Hopefully my premonitions will last a whole weekend this time instead of just Friday…
Wigan Warriors beat Castleford Tigers by 8
Both sides had close defeats last weekend which they will feel they should have won. Wigan don’t have Cameron Phelps available for this game, which a lot of their fans will tell you is a good thing. It really wouldn’t surprise me if Wigan being forced to play a lot of their Academy talent results in a massive improvement in performance, just because the world seems to work like that. Still, Cas can be dangerous and should provide some stiff competition for an under-performing Warriors.
Leeds Rhinos beat Hull KR by 10
If this was the weekend after the World Club Challenge I would be tempted to tip KR here as they look to have made real strides based on their performance against Bradford. However, Leeds as always are the team to beat and they will be focused and ready for the Robins’ threat as they prepare for the challenge of Manly. The lack of spark that Rob Burrow, Brent Webb and Ali Lauitiiti provide should keep this game fairly close.
Warrington Wolves beat Catalan Dragons by 14
Although it was a crushing defeat in many ways, the Wolves were the better side for most of the Saints game and if they actually maintain that form for a whole 80 minutes they should do well. Martin Gleeson returning and Kevin Penny being dropped indicates that Matt King might be moving to the wing, which could prove to be the answer to the King enigma. Catalan didn’t look good last weekend against the Giants and I just feel that the Wolves will rebound better than the Dragons, especially since they’re at home.
Hull FC beat Celtic Crusaders by 18
At long last, Super League’s Welsh presence gets to play in Wales. Celtic haven’t actually looked that bad so far but they’ve shown a very worrying tendency to start games terribly and leave themselves with too much catching up to do. Hull FC didn’t look too shabby against Wigan last week and this is the exact game they need to win to prove that last season’s disaster was an aberration.
Huddersfield Giants beat St Helens by 8
What can I say? I’m totally jumping on this Giants bandwagon and Saints looked a little ropey until the Wolves’ implosion. The fact that they’re at home and Saints are rarely the best starters to Super League campaigns could prove to be extremely beneficial for the Giants, and look for them to show us whether they’re the real deal or not.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats beat Salford City Reds by 16
Wakefield are starting to get some players back on deck (Sam Obst returns) and they’re at home. That might just be enough against a Salford side who started off very well against the Crusaders before very nearly letting them back into it. With the Wildcats looking not bad in their two games, I think they should just have enough to remind the Reds about the trials of Super League.
BONUS UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION
Manly Sea Eagles beat Harlequins by not as much as they really should
I shall be at this game. I’m looking forward to it, but I just suspect that Manly will have to sneak it mainly due to a lack of match preparation and this news of a stomach bug in the camp doesn’t bode too well for them either. Even so, they’ve simply got too much class for Quins.