All to play for in Super League

All to play for in Super League

25th July 2015

All but one of the eight teams involved on the final day of the regular First Utility Super League season will have something tangible to play for on Sunday.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, who go to Huddersfield Giants, have known for several weeks that they will finish bottom of the table at the end of the 23-match programme while Wigan Warriors and Hull KR are certain to finish third and 10th respectively after completing their regular fixtures.

For the rest, the jockeying of positions ahead of the first Super 8s will go on until the final whistle.

Most eyes on the final day will be centred on Headingley, where Leeds Rhinos can pip reigning champions St Helens to top spot if they overcome Catalans Dragons, who were assured of a top-eight finish when Hull KR lost on Friday night but still have an outside chance of displacing Hull FC from seventh place.

Not only do clubs carry points forward into the seven-match Super 8s programme, but can gain rewards for higher-place finishes through the convoluted fixture format, which will be finalised over the following two days and unveiled on Wednesday morning.

Clubs finishing in the top four of Super League will have four home matches compared to three for those finishing in positions five to eight and, theoretically at least, the leading teams get the easier fixtures.

So Huddersfield will be desperate to see off the Wildcats for the sixth successive time in order to secure the important fourth spot. 

A slip by the Giants would allow Castleford Tigers to take their place as long as they beat Warrington Wolves, who look sure to finish sixth.

Widnes Vikings and Salford Red Devils are level on points with only Wakefield below them but the prize for the winners of their clash at the Halton Stadium on Sunday will be an extra home game in the qualifiers, the middle eight competition which will determine the make-up of Super League for 2016.

With Leigh Centurions, in particular, and Bradford Bulls expected to mount strong challenges from the Championship to displace at least one of the incumbent Super League clubs in the top flight, home advantage could be crucial over the next two months, a point not lost on Salford captain Harrison Hansen.

"We've a good chance of getting finishing ninth spot and getting that extra home game, which would put us in a great position because we do play well at home," said Hansen, who believes his side are ready to bounce back from their 70-6 mauling at Leeds a week ago.

"We know we've got a lot of work to do if we are going to fix up the disappointment from last week. It's all about our attitude and everyone is staying positive."

The game at Castleford will see reigning Man of Steel Daryl Clark return to The Mend-A-Hose Jungle for the first time as a Warrington player.

The 22-year-old England hooker, who was born and bred in Castleford, is now settled in the Warrington area but looking forward to returning home.

"I've been looking forward to it since I moved," said Clark. "I'm still in touch with quite a few of the boys. I've known some for seven, eight years as a few in the first team now came through the academy together."

The top four at the completion of the 30 Super League fixtures will play off for the right to contest the Grand Final at Old Trafford and, with Warrington currently four points behind both Huddersfield and Castleford, Clark knows his side face a vital game on Sunday.

"This game is a pretty much 'must win' otherwise the gap goes to six," he said.

"I'm sure the league will be changing a lot over the next seven or eight games.

"If we get our form to where we want it to be and get a few wins in these Super 8s, then the league can change pretty quickly."

All to play for in Super League