The Super League is approaching its climax and most clubs still have plenty to play for.
The battle for the League Leaders’ Shield looks to be a two-horse race between St Helens and Catalans Dragons, but the race to make the play-off looks set to be lively.
It looks as though five teams are fighting it out to claim the final three spots in the knockout stages of the competition and with seven games to go, it’s all still up for grabs.
Wigan Warriors look the most comfortable in fourth at present, but neither Hull KR nor Hull FC can sit comfortably with Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers chasing hard.
With that in mind, we take a look at the run-ins of all five clubs.
Current position: 4 th
Current win percentage : 66.67
Games remaining: Hull KR (a), St Helens (h), Leeds (h), Castleford (a), Warrington (n), Hull FC (a), Catalans (h)
Wigan are sitting pretty in fourth place and their results of late suggest they are beginning to time their run to Old Trafford.
They’ve won five of their last six games to pull away from the pack slightly and with the likes of Zak Hardaker, John Bateman and Jai Field returning from injury, things are looking up at the DW Stadium.
As such, they’ll go into a tough run-in, in which they take on the rest of the top eight, full of confidence.
Every game looks tricky, starting on Friday with a trip to the notoriously challenging Craven Park before hosting Saints in the derby.
Games against Leeds, Castleford, Warrington, Hull and Catalans certainly look tough, too, particularly as they all have plenty on the line.
Current position: 5 th
Current win percentage: 53.85
Games remaining : Wigan (h), Hull FC (a), Wakefield (h), Huddersfield (a), Leigh (n), Castleford (h), Leeds (a)
Few expected the Robins to be in fifth at this stage of the season, but they keep on picking up the wins and with seven games to go, they stand a great chance of securing their first play-off spot since 2013.
Jordan Abdull will be missed, as will Adam Quinlan, but they have the quality needed to claim a shot at the Grand Final and they’ll be full of confidence, too.
Ryan Hall (5) of Hull KR is tackled by John Bateman (13) of Wigan Warriors
(Image: Craig Thomas/News Images)
There’s some very winnable games on the horizon with Wakefield, Huddersfield and Leigh, three opponents Tony Smith will be expecting his side to beat.
With every team in this battle to play, though, KR’s fate is in their own hands. Make a habit of beating their closest rivals and the sky could be the limit for Rovers.
Current position : 6 th
Current win percentage: 53.57
Games remaining: Catalans (a), Hull KR (h), Castleford (h), Salford (a), Leeds (n), Wigan (h), Wakefield (a)
Unlike Wigan and Rovers, Hull don’t exactly enter the final stage of the season with bags of confidence behind them.
They’ve lost their last three Super League outings, slipped from fourth to sixth in recent weeks and dropped themselves into the midst of a play-off battle.
Should this week’s game in France go ahead, the Black and Whites will be huge underdogs, but a derby win might just be what’s needed to get their season back on track.
Games against Castleford, Leeds and Wigan give Hull the opportunity to inflict damage on direct rivals, while there can be no excuses for not beating Salford or Wakefield.
Chris Satae of Hull FC is tackled by Morgan Knowles of St Helens
(Image: News Images)
Current position : 7 th
Current win percentage: 47.06
Games remaining: Leigh (a), Huddersfield (h), Wigan (a), Wakefield (a), Hull FC (n), St Helens (a), Hull KR (h)
The Rhinos have shown what they are capable of this season, but building consistency has been a real struggle at times for them, hence their standing in the Super League table.
However, if they can string a run together late in the season, it could be enough to claim a spot in the top six.
Leeds should leave Leigh with a win in the bag on Friday night, but games against Wigan and St Helens look testing and clashes with Hull and Rovers could end up having a do or die intensity to them.
It’s in their hands but the pressure is on at Headingley as Agar aims to take Leeds to the play-offs for the second year running.
Current position: 8 th
Current win percentage: 43.75
Games remaining : St Helens (a), Wakefield (h), Hull FC (a), Wigan (h), Salford (n), Hull KR (a), Warrington (h)
The fact that Castleford got themselves to the Challenge Cup final this year shows they are capable of beating anyone on their day.
However, they still haven’t convinced in terms of their ability to build up the consistency needed to compete in the league and that will need to change quickly if they are to make the play-offs.
With clashes against St Helens, Wigan and Warrington on the schedule, they’ll need to provide a shock or two, while trips to both the MKM Stadium and Craven Park appear challenging, too.
Anything can happen between now and the end of the season but from their current position, it seems they have work to do.