There is one match in the Super League XXVIII season on Saturday afternoon and it is a big one at the top of the table as two of the top three going into the weekend meet when the Leigh Leopards play host to the Catalans Dragons.
Leigh will be playing for the first time since their epic Challenge Cup win last weekend while the Dragons are nicely rested after a couple of weeks off and they will be heading across the border looking to strengthen their grip on top spot.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Arena channel with the build-up to this key game beginning at 2.30pm ahead of the kick off at 3pm.
This was already an incredible campaign for the Leigh Leopards when you consider that it is their first back in the Super League but when you factor in that they have already secured silverware in it there is a case to be made that they are free rolling for the remainder of the season. They won’t see it that way internally but it means there will be no outside noise so they can focus on turning this season into a truly special one.
That might need to come later though because you have to think there will be a comedown from last weekend in this match. The emotional rollercoaster they went on will have had an effect on them for a few days mentally and that is before considering the physical impact of that outing and the deserved celebrations which would have followed. If Leigh are able to raise themselves again to win this one it really would be a standout victory.
The Catalans Dragons were watching on last week while Leigh were lifting the Challenge Cup and they will be hoping that they are able to replicate those scenes at Old Trafford in a couple of months. They head into the final stage of the regular season setting the pace at the top of the table and with their destiny very much into their own hands. Potentially equally as importantly they have had a couple of weeks to get any bumps and bruises out of their system.
Back in the day there would have been huge concerns over the Catalans Dragons on their travels but those days are behind us. Catalans went into the break having won eight of their last nine in the Super League and have been getting stronger the longer the season has gone on. They are always an offensive juggernaut but their defence has shown up on the occasions that they have needed it to as well which is important.
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Oliver Gildart was ineligible for the Challenge Cup final last week but he has been named in the squad for this one. Adrian Lam has chosen not to rotate his personnel after that wonderful win last week so the Leopards are at full strength.
Fouad Yaha missed the win over the Warrington Wolves last time out but he has recovered from whatever kept him out of that match to take his place in the squad for this one. Arthur Mourgue also returns to the ranks for this match.
I am sure the Leigh Leopards will give this a good go and they might even throw the ball around a fair bit with no real pressure on them but at some point the emotions and energy they consumed last week will have to catch up with them and I think they will be vulnerable to this Catalans Dragons side the longer the match goes on. I am actually a little surprised that bookmakers are only asking the French outfit to cover a converted try.
Catalans have been in great form recently and come into this one freshened up and with two key backs returning for this one there is a lot to like about the French outfit. They beat the Leigh Leopards in a high scoring match last month and if they get in front early on in this one it will be interesting to see if Leigh have it in them to get themselves up to fight back or whether the exertions of last week really come to the fore. Either way I like Catalans to cover here.
Back Catalans Dragons (-6) to beat Leigh Leopards for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with Sky Bet
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