The excitement of end of season rugby league just keeps coming. Following the events at the DW Stadium and Headingley over the last two nights, which saw Wigan and Leeds into the Grand Final, this afternoon delivered the Million Pound Match between Wakefield Wildcats and Bradford Bulls with a top flight place at stake.

The newest Super League invention, a Qualifiers' fourth versus fifth play off for a place in the top flight in 2016, descended on a packed Belle Vue Stadium in Wakefield.

One game to decide a season, a club and players futures, and the recipient of a million pounds of Super League 2016 money.
An Old Trafford Grand Final next Saturday, against the Wigan Warriors, was the prize on offer as league leaders the Leeds Rhinos welcomed fourth placed St. Helens to a packed Headingley, swelled by supporters wishing to witness the last home games of Rhinos legends Sinfield, Peacock and Leuluai.

This was the fifth meeting between the two sides in 2015 with the Rhinos having three wins under their belts, but the last meeting was at Headingley at the start of September in the Super 8s when Saints ran out as 32-18 winners, a week after the Rhinos had picked up the Challenge Cup at Wembley.

The Rhinos were firm favourites with the bookies, but only a fool ever writes Saints off.
Tonight's sudden death game at the DW Stadium pitted second against third as Wigan Warriors hosted the Huddersfield Giants in the first 2015 play-off semi-final. Wigan came into the game on the back of a big win over the Castleford Tigers, but the story was very different for the Giants who were left reeling by a traumatic last minute defeat at the hands of the Rhinos last weekend. A loss which denied them a home semi-final and instead sent them over the Pennines.

Wigan came into the game unbeaten in Super League at home and just one win away from a third consecutive visit to Old Trafford for the games showpiece event. The Giants were looking to get to Old Trafford for the first time but the pundits and bookies had them as underdogs for a Grand Final debut.
For the Qualifiers Super 8s the points slate was wiped clean at the end of the opening part of the season giving the sides a level playing field for the remaining seven games of the season. While the Super League sides came through the field to finish in the top four spots, with Hull KR, Widnes and Salford guaranteeing themselves top flight rugby next season the Wakefield Wildcats have a home play-off against the Bulls in the Million Pound Game on Saturday afternoon.

In the Super League Super 8ís the top four sides at the split, finished as the top four sides overall and gained themselves a semi-final place, albeit with the order of finish changed. This was predominantly due to the points for the first half of the season being carried forward, giving an advantage to the sides who had competed well all year.

But what if the Super League Super 8s had been played with all sides starting on zero, would things have been any different?
Barring the near impossible, a sixty point Wakefield win at Sheffield coupled with a similar losing margin for the Widnes Vikings against the Leigh Centurions, there was nothing to play for in the final Sunday of Super 8s Qualifiers.

With Widnes safely back in Super League for 2016 they could enjoy themselves with a home game against a Leigh Centurions side with a point to prove to themselves and their supporters after a very disappointing 'Qualifiers' series. While a Super League scalp wouldn't ease the pain it would set the Centurions up for their 2016 campaign.

The Select Security Stadium was the venue as both sides looked to end 2015 on a high.
After last nights dramatic events in the Super League Super 8s all eyes now turned to two matches in the Qualifiers 8s which would determine home advantage for the Million Pound Game next Saturday.

Fifth placed Bradford Bulls needed to beat Halifax by a big margin and hope that Sheffield Eagles could either beat the Wakefield Wildcats, or lose by a very narrow margin, to give them an important home advantage next weekend.

Bulls coach James Lowes made nine changes, perhaps resigned to finishing fifth and with an eye of a fully fit, first choice, seventeen for next week.
Games don't get much more important than this outside the centre stage of Old Trafford and Wembley. The maths were simple, a win for the Rhinos would see them as Minor Premiers, but victory for the Huddersfield Giants could see them crowned as league leaders, depending on the result at the DW, where the Warriors faced the Tigers.

The Rhinos have looked favourites all season, but came into tonight's crucial fixture on the back of three consecutive post-Wembley losses against a Giants side who like nothing better than to cause their big city neighbours some pain.

This had all the makings of a belter.
Langtree Park was the venue for the first of the weekends crucial final round of Super League Super 8s. The four teams for the semi-finals were already known but each could still finish in any order, as only a single point separated the top four at the start of play.

The Warrington Wolves were out of the equation and had nothing to lose in their last game of the season. A win for the visitors would condemn Saints to fourth spot, barring a massive win for the Rhinos at the Giants on Friday night. A win for the home side would put them top of the pile and give them a chance of a home semi-final.
The prize on offer at today's match at the Select Security Stadium was simply to secure Super League for 2016. With both Widnes Vikings and Salford Red Devils on eight points, two points would lift either side above the reach of fifth placed Bradford Bulls and into the safety zone.

While a loss wouldn't be the end of the road for either, the win would take the pressure off going into the last week.
Both sides meeting in tonight's clash at Langtree Park had their eyes fixed firmly on top spot. For the Warriors, a win tonight would see them two points clear at the top, but should the home side take the two points then they would be within one point of both the Warriors and the Rhinos with one game left to the semi-finals.

The 'original' derby stage was set for a cracker and the two sides didn't fail to deliver as they served up a high-intensity humdinger of a game where no quarter was asked or given.
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