Leeds Rhinos picked up the first trophy of the season last weekend as they win the Challenge Cup as they now turned their attention to the Super League and securing a play-off position.

But they were up against the toughest of opponents as the reigning champions and league leaders St Helens welcomed Richard Agar’s side to the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Leeds are entering an intense period of matches as they try and catch up on fixtures and their coach elected to field a mix of youth and experience, the emphasis being on youth, as he appeared to have chosen to prioritise more winnable fixtures later over the coming days.

St Helens, however, were at full strength and determined for the win.

Neither side would change position as a result of the game, but St Helens would consolidate their claim for the minor premiership with a win and the Rhinos really needed the points to keep in touch with a top four place.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 23rd Oct 2020 9:32 PM | Views : 3005 | Replies : 1 | READ MORE

Far from sulking from the Challenge Cup final loss last weekend, Salford Red Devils could hold their heads high at a terrific performance as they returned to Super League action to take on the Wigan Warriors.

A win for Wigan would keep the pressure on Saints who were to be involved in the later match against the Leeds Rhinos.

A win for the Red Devils would see them up to eighth, regaining the place they lost last night to the Tigers.

Salford were without Kevin Brown and a very late withdrawal Niall Evalds who was replaced by Olly Ashall-Bott at full-back.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 23rd Oct 2020 7:16 PM | Views : 3134 | Replies : 3 | READ MORE

The delayed kick off at the Totally Wicked Stadium, due to issues on the M62 before the earlier kick-off between Hull KR and the Castleford Tigers, pitched the Huddersfield Giants and the Wakefield Wildcats in a bottom half of the table clash.

The Giants still have a remote chance of making the top four, but they knew that a defeat at the hands of bottom club Wakefield would end those hopes.

Wakefield’s own quest for 2020 was now to avoid ending the season with the wooden spoon and after KR lost earlier in the evening a win would put them level with the Robins.

The Giants were big favourites with the bookies, Trinity getting a fourteen-point start on the coupon.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 22nd Oct 2020 10:39 PM | Views : 2516 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE

A Greg Eden hat-trick  against Hull KR helped Castleford get their second win of the restarted season and end their losing streak after the shock of last week’s massive loss to Hull FC.

 

Castleford and Rovers came to this match with no play-off prospects on realistic offer and nothing to play for but pride and experience.

And both teams had a makeshift look about them as injuries and the pressure of  fixtures took their toll.

 

Rovers took to the field without head coach Tony Smith overseen them after he started a 14-day Covid isolation because he had been in contact with someone who tested positive.

And the kick-off itself was delayed by an hour after an incident on the M62 affected both teams’ travel to the stadium.

Posted by tb on Thu 22nd Oct 2020 8:29 PM | Views : 3587 | Replies : 5 | READ MORE

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 : 3667 | 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 : 3694 | 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 : 2562 | 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 : 2678 | 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 : 2552 | 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 : 3170 | 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 : 3126 | 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 : 11859 | 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 : 3992 | 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 : 2845 | 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 : 2641 | 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 : 25881 | 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 : 3978 | 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 : 4528 | 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 : 2806 | 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 : 4120 | Replies : 0 | READ MORE


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