperforming even allowing for some injuries. Saints took an age to get going this season but have won their last four in Super League now and like most champion teams do they look to be hitting their top form when it matters the most. They still don’t completely convince me in attack though and The Jungle can be a tough place to go anyway let alone when the continuity in attack isn’t at 100%. I wouldn’t want to oppose St Helens in this one but I’m in no rush to back them to cover a fair sized handicap either. This is another one to follow rather than bet on for me.
Back Leigh Leopards to beat Hull KR for a 3/10 stake at 2.30 with William Hill
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