It seemed last week that putting as little thought into this as possible worked out pretty well. I think I can manage something like that again… Also, we’re back up to a full schedule for the first time since Round 1 (which was really Round 2, but hey ho).
Harlequins beat Salford City Reds by 18
I don’t think Brian McDermott will be too happy with the way that Quins threw away victory against Wigan last week, and you don’t want to make McDermott angry… Salford haven’t looked too great so far this season, and Quins should have enough to get past them (if they haven’t let last week’s defeat get inside their heads).
Huddersfield Giants beat Hull FC by 8
Both teams are surprising front-runners at this stage, and I think this could be a great game. I’m taking Huddersfield mainly due to home advantage here, and also because I think Nathan Brown has appeared to work wonders for them.
Wigan Warriors beat Bradford Bulls by 10
What a difference a week makes. What a difference winning makes. Bradford have not looked good so far, although they have played two sides who have clearly dramatically improved this year. Even so, I suspect that Wigan’s comeback at Quins should provide them with some of the impetus that their season was in dire need of.
Catalan Dragons beat Castleford Tigers by 16
The Dragons haven’t looked all that impressive so far this year, whilst Castleford have been much improved. So why pick the Dragons. Mainly home advantage, and also I think their quality should be more than anything Castleford have come up against so far this season.
St Helens beat Celtic Crusaders by 30
Hull KR may have done the Crusaders a huge disservice by beating Saints last week. Look for them to be fired up and to to make a statement in their first visit to Bridgend. The Crusaders have been trying to get to grips with Super League and they’ll really need to take it up a few levels if they hope to take a win from Saints.
Hull KR beat Wakefield Trinity Wildcats by 12
Another two sides who have improved, and so another fixture where I’m going with home advantage. I also wonder if Wakefield’s injuries will catch up with them at some point.
Leeds Rhinos beat Warrington Wolves by 4
Leeds are coming off the exhausting defeat to Manly in the World Club Challenge, and haven’t look particularly great all year. Warrington have a new coach, which usually provides a lift to a team. What’s more, that coach is going up against his ex-club in his first game in charge, lending the game dramatic frisson. So why pick Leeds? Because I still don’t trust Warrington. I’m sort of hoping to be proved wrong here though, for the entertainment value alone.