There were fewer more important games in Round Twenty than the Leeds Rhinos against the Catalans Dragons. The Rhinos knew that a win would lift them off the foot of the table and possibly as high as ninth, whereas the Dragons are quickly slipping down the table after a four game losing streak.

An administrative mix-up meant that ex-skipper Kallum Watkins was unavailable for his farewell game while new signing from the mid-week swap-shop, Shaun Lunt was injured so all eyes were on Robert Lui as he pulled on the Rhinos stand-off jersey for the first time. The Dragons had a long injury list with McIlorum, Bird, Gigot, Whitley, Baitieri, Edwards and Tierney not making the journey.

There was unlikley to be much finesse as both sides scrapped nervously for the points.

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While most of the Super League attention has been focussed on the shenanigans at bottom of the table, the runaway top two sides had an encounter at a sweltering Halliwell-Jones Stadium as the Warrington Wolves welcomed St Helens for the match of the round. 

A win was crucial for Warrington if they were to keep hold of any outside hopes of a minor premiership as it would get them within four points of the Red Vee. A loss would almost guarantee a Saints side, who have only lost twice in 2019, the top spot as they would then be eight points clear.

The Wolves had Tom Lineham back in their side after a three game suspension and the home fans flooded into the packed ground hoping for better outcome than the 38-12 loss that they suffered back in April at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

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If there wasn’t already enough pressure on Hull KR to win the Hull derby, the home side had the added stress of needing a win to lift themselves off the bottom of the Super League table, and grab themselves a lifeline in a very competitive bottom of the table.

With Hull FC’s Albert Kelly missing through injury, Lee Radford moved Jake Connor to stand off. Hull KR gave a debut to midweek signing Matt Parcell at hooker as they looked to overcome the disappointment of last weeks loss in London.

This is the third meeting of the season with honours shared so far. KR had a narrow two point win back in February but at their most recent meeting, at the KCOM in April, saw FC win by 56-12. A win for FC would go a long way to guaranteeing them a play off place, it was a question of who wanted the to points the most.

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It was quarter final night in the 1895 Cup with York City Knights playing host to the Batley Bulldogs. York beat Newcastle in the last round to progress, while Batley registered a win against Rochdale.

Both sides made changes for this midweek match, resting some seasoned professionals and giving the opportunity to some youngsters. Eight changes for York, but just one enforced change for Batley as Don Brambini was unavailable for selection due to injury.

This is the second meeting between the two sides in 2019 with the Knights winning the encounter at the beginning of May by 28-24 in a very closely fought  game. Both sides were just two wins away from a famous Wembley appearance in the curtain raiser game to the Challenge Cup.

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With games spread over three days, round eighteen of the Betfred Championship would, once again, do little to assist in our understanding of the play-off places as Toronto Wolfpack tightened their grip on the minor premiership, sweeping aside all before them.

The game of the weekend saw Toulouse visit Toronto on Saturday afternoon but their match had been preceded on Friday night by the Eagles at home to Rochdale and the Widnes Vikings playing the Bulldogs.

Sundays highlight looked like being the game between the Bulls and Halifax  as York went to Swinton, Featherstone hosted Barrow and Leigh visited Dewsbury.

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The two sides who seem to play each other more times than some people have hot dinners, met again at Odsal Stadium as seventh placed Bradford Bulls met a Halifax side currently two points adrift of them in eighth.

Halifax knocked the Bulls out of the Challenge Cup on the 2nd June to set themselves up with a semi-final against St Helens, and also won the league match in Blackpool at the Summer Bash by 21-14. Bradford took the points in April with a 33-26 away win and needed a win this afternoon to even honours over the season with their near neighbours.

Both sides has a myriad of changes as they re-shuffled their sides looking for a crucial two points to keep in touch with the league leaders and a play-off spot.

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Queensland and New South Wales travelled the breadth of Australia for the second game of this year’s State of Origin series, both with pressing reasons to win. Victory for the Queenslanders would see them retain the title from last year. New South Wales needed a win to keep the series alive for a series decider in their home territory of Sydney. As it turned out, it was the Blues who dominated throughout the game, including periods of torrential rain, to keep their Origin hopes alive in front of a stadium-record crowd in Perth.
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The sides placed third and fourth in Super League had a massive play-off four pointer in a sunny Perpignan. A win for the Dragons would lift them above the Airlie Birds and into third spot, while a victory for the visitors would enable them to open up a four point gap over fourth and a six point margin over fifth spot, making them the clear favourites to secure a top five finish.

Steve McNamara’s side had Sam Moa and Michael McIlorum back in their side, but were without talisman Tony Gigot and the suspended Jason Baitieri. Sika Manu and Josh Griffin returned for FC, as did Josh Bowden who was rested last time out, but Mark Minichiello was absent with a groin strain.

There was little to choose between the sides on paper, it just depended on which side would blow the hottest in the French sunshine.

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It was top against bottom as St Helens hosted the Leeds Rhinos, Richard Agars side arriving at the Totally Wicked Stadium on a hiding to nothing. The bookies could only see one outcome, the continued relentless charge of the home side to the minor premiership.

Saints took a surprising loss to the London Broncos a fortnight ago out after resting several players for their trip south but they made amends with a big win against the Huddersfield Giants last weekend. The Rhinos lost to the Warriors last weekend and are now desperate for the points after Londons win against Hull KR last night.

Both sides made a couple of changes to last weekends sides, Kallum Watkins named in the Leeds second row for his penultimate game before departing for Australia.

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After stunning victories for both sides last week, the two sides at the bottom of the table had the four pointer to end all four pointers, a game which would lift one of the sides into tenth place, and more importantly leave the loser anchored at the base of the table.

This was a truly crucial game for both sides, it could be the difference between survival and relegation, the winner having something to kick on from, the loser left reeling from the loss.

Ben Hellewell replaced Matt Fleming for Danny Ward’s home side as they looked to make it three wins on the bounce, while KR coach Tony Smith was without Mitch Garbutt and gave debuts to loan signings Daniel Murray, Harvey Livett and Luis Johnson.

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