A place in the play off semi-finals awaited and a win for St Helens would see them travelling to Perpignan next week to take on the Catalans Dragons, while should the Warrington Wolves spring a surprise and get the win then they would be travelling to Wigan next week while last nights winners, Hull KR, would be getting on the plane to France.
St Helens have won all three encounters so far in 2023, by twenty-two points at home in April, and by four and then twelve in the meetings in July and a fortnight ago at the Halliwell-Jones.
Warrington had been given a twelve-point start on the handicap coupon after suffering a monumental fall in form following a stunning start to the season, and all but their most optimistic fans were expecting a Wolves defeat and Saints marching closer to another Grand Final.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 30th Sep 2023 2:40 PM
Super League entered the knock-out stages with a play-off encounter between two sides who have had sensational seasons and exceeded all expectations as Hull KR played hosts to the cup winning Leigh Leopards at Craven Park with the winners going through to a game against one of the top two next weekend.
It was KR who finished the regular season in fourth spot, and they were handicapped by six points on the coupon against the side who felt hard done by when they narrowly lost to the Wigan Warriors last weekend to drop from fourth a swap places with their hosts on points difference.
The season would end for one of these two after what promised to be an intense eighty minutes as the two sides played out a re-run the Challenge Cup final.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 29th Sep 2023 9:48 PM
It is with great sadness that we have to bring you the news of the passing of RLFANS administrator, reporter, moderator and all-round decent bloke Tony Braisby, known to all as TB, who passed away on the 19th September, at the tender age of 63, after a battle against cancer which finally proved too much.
The now ‘long defunct’ RLFANS Dictionary
lists TB as ‘London-based Cas fan moderator closely and directly linked with Mintball, mostly harmless´ and those thirteen words tell you a lot about a man who was a rugby league fanatic, a thoughtful and level-headed contributor and colleague, a long-term partner and latterly husband to Amanda (Mintball), and above all a decent bloke, as you would expect of a flat cap wearing Yorkshireman, albeit on difficult missionary work in London.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Wed 27th Sep 2023 6:42 PM
The final game of the regular Championship season was a Sunday tea time kick off between the Sheffield Eagles and the Bradford Bulls with plenty still to play for in determining who would have the all important home advantage in next weeks’ opening play-off round.
Both sides were guaranteed a spot, but the winner of this encounter would determine who would finish the season in third spot and have a home game next week against York RLFC Knights, a win for Bradford would see them finish third, while a loss for Sheffield would see them drop to fourth and have to face London Broncos in Sheffield in a weeks’ time.
The Bulls were slight favourites with the bookies but they were only handicapped by two points on the coupon, all indications were that it would be a close one.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 24th Sep 2023 8:30 PM
The final round of the regular season was critical for both sides and the mathematics were a little complicated depending on who you were pulling for as Halifax needed to win and hope that Barrow Raiders lost to York RLFC Knights to get a play-off place, while Swinton Lions needed to avoid losing by more than four points to send Whitehaven down, or do better than Keighley Cougars result, to maintain Championship football for 2024 by the narrowest of margins.
Swinton showed massive character to beat their relegation rivals Whitehaven last week by a single point to grab themselves a massive lifeline, and they would be confident about kicking on from that and spoiling Halifax’s party.
A fifteen-minute delay to the kick-off, to allow half a dozen Halifax players time to negotiate traffic around the ground, added to the pre-match atmosphere.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 24th Sep 2023 4:53 PM
Leeds Rhinos made their way across the Pennines looking for their fourth consecutive Women’s Super League Grand Final appearance as they looked to defend their title but they knew that they had a monumental challenge in their way as they took on a St Helens side who finished a place above them at the end of the regular season.
A Grand Final place against the York Valkyrie at the LNER Community Stadium on the 8th of October was up for grabs and the Rhinos were slight favourites after they won the round nine encounter three weeks ago by 34-22 while the sought further revenge for the defeat to Saints in the Challenge Cup Final.
Saints had never beaten the Rhinos at the Totally Wicked Stadium but were confident that today would be the day.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 23rd Sep 2023 7:55 PM
The first of two mouthwatering Women’s Super League play off games pitted recently crowned minor premiers York Valkyrie against a Wigan Warriors side who are acknowledged to be the weakest of the sides remaining in the competition after only winning three from their ten games iu 2023, but who would come into the game with a desperate point to prove.
York came into the game unbeaten after an excellent regular season and with a 40-6 win in July and a 36-4 win in August signalled that it would be the Valkyrie who would be progressing to the Grand Final on the 8th October.
It would take a monumental shock for Wigan to take the spoils.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 23rd Sep 2023 5:17 PM
The final day of the season mathematics were not simple, either at the top of the table, or for the play off places.
SKY chose to send their cameras to the Leigh Sports Village where the Leopards hoped to spoil the party for their near neighbours and seal them a loss which could see them end the night in third spot.
Wigans superior points difference meant that so long as they beat Leigh by a point, and Catalans won by less than sixty-eight, and Saints won by less than one hundred and forty-one, then it would be the Warriors getting crowned as minor premiers by ten o’clock.
A loss and wins for Catalans and the Saints would drop them down into the spots for next week’s play-off games and throw away the luxury of a week off.
Leigh were also looking over their shoulders and knew that a heavy loss could open the doors for Hull KR to take fourth and a home game next weekend.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 22nd Sep 2023 9:52 PM
The 2023 Betfred Super League season is on the brink of two significant attendance milestones ahead of the final round of matches before the Play-Offs this Friday night – and among a majority of clubs whose home crowds have increased year on year, the Challenge Cup finalists Leigh Leopards and Hull KR have posted their best figures since well before the start of Super League in 1996.
The cumulative attendance of 1,446,052 across the first 26 rounds is already the highest since the change in the competition format in 2019, which involved a significant reduction in the number of fixtures and another 53,948 when all six Round 27 matches are played on Friday night would break the one and a half million barrier for the first time in five years.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 21st Sep 2023 3:56 PM
York RLFC Knights came into their final home game of the season against the Batley Bulldogs with the slenderest of hopes of making the playoffs while their opponents knew that a win in tonight’s game in front of the ViaPlay cameras would mean that their qualification for the playoff was in their own hands.
A win for York by seven points or more would lift them above the Bulldogs and into seventh spot in the league, while a win for the Bulldogs would see them up to sixth in the table, going back above the Halifax Panthers who usurped them yesterday afternoon.
Batley have what looks like a home banker against the Newcastle Thunder next week while York travel to Barrow and Halifax have a home game against the Swinton Lions.
Whatever happened tonight the playoffs wouldn’t finally be decided until next week’s games.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Mon 18th Sep 2023 9:36 PM
Keighley Cougars were looking for a double celebration as they took on the Halifax Panthers in the penultimate round of the Betfred 2023 Championship season.
A win would lift them closer to guaranteeing Championship football next season, while a victory would also serve a major blow to the Panthers play-off aspirations.
On the other hand, a win for the Panthers could see them end the weekend in fifth spot in the table should fifth paced Bradford Bulls lose to fourth placed London Broncos.
It promised to be an exciting Sunday afternoon as teams vied for the remaining play-off places and to avoid finishing up in the bottom two.
Halifax were the favourites for the win with a twelve-point start on the coupon for the Cougars.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 17th Sep 2023 4:47 PM
A play-off place was at stake at Craven Park as Hull KR took on the Salford Red Devils in a Saturday evening fixture, the ultimate game of the penultimate round of Super League in 2023 with both sides desperate for the crucial two points which would make their chances of a play-off berth a lot more likely.
A win for Hull KR would guarantee that they couldn’t finish the season any lower than fifth place, but a win for the Red Devils would see them move two points ahead of seventh placed Warrington Wolves and in full control of their own destiny when they face the Catalans Dragons in the final game of the season next Friday.
A loss for Salford would mean that they are in all sorts of trouble, especially as their challengers for sixth spot, Warrington, play Huddersfield Giants next week.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 16th Sep 2023 9:15 PM
After Wigan and St Helens secured round twenty-six wins last night, the Catalans Dragons knew that they needed a home win, and a large one at that, to keep their hopes of a minor premiership alive as they took on the Leeds Rhinos who needed the win to maintain the slimmest of hopes that they could make the 2023 play-offs.
A win of any description would put the Dragons into second spot, while they needed an unlikely win by one hundred and twenty-nine points or more to regain top spot.
A win for the Rhinos would keep their season alive, at least for a couple of hours until Hull KR took on the Salford Red Devils in the evening kick-off.
There was no doubting that the Dragons were strong favourites, the Rhinos likely to see an end to their 2023 hopes after the most inconsistent of seasons.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 16th Sep 2023 6:48 PM
St Helens fans travelling to Warrington for tonight’s round 26 game would be keeping one eye on the score updates from the DW Stadium as they hoped that their side could thrash an out of form Wolves side who are in danger of dropping out of the play-offs, while Castleford Tigers sprung some kind of miracle against one of their rivals for the minor premiership.
A win for Saints would send their interest into the final round of the season and while defeat wouldn’t certainly mean that the Wolves would miss out on the last play-off spot, it would mean that it was increasingly unlikely that they would make the top six when the final reckoning was made at the end of round twenty-seven.
Saints were big favourites in the bookies eyes as they start to find their best form at the right end of the season.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 15th Sep 2023 9:57 PM
In what had widely been dubbed the play off for the play offs, the Salford Red Devils welcomed the Warrington Wolves to the AJ Bell Stadium for a showdown match which would determine whether the fight for the top six would go on for at least another round, or whether the home side would all but mathematically bow out at this stage.
A win for the Red Devils would put them level on points with sixth placed Warrington, and a win by forty-five points or more would lift them above their opponents and into sixth spot with two round remaining.
On the other hand, if the Wolves were to take the points, then they would join Hull KR four points clear of the seventh placed Salford and with them both having a far superior points difference it was effectively over for the Red Devils.
The bookies were struggling to pick a favourite but erred on the side of the visitors, but by a very narrow margin.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 10th Sep 2023 2:49 PM
The Wigan Warriors were looking for a return to the top of the table and knew that a win of any veriety would achieve that due to their superior points difference over the other two minor premiership hopefuls, the Catalans Dragons and arch-rivals St Helens.
The Rhinos came into the game in the full knowledge that a defeat, while not mathematically ending their hopes of a play-off place, would effectively do so, and snuff out the final light on a very disappointing season.
The bookies had the visitors as strong favourites for the win and gave the Rhinos an eight-point start on the handicap coupon; the scene was set for it to be a miserable Saturday afternoon for the Headingley Southstand faithful.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 9th Sep 2023 4:49 PM
With the league leader’s trophy looking like it was a step too far for Leigh Leopards in what has turned into an astounding season for them, tonight’s game against a St Helens side with their eyes on the top of the table, was a chance for the fourth placed side to move two points closer to securing a lofty play-off place.
Leigh won both games so far in 2023 against the World Champions, the league game at the LSV and the Challenge Cup semi-final which saw them make their victorious trip to Wembley Stadium on the 12th of August.
St Helens were favourites going into the game with a twelve-point handicap on the coupon as they looked to continue their improvement in form as the competition entered its final stages and they looked to peak just in time for the Old Trafford Grand Final.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 8th Sep 2023 9:56 PM
With three games of the regular Super League 2023 season remaining, the there are three key questions which remain to be answered as the teams continue to jostle for positions throughout the league ladder.
Three sides are currently tied in top spot with any of them having the opportunity to seal the minor premiership, and the top two to who would secure themselves an easier route to the Grand Final through the playoffs.
Down at the bottom of the table it is still a competition between Wakefield and Castleford to avoid the drop into the Championship, and the top six isn’t yet set in stone with eight clubs still in the running for the top six places.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Wed 6th Sep 2023 6:25 AM
The unpredictable nature of both Wakefield Trinity and St Helens throughout 2023 meant that today’s meeting at the Be Well Support Stadium was a bit of a lottery for those trying to make a prediction about the outcome.
A win by more than ten points for the home side would see them off the bottom of the table and above the Castleford Tigers in the scramble to avoid relegation, while a seventy-five-point win for Saints (not beyond the realms of possibility) would move the visitors into top spot in the league, quashing all thoughts of their very poor start to the season.
Saints were the bookies favourites with Wakefield given a sixteen-point start on the handicap coupon, but it would be a brave person who would write off a Trinity side still frantically scrambling to maintain their Super League status.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 3rd Sep 2023 4:45 PM
While the losers of Saturday afternoon’s clash between Hull FC and the Leeds Rhinos were not mathematically out of the race for the top six, and a play off place, the likelihood was that any practical chance that the loser would have of making the end of season knock out games would be highly unlikely.
Both sides came into the game on twenty points, four behind the play off place currently occupied by the Warrington Wolves who had a simultaneous kick-off in a home banker against the Castleford Tigers.
A Wolves win would see today’s losers needing to win all three of their remaining games while hoping that those around them did them a series of big favours.
In reality, this was just a dead rubber, but Hull FC were the favourites with the bookies to take the two points and further their fans agony for another make or break weekend.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 2nd Sep 2023 4:44 PM