After a long Covid riddled season the playoffs start this Thursday night with 5th placed Leeds Rhinos taking on the 4th place Wigan Warriors, with 6th place Hull KR clashing with Warrington Wolves who placed 3rd on Friday evening. Either the league leaders shield winners Catalans Dragons or the runners up St.Helens await the two winners in the coming weeks.
Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos 7.45pm Kick-Off at DW Stadium
Wigan host a Leeds side coming into good form of late in the opening game of the playoffs, the two sides have met twice this season with both teams winning one game apiece. the most recent meeting of the sides was on the 25th August when Leeds won out 14-0.
The home side has stuttered into the playoffs but has come into playoffs on the back of wins against Castleford, Hull, and Catalans winning 3 of their last 4 games. With coach Adrian Lam departing at the end of the season as well as academy product Oliver Gildart joining the Wests Tigers along with fan favourite Jackson Hastings the club will look to get to the final to see them off well.
Leeds welcomes back several key players for this game none more important than the return of their two key tone setters in Mikolaj Oldeski and former Penrith enforcer Zane Tetevano. The Yorkshire outfit is no stranger to winning it all coming from 5th place in the league ladder.
Warrington Wolves v Hull KR 7.45 Halliwell Jones Stadium
Warrington welcomes playoff dark horses Hull KR to the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday night in what is set to be a fantastic game of rugby to watch due to both team’s expansive styles of play. The two sides have met once this season way back in May with Warrington winning comfortably 50-26.
Wire will be led round the park by their star half-back pairing of Gareth Widdop and mid-season recruit from Canberra Raiders George Williams, the pair have started to gel of late which combined with the ever-dangerous Daryl Clark commanding the Wolves big pack could spell trouble for Hull KR.
The Robins have been this year’s surprise package after taking home the wooden spoon last year and avoiding relegation due to default with the Toronto Wolfpack leaving the completion. Filled with players with plenty of experience such as Ryan Hall, Kane Linnett , Korbin Sims and captain Shaun Kenny Dowell mixed in with some great young talent in the likes of young halfback Mikey Lewis. Lewis’ half-back partner Jordan Abdull would of have been in for a real shout of Man of Steel this year if the Scottish International half didn’t suffer an injury.