Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
Bradford v St Helens: Bulls determined to emerge victorious, Huddersfield v Warrington: Wolves looking to continue climb, Leigh v Widnes: Endacott warns of tough encounter, and Wakefield v Salford.
- - - - -
Bulls determined to emerge victorious
The Bulls have struggled for consistency this term but, after crushing rivals Hull 42-24 last week, are in buoyant mood and not fazed by Saints, despite their opponents? impressive recent win over champions Leeds.
Victory at Odsal would lift the Bulls above Hull and cut the gap on second-placed Saints to four points.
Forward Joe Vagana said: ?St Helens will be tough for us and in some ways it?s the ideal game coming right after Hull.
?They are playing with a lot of confidence after defeating Leeds but they are coming to Odsal and no-one likes coming here.
?We have let ourselves down at home this season and we will be looking to make amends for that and putting things right.
?We had a good win last week but it will mean nothing if we don?t back it up tomorrow (Sunday).
?We have been here before this season ? we had a good win at Salford and then disappointed against Warrington. That?s been mentioned this week and we are determined not to fall for that again.?
Saints however will travel in high spirits themselves after making a spectacular winning start under new coach Daniel Anderson against the Rhinos.
The Merseysiders produced one of their best performances of the season to overpower the league leaders and another victory on Sunday will reduce the deficit at the top to two points.
The manner of the 38-24 win over Leeds appears to have won the fans over, after the dismissal of Ian Millward, and Anderson was impressed by the performance.
The Australian said: ?I think my second thoughts [on the game] were better than my first. I was very pleased with it, our attention to detail.
?It was a very good sounding board for how we are travelling. We played very well but we have put that to bed and are moving forward.
?Bradford are a dangerous team and they played very well last weekend.?
Bradford 18-man squad: Ferres, Deacon, Cook, Fielden, I. Harris, Meyers, Lynch, B. Harris, Parker, Paul, Peacock, Pratt, K. Pryce, L. Pryce, Radford, Reardon, Vagana, Atkins.
St Helens 18-man squad: Wellens, Albert, Lyon, Talau, Gardner, Hooper, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, P. Anderson, Gilmour, V. Anderson, Wilkin, Graham, Fa'asavalu, Roby, Edmondson, Mason.
Referee: R Laughton
- - - - -
Wolves looking to continue climb
Warrington Wolves can climb further up the table if they can win at Huddersfield to complete a remarkable turnaround.
After losing four of their opening five games they have now won seven from their last eight.
That has completely removed any pressure on coach Paul Cullen, and second rower Paul Noone is determined not to ease up as they take on a rival play-off side.
Noone said: ?If we keep playing as we are and keep preparing right each week then a top-four finish is there to be taken. We must just keep being focused and confident.
?I think all games are won in the middle of the park. We have to get the ?go-forward? tomorrow (Sunday) and get on top of the Giants. If we do that we will come away with the two points.?
Huddersfield 18-man squad: Reilly, De Vere, Donlan, Thorman, March, Drew, Gannon, Roarty, Gene, Jones, Smith, Crabtree, Grayshon, White, Jackson, Clayton, St Hilaire, McDonald.
Warrington 18-man squad: Grose, Fa'afili, M. Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Gaskell, Briers, Leikvoll, Clarke, Hilton, Swann, Wainwright, Noone, M. Gleeson, Westwood, P. Wood, Lima, Appo, Bridge.
Referee: B Thaler
- - - - -
Endacott warns of tough encounter
Leigh Centurions taking on relegation rivals Widnes Vikings at the Coliseum in a crucial battle at the bottom of the table.
Defeat would leave the Centurions, who suffered a 70-16 loss at London last weekend, five points adrift and facing an instant return to National League One.
Coach Darren Abram said: ?It's absolutely massive. We highlighted three games as ?must win? starting at London and that one's gone now so we have to pick it up and win the other two.?
Yet Widnes are still in the relegation zone themselves and need the points just as much to keep the likes of Wakefield and Salford looking over their shoulders.
Vikings coach Frank Endacott has been pleased with his side?s recent displays but is expecting a tough game at Leigh and has warned his players not to get dragged into an attritional battle.
The Kiwi said: ?It?s a big game for both camps. If we get head shots from them we?ve just got to remain disciplined and get the penalties.
?They?ll fancy themselves against us. They got within seven points in our first game but if you look at our line-up we?re a lot stronger now, and playing a lot better now.
?They are a battling side. It?s going to be a challenge going there but I?m still confident we?ll get out of it. If you go there in the wrong frame of mind you get beat. I?m well aware what they can do to you.?
Leigh 20-man: Cooper, J. Duffy, Fleary, Jackson, Jones, Kent, King, Leafa, Maden, Marshall, McCurrie, Rowley, Smyth, Stapleton, Sturm, Turley, Wilshere, Feaunati, Stevens, Mears.
Widnes 20-man: Connolly, Manu, Hughes, Craigie, Myler, O?Connor, Millard, J. O?Neill, Cassidy, Stankevitch, Finnigan, Hulse, Whitaker, Frame, Mills, Fa-alogo, Smith, Holmes, Viane, J. O?Neill.
Referee: I Smith
- - - - -
Wakefield and Salford name 20-man squads
Wakefield 20-man: Halpenny, Demetriou, Domic, Tadulala, Rooney, Jeffries, Griffin, March, Korkidas, Solomona, J. Field, Spicer, Obst, Snitch, MacGillivray, Elima, M. Field, Campbell, Kirk, Feather.
Salford 20-man: Hodgson, Stewart, Littler, McAvoy, Hartley, Beverley, Robinson, Rutgerson, Alker, Stringer, Coley, Shipway, Charles, Haggerty, Jonkers, Dickens, Highton, Langi, Baldwin, Clough.
Referee: A Klein
- - - - -
Thanks to htwww.superleague.co.uk for more great articles.