It was a mid-table tussle in Newcastle as the Knights took on the Tigers when eighth played tenth. The Knights could make It up to fifth in the ladder with a win but knew that a loss would see the Wests just a point behinds them and would be a blow to their top eight hopes.
Both coaches were forced into a handful of changes. The home side had Green, Jones, Shibasaki and To’a in their line-up while Michael McGuire had Twal, Leilua, Eisenhuth and Packer in his seventeen-man squad.
Home advantage, and ladder position, made the Knights the favourites but both sides came into the game on the back of two losses, and both have won just once in their last four outings.
After breaking bubble protocols the Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett would be watching his side from home (probably not the local restaurant) as his side took on the Brisbane Broncos. A win for the Rabbitohs would lift them from eighth to sixth in the table, but a loss for the Broncos could see them lose any real last hope of a top eight finish and a place in the play-offs.
The Rabbitohs switched Jack Johns into the side for Jaydn Su’A, while the Broncos made three changes from last week with Brodie Croft, David Fifita and Matthew Lodge into the side in place of Milford, Bullemor and Kennedy.
The bookies fancied a win for Souths but from fifteenth place in the league the sleeping giant, the Broncos, weren’t such long odds as their ladder position might suggest.
Early season whipping boys, St George Illawarra Dragons had a round thirteen encounter with a Sydney Roosters side currently sitting precariously in fourth on the ladder as they struggle with a number of injuries across the park. Neither side would likely improve their ladder position as a result of todays game, but for St George the win would keep them in touch with the top eight, whereas the Roosters needed the win to keep themselves in the top four.
The Roosters were the favourites, while the Dragons were shocked by the enforced omission of Paul Vaughan who had broken ‘bubble’ restrictions after eating out in a local restaurant.
The Dragons were without the aforementioned Vaughan, Jacob Host and Corey Norman having brought Adam Clune, Kaide Ellis and Trent Merrin into the side. An injury ravaged Roosters had lost the services of Waerea-Hargreaves and Flanagan with Drew Hutchison and Max Bailey in the side.
Despite being a rearranged home game for the Giants, delayed from round two, Huddersfield had to travel to Leeds to take on a Rhinos side with both sides having their eyes on the top of the table.
The second game of the Super League restart saw a West Yorkshire derby between two sides who made a great pre-lockdown start to the 2020 season and who would have hoped to have picked up where they left off in March.
A win for either side would lift them to the top of the table, but the nature of the game would tell us so much more about their prospects for the season.
It’s been one hundred and thirty-nine days, twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes since the final hooter sounded on the last rugby league game to be played in Super League but after a terrible four and a half months, with the losses of lives and livelihoods, the greatest game was finally back, albeit in much changed circumstances.
First up was a re-arranged round four fixture between St Helens and the Catalans Dragons played at Emerald Headingley behind closed doors. There would be no scrums, the new six again rule, and a game likely to be played at high speed.
Things have changed in the World, possibly forever, and inevitably this is reflected in our game. But now is the time to try and return to some semblance of normality, even if it is a new normality for everyone.
A narrow win for the Paramatta Eels had moved the Melbourne Storm down to third place in the ladder but a win would put them back to within a point of the league leaders, the Penrith Panthers. Their opposition, the Newcastle Knights, have been running hot and cold all season knew that a win would give them a little breathing space within the all-important eight.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy named changes of Bromwich, Seve, Hynes and Eisenhuth in his seventeen-man side while Adam O’Brien’s Knights would have Randall, King and Crossland on duty.
The bookies fancied the Storm to extend their five game winning run in the final game of round twelve, but the Knights knew that spoiling the Storm party would boost their own Grand Final chances.
Table topping Penrith Panthers were in Sydney at Lottoland to take on a Manly Sea Eagles who were looking for a win to get themselves back into the top eight. A Penrith win would ensure that the ended the round in top spot but any slip-up would open the door for the Storm and the Eels to step above them.
The Sea Eagles had Walker and Keppie in their line-up, while the Panthers made four changes bringing in Koroisau, Staines, Kikau and Tetavano.
The Panthers were clear favourites to take the points but the Sea Eagles were keen to spoil the party, just as they did against the Eels a couple of weeks ago.
Thirteenth placed North Queensland Cowboys welcomed sixth placed Canberra Raiders to the Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville as both sides looked for the win that would improve their ladder position by a single place.
The Cowboys haven’t won a game in their last four outings but the visitors arrived seeking to extend a two game winning run as they aim for the top four. The Raiders were big favourites with the bookies.
Cowboys coach Josh Hannay made three changes to his side bringing in Lemuelu, Asiata and McLean while Raiders coach Ricky Stuart named Bateman, Scott and Harawita-Naera in his seventeen.
The Warriors season lays in ruins after cracks started to show in the squad following the sacking of coach Stephen Kearney, and the decision of several players to return to their families in New Zealand.
Tenth placed Tigers went into the game as firm favourites with the bookies and knew that a win would lift them into seventh in the table. A win for the Warriors would lift them to twelfth but a heavy loss could have seen them drop as low as fifteenth, and possibly finish the round propping up the table.
There were multiple changes from both coaches with Twal, Garner and Mikaele in for the Tigers and Alvaro, Jennings, Herbert and Egan named in the Warriors side after several players elected to return home to their families in New Zealand.