Archive for the ‘Predictions’ Category

Crystal Ball: Week 29

September 11, 2009

Crystal BallAnd just like that, we’re at the end of the regular season. Whilst most of the playoff teams are sorted out, there’s still a bit of positioning to be dealt with. 

Bradford Bulls beat Hull FC by 8

I can’t believe this now, but Bradford might just have managed to sneak their way into the playoffs (especially since the Airlie Birds’ season lost purpose some time ago). If they manage to do this, it’s an absolutely remarkable turnaround by Steve McNamara. Of course, there’s always the question of why they needed a miracle turnaround, but let’s not ruin the occasion now. 

Leeds Rhinos beat Salford City Reds by 22

Salford should put up a good fight, but I think that the Rhinos have started to look ominous going into the playoffs. They should be able to cope with the loss of a few of their bigger name players to suspension, and I think the idea of capturing the League Leader’s Shield (shouldn’t that have a proper name, like the Mal Reilly Shield or summat?).

St Helens beat Catalan Dragons by 16

Saints actually managed to keep up with Leeds for the most of their game last week, so I think the idea that they’re a spent force doesn’t hold water. The main advantage for Catalan will be the absence of James Graham, but I doubt that creates enough of a dent in a Saints side still holding onto some outside hope of a fourth League Leader’s Shield in a row.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats beat Hull KR by 4

Two sides with fairly long winning streaks heading into this game. This game should also affect both teams’ final position in the table and it’s not out of the question that they’ll meet in the playoffs. I’m picking Wakefield mainly because of home advantage, but I expect it’ll be a tough one for both sides.

Huddersfield Giants beat Wigan Warriors by 8

A lot of what I wrote in the above preview also directly applies here, as Huddersfield are trying to overtake Hull KR whilst Wigan are trying to hold off Wakefield. Indeed, if results go the way I predict, then we’ll see two sides make minor surges up the table to finish the season. Again, I’m picking the Giants mainly because of home advantage (although Wigan are definitely a team in form right now). 

Warrington Wolves beat Harlequins by 26

Any hope Harlequins had of making the playoffs probably evaporated with their home mauling by the Tigers last week. Warrington have been pretty mediocre (Cup final apart) but I think they’ll give the home fans something to cheer about for their final home game of a bizarrely mixed season. 

Castleford Tigers beat Celtic Crusaders by 46

Did you know there are two teenage debutants in the Crusaders’ match squad? They’re limping to the finish line and I think the Tigers will want to protect their position in the playoffs far too much to squander a gift like this at home. The Crusaders will simpl want to get this season over and done with, whilst Cas will have the exact opposite attitude.

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Crystal Ball: Week 28

September 4, 2009

Crystal BallOh Christ. I’ve come down with something, so forgive me if this is less coherent than usual.

Leeds Rhinos beat St Helens by 12

Leeds at home     *cough*    Saints looking shaky…   *splutter* 

Wigan Warriors beat Hull FC by 16

Wigan at home, playing well… urgghhh… Hull’s season gone about as well as I feel right now…

Catalan Dragons beat Wakefield Trinity Wildcats by 18

How did the Dragons manage to sneak into the top 8? Well, by winning…     where’s the cough sweets?

Huddersfield Giants beat Celtic Crusaders by 44

What better way for the Giants to take out their frustration? 

Hull KR beat Warrington Wolves by 6

I’ve ummed and ahhhed on this one quite a bit, and in the end I’ve decided that even if Tony Smith isn’t satisfyed with a Cup and no playoff appearance, I suspect the town is.

Harlequins beat Castleford Tigers by 4

No idea why other than this happening would set up a very interesting final weekend of matches. I know I’m not thinking straight (I’m not certain I can see straight right now…). 

Bradford Bulls beat Salford City Reds by 8

I thought it was too little too late from the Bulls, but if these results go as I predicted it will be a very interesting final weekend of matches… *sniff*

Crystal Ball: Week 27

August 21, 2009

Crystal BallChrist, the regular season is nearly over! How did that happen?

Hull FC beat Harlequins by 14

Because I thought Harlequins had a serious chance at being dark horses for the Grand Final just after their win at Hull KR, the League Gods have cursed them and screwed them over. They really need a win to scrape into the playoff positions, but it’s hard to pick them after such a prolonged period of shite. Expect this game to consist of two sides trying to out-mediocre each other. 

Hull KR beat Salford City Reds by 4

I think Salford must really regret their awful start to the season, because their performances now are for pride instead of a playoff place which had they not given up such a big head-start might have been a real possibility. I think KR will be too much for them but I expect the Reds to go down with a fight. 

St Helens beat Huddersfield Giants by 10

Because a) revenge and b) the Giants have their eyes on a nearer prize…

Warrington Wolves beat Wakefield Trinity Wildcats by 12

Mainly ‘cos of home advantage. It wouldn’t surprise me though if Wire also had their minds on other matters

Leeds Rhinos beat Celtic Crusaders by 44

I think Leeds might just have their mojo back. Also, there’s been a lot of unneeded distractions around Celtic this week…

Bradford Bulls beat Catalan Dragons by 14

Somehow it had escaped my attention that the Dragons had sneaked into the playoff spots. I think Bradford have been playing well lately and should do some damage to this late french surge. 

Wigan Warriors beat Castleford Tigers by 4

Wigan are definitely coming to the boil at about the right time and I would not like to have to come up against them in the playoffs. Cas have been variable of late and really could do with a win to consolidate a playoff berth, especially as their points difference took an absolute crushing last week. I imagine this means that Cas come out with a point to prove this week, but I don’t think it’ll be enough.

Crystal Ball: Week 26

August 14, 2009

Crystal BallLeeds Rhinos beat Castleford Tigers by 14

Although Cas usually put up a fight against the Rhinos, but I’ve got to got with home advantage here.

Wigan Warriors beat Warrington Wolves by 8

Wigan’s home crowd has proved to be a boost in the last few weeks, so I expect some revenge for last weekend.

Catalan Dragons beat Hull FC by 20

Because the Dragons still have a minor chance to reach the playoffs, whilst Hull are pants. 

Harlequins beat Salford City Reds by 6

Not sure why. 

Huddersfield Giants beat Bradford Bulls by 14

Because crushing Quins away doesn’t seem to mean all that much right now.

St Helens beat Hull KR by 4

This could easily be wrong, but I think Saints will react the right way to the end of their cup run.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats beat Celtic Crusaders by 18

Sure.

Crystal Ball: Week 25

August 8, 2009

Crystal BallAn abbreviated version this week, and I know this is after the first game but I stand by my picks. I would’ve picked Catalsns. Honest!

Catalan Dragons beat Salford City Reds by 10 

Well, we know what happened here.

Harlequins beat Bradford Bulls by

I’ve no confidence in this pick and wouldn’t be surprised if it’s wrong, but I just feel that Bradford are a club entirely lacking in positivity right now.

Crystal Ball: Week 24

July 31, 2009

Crystal BallHuddersfield Giants beat Hull FC by 10

Do the Airlie Birds even have anything to play for at this point? For the Giants, a top 2 finish really isn’t out of the question.

Salford City Reds beat Wakefield Trinity Wildcats by 4

Mainly because of home advantage.

St Helens beat Wigan Warriors by 8

Now this could be a real good un. Wigan showed last week that they are more than capable at taking on and beating top sides, and they’ve already beaten Saints once this season. They’re a team in the zone right now. Yet for some reason I feel compelled to pick Saints, even though they’re down a few good players. Why? I guess it’s the Knowesley Road factor. 

Leeds Rhinos beat Warrington Wolves by 10

Was last weekend a blip, or have Leeds been deceiving of late? I think a home tie against a slightly-struggling Wolves side might be the kind of game they can scrape through. 

Catalan Dragons beat Celtic Crusaders by 22

Expansion ahoy! The Dragons might just have peaked too late to mount a playoff run, but it should be enough to overcome the Crusaders here. 

Bradford Bulls beat Harlequins by 6

Two teams caught in a tailspin right now. This prediction reflects more in my lost faith in Quins than it does in my belief of the Bulls’ ability. Either way, I doubt this game is pretty.

Castleford Tigers beat Hull KR by 8

Two teams hoping to consolidate a playoff position. I think this could prove to be a real good game, and I think that home advantage and a greater sense of urgency helps the Tigers here.

Crystal Ball: Week 23

July 24, 2009

Crystal BallLeeds Rhinos beat Wigan Warriors by 4

Leeds just seem to have enough momentum to scrape through this one. Should be a close game either way.

Bradford Bulls beat Celtic Crusaders by 10

Not particularly confident about this pick, but I think the Bulls will want revenge for earlier in the season.

St Helens beat Harlequins by 22

Quins seem to have lost the plot in recent weeks, and a game against a smarting Saints is not the ideal place to rediscover it.

Hull KR beat Hull FC by 16

I think the Robins should confirm who’s the best side on Humberside this weekend.

Huddersfield Giants beat Catalan Dragons by 12

The Giants appear to be building up momentum at just the right time…

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats beat Castleford Tigers by 8

A local derby with serious playoff implications? Yes please!

Warrington Wolves beat Salford City Reds by 14

Mainly because of home advantage.

Crystal Ball: Week 22

July 17, 2009

Crystal BallIt’s been going pretty well for the last few weeks. Can I keep it going? For some reason I’m not so confident this week.

St Helens beat Wakefield Trinity Wildcats by 22

I find it hard to believe that last week’s game was anything other than a crushing blow to Wakey, added to which it seems that St Helens are the best team in the country.

Hull FC beat Celtic Crusaders by 14

Although if there was a team whom I could see the Crusaders somehow scraping an away victory against…

Castleford Tigers beat Salford City Reds by 6

Only because the Tigers need it more (if the Reds hadn’t started so poorly, this could’ve been a playoff eliminator).

Leeds Rhinos beat Hull KR by 16 

I still think Leeds are getting back into form, although they’ll need to do better than last week against a Hull KR side hoping to prove that they’re out of a rut. 

Catalan Dragons beat Harlequins by 12

Ah, that well-known local feud continues…

Warrington Wolves beat Huddersfield Giants by 2

This would be my upset pick for the weekend. I just think the Wolves will want to prove a point after last week’s disappointment and the Giants are surprisingly vulnerable at home. 

Wigan Warriors beat Bradford Bulls by 14

Because Wigan a) need it more and b) are playing better at the minute.

Crystal Ball: Week 21

July 10, 2009

Crystal BallWigan Warriors beat Catalan Dragons by 14

The Warriors have proven very good at getting good just in time for the playoffs under Brian Noble (he wasn’t too bad at doing that at Bradford either) and I think they end this mini resurgence by the Dragons.

Leeds Rhinos beat Wakefield Trinity Wildcats by 10

I think Leeds are also warming up as the playoffs approach. They’re not quite at full steam yet, but they should have just enough to get past Wakefield. 

Salford City Reds beat Celtic Crusaders by 8

Man, the Crusaders have had a rough week. I doubt it gets better when St Helens’ conquerors come to town.

Huddersfield Giants beat Harlequins by 18

For some reason, the Giants appear to have a hex over  Quins this year.

St Helens beat Warrington Wolves by 2

As much as Wire have improved, I just can’t bring myself to pick them over Saints. Sorry, just can’t do it. 

Hull KR beat Bradford Bulls by 8

No particularly good reason for this pick, just a gut feeling.

Castleford Tigers beat Hull FC by 14

The loser of this is out of the playoff picture.

Crystal Ball: Week 20

July 3, 2009

Crystal BallLast week wasn’t too bad. I’d like it to end up like that again, please.

St Helens beat Salford City Reds by 32

Beware the Saints – they’re right in form right now.

Wigan Warriors beat Harlequins by 6

Their game earlier in the season was a mini-classic, and I’m expecting a very similar result this week.

Leeds Rhinos beat Hull FC by 26

I think the Rhinos are back, and FC definitely seem to be on a slide right now.

Catalan Dragons beat Hull KR by 8

Are the Dragons about to make an improbable run for the playoffs? Utilising home advantage here would help their cause enormously.

Warrington Wolves beat Celtic Crusaders by 22

Warrington should make the playoffs now. It will be interesting to see if they can sneak into the top 4 (they’re only 4 points off).

Huddersfield Giants beat Wakefield Trinity Wildcats by 16

Because why not?

Castleford Tigers beat Bradford Bulls by 4

Cas probably need to win this if they want to get back into the top 8. I think that a sense of urgency should hold them in good stead.