The Super League may be in some disruption, but the Championship should return for another round of action. Things are heating up, not only with this weather, but with four West Yorkshire clubs looking for a place in the playoffs, we should be entitled to another exciting end to the season in what is a criminally under division. -appreciated rugby league.
Halifax Panthers vs. Whitehaven RLFC
The fit host of the Halifax Panthers Whitehaven RLFC, who perhaps shouldn’t be underestimated after recording back-to-back wins. They may offer fierce resistance to the home side, but the Panthers still have a formidable team, with Liam Harris, Scott Grix and James Woodburn-Hall in the lead. “I have decent players of their own, Karl Dixon, Jessie Joe Parker and Dion Aiye to name a few. But traveling far, and against a confident side chasing the play-offs, the will really see confronting here.
Prediction: Halifax Panthers 38-12 Whitehaven RLFC
Batley Bulldogs vs. Toulouse Olympique
Formerly the “outperformers” of the competition, the Batley Bulldogs are hoping for a response to end their losing streak, but against the league leaders, Toulouse Olympique will be easier said than done. The Bulldogs have many seasoned players to choose from, with Alistair Leak, Ben White, Tom Gilmore and Dane Manning available. However, Toulouse, still led by Jonathan Ford as well as Eloi Pelissier, Harrison Hansen and Mark Kheirallah, have danger all over the field. Being a full-time team, Toulouse should have enough to see them overtake the Bulldogs.
Prediction: Batley Bulldogs 16-40 Toulouse Olympique
London Broncos vs. York City Knights
It could be a heated affair. The London Broncos will want revenge after being knocked out of the Challenge Cup by the York City Knights. However, being without a coach after the sudden departure of Danny Ward will be tough. Plus, they will lack confidence after their beating against Featherstone last week. Although they should still be slightly favored possessing the likes of Jarrod Sammut. Not to mention the Knights, they’re full of Super League experience, but their lack of form has been a problem for some time now and could derail them here.
Prediction: London Broncos 30-16 York City Knights
Newcastle Thunder v Dewsbury Rams
After recording a superb victory in York last week, Newcastle Thunder will be hungry for another here. Eamon O’Carroll has named a solid squad for this one with people like Jack Johnson, Jake Shorrocks, Josh Woods, and Ukuma Ta’ai all set to feature. Aries should provide a challenge; Paul Sykes and Liam Finn are expected to lead by example alongside Michael Knowles and Will Oakes, but the home advantage as well as potentially having more confidence could help Thunder beat this one.
Prediction: Newcastle Thunder 28-20 Dewsbury Rams
Oldham RLFC v Bradford Bulls
Perhaps well rested after their canceled trip to France, Oldham could have too much energy for the Bradford Bulls. Looking at their squad, they have Lewis Charnock, Darren Abram, Martin Reilly and Gareth Owen available which could cause some serious problems. Bradford may be without skipper Danny Brough, but bringing back Joe Keyes could fill the offensive void the Bulls have been missing in recent weeks.
Prediction: Oldham RLFC 16-30 Bradford Bulls
Swinton Lions vs Sheffield Eagles
Is this the week when Swinton’s Lions finally take off? They still have Martyn Ridyard, Jack Hansen and Rhodri Lloyd available and have proven to be a pretty offensive threat, especially at home. But the Eagles have a strong squad, with Josh Guzdek, Anthony Thackeray, Izaac Farrell and Aaron Brown available. Could they lead Sheffield to victory?
Prediction: Swinton Lions 24-26 Sheffield Eagles
Widnes Vikings vs. Featherstone Rovers
This one could be a thriller. The Widnes Vikings have been in fantastic form lately, but facing the brilliant Featherstone Rovers they face an uphill battle. Jack Owens, Steve Tyrer, Deon Cross, Matty Smith and Adam Lawton are all available and it wasn’t until last month that the Vikings pushed Fev to the brink in the 1895 Cup semifinals. But the Rovers have Craig Hall, Tom Holmes, Dane Chisholm and Nu Brown to lead by example. They might have just enough to overtake the Vikings once again.
Prediction: Widnes Vikings 22-32 Featherstone Rovers