The penultimate set of matches in the Super League XXVIII season begins on Friday night when half of the teams are in action on an evening where the picture at the top, the middle and the bottom of the table are in the spotlight.
As ever on a Friday night we have one match on TV over the course of the evening and given the state of the table and the importance of the other two games within it we are sure to get regular updates of the other two games.
Warrington Wolves vs St Helens (20.00 – Sky Sports Arena)
The TV match on Friday night comes from the Halliwell Jones Stadium where the Warrington Wolves will look to preserve their place in the top six when they host the champions St Helens who have top spot in their sights over the course of the evening.
St Helens have come powering through in the second half of the season and are reaching the point where we tend to see them peaking and now they go up against a Warrington side who have been flattering to deceive for the last five months or so. Warrington have a bit of a short straw here in that they have a shorter turnaround having been in action on Sunday afternoon in a match which was full in intensity and went to golden point extra time. St Helens were involved in an equally as intense clash with Leigh Leopards last week but that was on the Friday night so they have had more than 36 hours longer to recover and go again here. When you consider that Saints are the better team of the two and certainly carrying more form into this one with them, I’m a little surprised that they are only being asked to cover a converted try. I expect that to happen.
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Leigh Leopards vs Wakefield Trinity (20.00)
The two sides who were favourites for the drop at the beginning of the season meet at the Leigh Sports Village when the Leigh Leopards take on a Wakefield Trinity side who know they will be relegated if they don’t win this game.
The stakes are huge for Trinity but they might have a lifeline in the form of the fact that Leigh are secure in the playoffs and might think about rotating their stock to ensure their charges are fresh heading into the postseason. This is a team who didn’t get any of the Challenge Cup breaks having won that tournament so some big names might get one of the next two matches off. Whichever team Leigh pick, Wakefield have to leave it all out there for this match. They can play with a real intensity knowing that their Super League life is done if they don’t win here. The problem is they are up against a good team who aren’t just reliant on 13 players. I don’t really want to back Leigh here but I don’t want to oppose them too much and I don’t want to take Wakefield on a handicap because if they fall behind early their heads might go and this gets out of hand. I’ll leave this alone.
Wigan Warriors vs Castleford Tigers (20.00)
The other match on Friday evening comes from the DW Stadium where the Wigan Warriors will look to hold onto top spot in the table when they host a Castleford Tigers side for whom this could be a big night as they secure their Super League status.
The Tigers will definitely do that if they win here but they will also be safe should Wakefield lose at Leigh. Even were Castleford to lose and Wakefield to win, a narrow Castleford defeat would still have them in a promising position heading into next week. Wigan have top spot in their own hands. If they win their last two matches they will win the League Leaders’ Shield and skip the first round of the playoffs which is a big incentive so Castleford won’t be getting any favours from this Wigan side. The bookmakers have this all about Wigan, which to an extent I think this is, their primary objective will just be winning not running up the score. Given that a narrow loss does Castleford no real harm I don’t really want to be getting involved in this one.
Back St Helens (-6) to beat Warrington Wolves for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Betfair