With both Hull FC and Wigan already qualified for the Super Eights you could be forgiven for thinking that there was nothing to play for in tonight's encounter at the KC Stadium.
But for the top eight, the points amassed in the first twenty-three rounds are carried forward into the final seven so both sides were keen for a win. A win for Wigan would put them level on points with the league leaders, Leeds Rhinos and a win for Hull FC would get them two points closer to a Grand Final play-off place.
It wasn't an easy job to pick the game of round twenty-two of the Kingstone Press Championship.
Over nine thousand were at Odsal for the top of the table clash between Bradford Bulls and Leigh Centurions but with both clubs already qualified for the Middle Eights there was much more at stake at the early kick-off at Doncaster where Halifax were the visitors and the second of the Keepmoat double header when Sheffield Eagles faced Featherstone Rovers.
London Broncos needed a win at Workington to keep their outside chance of a top four finish alive and if Halifax did slip up then Dewsbury needed a win at Whitehaven to stay in contention, at least mathematically.
The Catalans Dragons needed a home win to go back ahead of Hull FC into seventh spot and a win by fifty-six points or more would see them up to sixth ahead of Warrington. The Giants needed the points to maintain fourth spot and the all important four home games in the Super Eights.
The last time that these two met was at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle where they entertained the big crowd with a 24-24 draw, but in the April meeting at the John Smith's Stadium it was a simple 38-14 win for the home side.
The Dragons have only lost once at home this season, against the league leading Leeds Rhinos, making it was a daunting task for the absent Paul Anderson's Claret and Golds.
The game of round twenty-two of Super League XX was undoubtedly at the KC Lightstream Stadium where ninth place Hull KR hosted the East Yorkshire derby against the Black & Whites of Hull FC.
Anything but a win would condemn the Robins to the middle eights dogfight at the expense of their keenest enemy who would have secured the prize of Super Eights and a crack at the Grand Final. KR needed to win by fifty-seven points to get themselves above FC but if they could get themselves level on points then qualification would go down to the last weekend of the season.
In a season where 'every game counts' this one counted more than most.
For St Helens it was the chance to go top of the pile, for Warrington Wolves it was their chance to keep alive their hopes of a top four finish and put an end to their mathematical fears of dropping out of the eight.
This is the third meeting between the sides in 2015 and the Saints are looking to complete the whitewash having won 32-24 at Langtree Park back in March, and 20-16 in Newcastle.
Warrington's last home game was the masterly win over Wigan a fortnight ago and they were up against a Saints side showing patchy form with two wins in their last four.
We are now just two games away from the split from two into three divisions and while there are still a number of issues to be resolved, the picture became a little clearer over the weekend.
In Super League the only certainty for a top four finish is the Leeds Rhinos but Saints, and Wigan Warriors are guaranteed ‘Super 8s’. Wakefield Wildcats are guaranteed ‘Middle 8’s’, and have been for several weeks.
In the Championship Leigh Centurions and Bradford Bulls are certain of Middle 8’s and Whitehaven, Workington, Batley, Hunslet and Doncaster are all definitely in the Lower 8’s.
Round twenty-one of the Kingstone Press Championship threw together some intriguing fixtures which could have a massive bearing on the way that the top four would be decided as we head rapidly towards the split into three divisions of eight.
There were four fixtures which would effect league standings around the cut-off with; Leigh v. Featherstone, Halifax v. Batley, Dewsbury v. London and in the afternoons late kick-off, Sheffield v. Bradford.
There was also the Cumbrian derby with local bragging rights at stake and Doncaster were looking for their first win of the season at home against Hunslet.
After last nights bloockbuster at the DW which saw the Warriors triumph in a last minute win over the Rhinos, Langtree Park played host to third against fourth as Saints took on the Huddersfield Giants.
A win for Saints, who have only lost once to the Giants in St Helens in the Super League era, would see them within one point of the league leaders. A win for the Giants would see them go above Saints into third thanks to a superior points difference.
Saints were slight favourites with the bookies with the Giants getting a six point start on the coupon. The stage was set for another cracker.
First against third as the Leeds Rhinos travelled to the DW Stadium to take on the Wigan Warriors, the side who beat them 27-12 the last time they met in Newcastle.
Wigan's ranks were bolstered by several returning stars including skipper Sean O'Loughlin but the Rhinos were forced to re-organise after losing Zak Hardaker to suspension, Stevie Ward and Mitch Garbutt to a back injury, the latter suffered in training after the Australian had made an impressive performance in his debut last week.
The home side were favourites with the bookies with the Rhinos being given a six point start on the handicap coupon.
The Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, the birthplace of Origin, was the venue for the eagerly anticipated decider in the 2015 State of Origin Series. The eyes of the rugby league world were turned to the Southern Hemisphere for what, on paper, promised to be a bone cruncher of a match.
Robbie Farah was missing for the Blues after breaking his hand and was replaced by Michael Ennis while the Maroons welcomed back Cooper Cronk, in place of Daly Cherry-Evans, after he missed the second match through injury. Queensland are without Billy Slater after he suffered a season-ending injury and Greg Inglis was selected to play in the full-back berth.
Queensland were odds on to win the match and take the series, but were only -2 on the handicap coupon. Even the bookies were struggling to pick a winner.
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