Hull FC and the Castleford Tigers took the opportunity of Cup Final weekend to re-arrange their round nine game in Super League at the KCOM Stadium.

The sides were seventh and eighth in the table, a win would take FC above the Huddersfield Giants into sixth place but a win for the Tigers wouldn’t be enough for them to jump above their opponents on the new percentage win system.

It has been a disappointing 2020 for both sides and they went into the game knowing that a loss would probably signal the end of their outside chances of making the play off places.

It really was the last chance saloon and the drinks had been poured.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 18th Oct 2020 4:49 PM | Views : 1365 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

It was fantastic to see the name of Salford Red Devils alongside Challenge Cup Final for the first time since 1969, a long, long wait for their faithful fans.

The last time they won the trophy was back in 1938 when the beat Barrow by 7-4, and this was only the seventh occasion that the side from Salford had made it to the showpiece.

By contrast their opponents, the Leeds Rhinos, are experienced old hands at these events.

This was their twenty-sixth Challenge Cup Final appearance, having lifted the trophy on thirteen occasions, the most recent being in 2015.

Leeds have been to the cup final on fifteen occasions since Salford were last there, having lifted the trophy five times.

But this was a one-off game, and despite the odds being stacked in the Rhinos favour, everyone tuning in to watch the game in an empty stadium, knew that Salford could beat any side on their day.

It was just a matter of whether this would be that day.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 17th Oct 2020 4:54 PM | Views : 1372 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

A Grand Final place against Melbourne Storm awaited the winners of the game between the Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The Panthers were the big favourites after ending the regular season as runaway leaders on the ladder but only a fool would underestimate the South Sydney Rabbitohs as they looked for success from sixth place.

Both coaches made just one change.

The Panthers coach Ivan Cleary had Mitch Kenny in place of Viliame Kikau, while Bunnies coach Wayne Bennett brought in Hame Sele for the injured Campbell Graham, a big loss for South Sydney.

The Panthers won both meetings during the regular season but that counted for little in knock-out rugby.

The stage was set for a massive showdown in front of forty thousand spectators.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 17th Oct 2020 11:44 AM | Views : 979 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Melbourne stormed their way into a grand-final place with a 10 minute blitz at the start of the game which saw them score three tries and take a grip on the game against Canberra that they never seriously looked like losing.

 

Jesse Bromwich opened the scoring for the Storm after five minutes of the fast and furious play you expect in an NRL preliminary final.

A mistimed kick by the Raiders’ Elliot Whitehead gave Melbourne the chance to power down the field on the left wing before moving the ball into the centre for front-rower Bromwich to power over.

 

Posted by tb on Fri 16th Oct 2020 11:49 AM | Views : 1184 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

It was top against bottom as minor premiers elect St Helens were pitted against the lowly Wakefield Trinity in the last round sixteen match at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium.

Saints were massive favourites coming into the game but after a number of close results in recent weeks coach Chris Chester was due a bit of good luck.

Saints were without James Graham but still named an impressive squad and they knew that a win would make them increasingly secure at the top of the table.

The two sides met just six days ago, Saints winning by 20-16 as Trinity gave them a tremendous game, leading at the interval but eventually succumbing to the Champions.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 15th Oct 2020 9:34 PM | Views : 1091 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

The Leeds Rhinos sent out a youthful team ahead of their Challenge Cup Final appointment on Saturday as they took on a Warrington Wolves side who took the opportunity to rest a few players, most notably their marquee player Blake Austin.

Leeds coach Richard Agar suggested that there were still Challenge Cup final places up for grabs and there were seventeen players named who would give everything to try and secure a spot, but in all likelihood the seventeen for the game against the Red Devils on Saturday would include very few players from tonight.

A win for Warrington, the firm favourites with the bookies, would see the two sides change league places in the top four, the Wolves moving into the all-important play-off places.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Tue 13th Oct 2020 9:31 PM | Views : 1722 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Both teams came into this East Yorkshire v West Yorkshire clash with three wins and three losses from their last six games, and sitting next to each other in the table: Huddersfield in sixth, Hull in seventh, having both played 14 games.

 

Both teams had a faint hope of making the top for play-offs and being an outside contender for this year’s title – but to do that they would need to win this and every other game of the season.

 

Posted by tb on Tue 13th Oct 2020 7:12 PM | Views : 1713 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Eighty minutes stood between two teams and an end to a difficult 2020 NRL season as the Paramatta Ells and South Sydney Rabbitohs went head to head for the final place in the Grand Final Eliminators and a game with the Penrith Panthers next weekend.

Despite finishing the regular season in sixth place, the Bunnies were big favourites against the third placed Eels after big wins in their last two outings indicate that they are reaching their peak at the ideal time of the season.

Wayne Bennett stuck with the same seventeen Rabbitohs that brough success last weekend while Brad Arthur made four changes bringing in Takairangi, George Jennings, Dunster and Stone.

The last time these two met it was a massacre in favour of the Rabbitohs, tonight’s encounter should be a far closer encounter.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 10th Oct 2020 11:43 AM | Views : 1819 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Both Warrington and Wigan were still smarting from last weeks Challenge Cup semi-final exits as they met in the final game of round fifteen at Headingley Stadium in Leeds.

The winner knew that they would end the round in second spot but with the Catalans Dragons beating Hull KR, the loser knew that they would drop below the Leeds Rhinos and out of the top four.

Warrington had Ashton on the bench, Stefan Ratchford preferred at full back while Wigan gave a debut for new signing Brad Singleton and welcomed back Morgan Smithies after a six-week suspension.

The Wolves were slight favourites with the bookies, Wigan receiving an eight-point start on the handicap coupon.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 9th Oct 2020 9:37 PM | Views : 2659 | Replies : 5 | READ MORE

It was top against bottom in round fifteen of Super League as Wakefield Trinity took on St Helens at Headingley Stadium.

There was only one possible outcome to the game, Wakefield being more firmly stuck at the bottom with St Helens increasing their lead at the top.

Wakefield continue to soldier on despite being decimated by coronavirus and injuries and they were facing a near full-strength St Helens side in a game which the bookies gave the Yorkshire side a thirty-four point start on the coupon.

One ray of hope for Trinity was the return of David Fifita as the big prop finally agreed to wear a GPS tracker enabling to meet Super League monitoring requirements.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 9th Oct 2020 7:15 PM | Views : 1661 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Last year’s Grand Finalists, the Sydney Roosters and the Canberra Raiders, met head to head in the first 2020 semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The prize at stake was a final eliminator against the Melbourne Storm next weekend.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart knows that he had the side that could go all the way, if they could control the odd five-minute blow up, and he named an unchanged seventeen although he did tinker with the starting thirteen.

Trent Robinson made two change to the side which lost out by a point to Penrith last weekend with Jake Friend and Sonny Bill Williams into the side in place of Freddy Lussick and Lindsay Collins.

The bookies were predicting a win for the fourth placed Roosters over the side in fifth, but it was a mouth-watering prospect.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 9th Oct 2020 11:52 AM | Views : 1585 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Leeds Rhinos were scheduled too play the Castleford Tigers in a Thursday night clash but coronavirus issues forced a late change with Hull FC stepping into the breach on what was supposedly their bye round to travel to Headingley for what was scheduled to be their home game in round eighteen.

All credit to the Airlie Birds for stepping in at short notice and to the Rhinos for facing a different opposition to the one that they had been planning for.

A win for the Rhinos would lift them back into the top four, jumping back in front of the Catalans Dragons but Hull FC knew that a win would not help them in their league position.

The Rhinos were massive favourites for the win, Hull FC robbed of players due to their own coronavirus problems and their late notice of the game.

The bookies and pundits couldn’t see below a Leeds win, FC being given a twenty-point start on the coupon.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 8th Oct 2020 9:46 PM | Views : 1628 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

With the Leeds Rhinos already through to the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, all attention turned to the afternoon’s second semi-final as the Salford Red Devils looked to make their second consecutive major final as they took on Wembley stalwarts, the Warrington Wolves.

Warrington were big favourites with the bookies, Salford languishing down the table in ninth place as opposed to the Wolves who are joint top.

It is fifty years since Salford have been to Wembley for a Challenge Cup Final whereas Warrington went into the game as cup holders, looking for their third consecutive final.

Salford won the midweek meeting between the two sides but that would count for little.

It was a massive game for both sides, and both coaches put out very strong sides.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 3rd Oct 2020 6:53 PM | Views : 2862 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Challenge Cup semi-final weekend holds a special place in most rugby supporters hearts.

But in this strangest of years those fans were settling down in their armchairs for a brace of matches from a rain drenched Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens with Wigan Warriors versus Leeds Rhinos the first to take the stage.

Both sides suffered heavy defeats in midweek as they fielded weakened sides in Super League while resting their key players for this crucial game.

The sides sit in third and fourth in the league table and despite the Warriors being clear favourites, thanks to beating the Rhinos in their last five encounters, most neutrals hoped that it would be a closely matched encounter.

A place at Wembley on the afternoon of the 17th October was the big prize on offer.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 3rd Oct 2020 4:27 PM | Views : 3366 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

He craziest of 2020 seasons would end for either the Canberra Raiders or Cronulla Sharks as the two sides met at the GIO Stadium in Canberra, as fifth took on eighth in the first elimination quarter final.

Cronulla won the meeting between the two sides last week by ten points but both coaches made a number of changes to their sides, having rested players last time out.

The bookies were predicting a Canberra win with the home side strong favourites.

The Raiders welcomed back nine players to their ranks including Nicoll-Klokstad, Whitehead, Williams, Croker and Bateman while the Sharks called on the services of, amongst others, Ramien, Dugan, Katoa and Talakai as they made seven changes to their side.

NRL knock-out play-offs were upon us.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 3rd Oct 2020 10:39 AM | Views : 2054 | Replies : 1 | READ MORE

The seventh and eight placed sides met at the Mend-a-hose Jungle in the final game of round fourteen as the Castleford Tigers hosted Hull FC.

Whoever won the game would finish the night in seventh place, snapping at the heels of the sides above them in the race for the top four while the losers would be virtually out of the race for the play-offs.

There was no Challenge Cup distraction for these two sides with their respective coaches naming the strongest sides that they could as they pushed for the victory.

The Tigers were slight favourites with the bookies, FC being given a two point start on the coupon, but with both sides strangers to the win in recent rounds, it was anyone’s game.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 1st Oct 2020 9:43 PM | Views : 2915 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

Torrential rain welcomed the Catalans Dragons to Headingley where they took on a Leeds Rhinos side which sported the best of the Leeds junior ranks with a smattering of first teamers as coach Agar kept his stars rested ahead of Saturdays Challenge Cup final.

The Rhinos had climbed to second as a result of yesterdays losses for Wigan and Warrington but any result tonight would drop the Rhinos to fourth and bolster the Dragons challenge for a top four spot and the play-offs.

Neither the bookies nor the pundits gave the Rhinos any chance of a win.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Wed 30th Sep 2020 7:52 PM | Views : 2217 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

There was only one possible winner as a full-strength St Helens side took on a very young and inexperienced Wigan Warriors in the first original derby of the 2020 season.

Wigan coach Adrian Lam had clearly prioritised the weekends Challenge Cup semi-final game against the Leeds Rhinos whereas Saints had no such distraction as they focussed wholly on their league position.

The bookies gave the Warriors no chance at all, handing them a twenty-eight point start on the coupon.

Everything pointed to a Saints massacre as Wigan debuted six players including the son of league legend Ellery Hanley.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Tue 29th Sep 2020 9:26 PM | Views : 3113 | Replies : 4 | READ MORE

As soon as the squads were announced, it was clear that both coaches had both eyes on the repeat clash at the weekend in the Challenge Cup semi-final, rather than tonight’s run -of-the-mill Super League fixture.

Warrington gave four debuts and the Red Devils made several changes ahead of the game, including three debuts themselves.

The Red Devils are already out of the play-off positions but could affect the top spots.

The Wolves would retain their top spot with a win, but a loss would see them drop into fourth spot in the league based on the new percentage points system for determining league position.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Tue 29th Sep 2020 7:16 PM | Views : 2521 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

A twenty-six, or more, point win for the Warrington Wolves would put them back to the top of the table, giving Warrington just a couple of hours in the top berth after their win over the Dragons.

A loss by more than two points would return Wakefield Trinity to the foot of the table.

Trinity were on a hiding to nothing having lost eight players during the week to self-isolation after a coronavirus scare but they did welcome back free scoring winger Tom Johnstone after six weeks out.

The Wigan side was a strong one but coach Lam knew that they were going into the first of three games in nine days.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 25th Sep 2020 10:05 PM | Views : 2943 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE


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