The 2023 Betfred Super League season is on the brink of two significant attendance milestones ahead of the final round of matches before the Play-Offs this Friday night – and among a majority of clubs whose home crowds have increased year on year, the Challenge Cup finalists Leigh Leopards and Hull KR have posted their best figures since well before the start of Super League in 1996.
The cumulative attendance of 1,446,052 across the first 26 rounds is already the highest since the change in the competition format in 2019, which involved a significant reduction in the number of fixtures and another 53,948 when all six Round 27 matches are played on Friday night would break the one and a half million barrier for the first time in five years.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 21st Sep 2023 3:56 PM
York RLFC Knights came into their final home game of the season against the Batley Bulldogs with the slenderest of hopes of making the playoffs while their opponents knew that a win in tonight’s game in front of the ViaPlay cameras would mean that their qualification for the playoff was in their own hands.
A win for York by seven points or more would lift them above the Bulldogs and into seventh spot in the league, while a win for the Bulldogs would see them up to sixth in the table, going back above the Halifax Panthers who usurped them yesterday afternoon.
Batley have what looks like a home banker against the Newcastle Thunder next week while York travel to Barrow and Halifax have a home game against the Swinton Lions.
Whatever happened tonight the playoffs wouldn’t finally be decided until next week’s games.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Mon 18th Sep 2023 9:36 PM
Keighley Cougars were looking for a double celebration as they took on the Halifax Panthers in the penultimate round of the Betfred 2023 Championship season.
A win would lift them closer to guaranteeing Championship football next season, while a victory would also serve a major blow to the Panthers play-off aspirations.
On the other hand, a win for the Panthers could see them end the weekend in fifth spot in the table should fifth paced Bradford Bulls lose to fourth placed London Broncos.
It promised to be an exciting Sunday afternoon as teams vied for the remaining play-off places and to avoid finishing up in the bottom two.
Halifax were the favourites for the win with a twelve-point start on the coupon for the Cougars.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 17th Sep 2023 4:47 PM
A play-off place was at stake at Craven Park as Hull KR took on the Salford Red Devils in a Saturday evening fixture, the ultimate game of the penultimate round of Super League in 2023 with both sides desperate for the crucial two points which would make their chances of a play-off berth a lot more likely.
A win for Hull KR would guarantee that they couldn’t finish the season any lower than fifth place, but a win for the Red Devils would see them move two points ahead of seventh placed Warrington Wolves and in full control of their own destiny when they face the Catalans Dragons in the final game of the season next Friday.
A loss for Salford would mean that they are in all sorts of trouble, especially as their challengers for sixth spot, Warrington, play Huddersfield Giants next week.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 16th Sep 2023 9:15 PM
After Wigan and St Helens secured round twenty-six wins last night, the Catalans Dragons knew that they needed a home win, and a large one at that, to keep their hopes of a minor premiership alive as they took on the Leeds Rhinos who needed the win to maintain the slimmest of hopes that they could make the 2023 play-offs.
A win of any description would put the Dragons into second spot, while they needed an unlikely win by one hundred and twenty-nine points or more to regain top spot.
A win for the Rhinos would keep their season alive, at least for a couple of hours until Hull KR took on the Salford Red Devils in the evening kick-off.
There was no doubting that the Dragons were strong favourites, the Rhinos likely to see an end to their 2023 hopes after the most inconsistent of seasons.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 16th Sep 2023 6:48 PM
St Helens fans travelling to Warrington for tonight’s round 26 game would be keeping one eye on the score updates from the DW Stadium as they hoped that their side could thrash an out of form Wolves side who are in danger of dropping out of the play-offs, while Castleford Tigers sprung some kind of miracle against one of their rivals for the minor premiership.
A win for Saints would send their interest into the final round of the season and while defeat wouldn’t certainly mean that the Wolves would miss out on the last play-off spot, it would mean that it was increasingly unlikely that they would make the top six when the final reckoning was made at the end of round twenty-seven.
Saints were big favourites in the bookies eyes as they start to find their best form at the right end of the season.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 15th Sep 2023 9:57 PM
In what had widely been dubbed the play off for the play offs, the Salford Red Devils welcomed the Warrington Wolves to the AJ Bell Stadium for a showdown match which would determine whether the fight for the top six would go on for at least another round, or whether the home side would all but mathematically bow out at this stage.
A win for the Red Devils would put them level on points with sixth placed Warrington, and a win by forty-five points or more would lift them above their opponents and into sixth spot with two round remaining.
On the other hand, if the Wolves were to take the points, then they would join Hull KR four points clear of the seventh placed Salford and with them both having a far superior points difference it was effectively over for the Red Devils.
The bookies were struggling to pick a favourite but erred on the side of the visitors, but by a very narrow margin.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 10th Sep 2023 2:49 PM
The Wigan Warriors were looking for a return to the top of the table and knew that a win of any veriety would achieve that due to their superior points difference over the other two minor premiership hopefuls, the Catalans Dragons and arch-rivals St Helens.
The Rhinos came into the game in the full knowledge that a defeat, while not mathematically ending their hopes of a play-off place, would effectively do so, and snuff out the final light on a very disappointing season.
The bookies had the visitors as strong favourites for the win and gave the Rhinos an eight-point start on the handicap coupon; the scene was set for it to be a miserable Saturday afternoon for the Headingley Southstand faithful.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 9th Sep 2023 4:49 PM
With the league leader’s trophy looking like it was a step too far for Leigh Leopards in what has turned into an astounding season for them, tonight’s game against a St Helens side with their eyes on the top of the table, was a chance for the fourth placed side to move two points closer to securing a lofty play-off place.
Leigh won both games so far in 2023 against the World Champions, the league game at the LSV and the Challenge Cup semi-final which saw them make their victorious trip to Wembley Stadium on the 12th of August.
St Helens were favourites going into the game with a twelve-point handicap on the coupon as they looked to continue their improvement in form as the competition entered its final stages and they looked to peak just in time for the Old Trafford Grand Final.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 8th Sep 2023 9:56 PM
With three games of the regular Super League 2023 season remaining, the there are three key questions which remain to be answered as the teams continue to jostle for positions throughout the league ladder.
Three sides are currently tied in top spot with any of them having the opportunity to seal the minor premiership, and the top two to who would secure themselves an easier route to the Grand Final through the playoffs.
Down at the bottom of the table it is still a competition between Wakefield and Castleford to avoid the drop into the Championship, and the top six isn’t yet set in stone with eight clubs still in the running for the top six places.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Wed 6th Sep 2023 6:25 AM
The unpredictable nature of both Wakefield Trinity and St Helens throughout 2023 meant that today’s meeting at the Be Well Support Stadium was a bit of a lottery for those trying to make a prediction about the outcome.
A win by more than ten points for the home side would see them off the bottom of the table and above the Castleford Tigers in the scramble to avoid relegation, while a seventy-five-point win for Saints (not beyond the realms of possibility) would move the visitors into top spot in the league, quashing all thoughts of their very poor start to the season.
Saints were the bookies favourites with Wakefield given a sixteen-point start on the handicap coupon, but it would be a brave person who would write off a Trinity side still frantically scrambling to maintain their Super League status.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 3rd Sep 2023 4:45 PM
While the losers of Saturday afternoon’s clash between Hull FC and the Leeds Rhinos were not mathematically out of the race for the top six, and a play off place, the likelihood was that any practical chance that the loser would have of making the end of season knock out games would be highly unlikely.
Both sides came into the game on twenty points, four behind the play off place currently occupied by the Warrington Wolves who had a simultaneous kick-off in a home banker against the Castleford Tigers.
A Wolves win would see today’s losers needing to win all three of their remaining games while hoping that those around them did them a series of big favours.
In reality, this was just a dead rubber, but Hull FC were the favourites with the bookies to take the two points and further their fans agony for another make or break weekend.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 2nd Sep 2023 4:44 PM
Depending on the Catalans Dragons result at Hull KR, a win for the Wigan Warriors over the Salford Red Devils in their round twenty-four clash at the DW Stadium could see them move to the top of the table and into the minor premiers’ spot with just three rounds of the regular season remaining.
The Red Devils started the game in the last play-off position, above Hull KR only on points percentage as the two sides have identical league points and points difference.
A win would lift them a spot closer to guaranteeing them a playoff spot, a loss would throw their end of season plans back into turmoil.
Wigan were the favourites with the bookies, the Red Devils given a ten-point start on the handicap coupon.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 1st Sep 2023 9:56 PM
A Sunday afternoon clash at the John Smith’s Stadium saw the Huddersfield Giants looking for a crucial two points to keep their slim hopes of a play off place alive as they faced a hot and cold a Leeds Rhinos side who themselves are looking increasingly unlikely to make the top six.
The bookies were struggling to make a call on the likely winners as both sides sat at the bar and were poured a drink in the last chance saloon.
A good following from Leeds packed into the away end to give their side a lift.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 27th Aug 2023 7:09 PM
The competitions top two try scoring teams met in the south of France as a well supported Wigan Warriors looked to take second spot off their greatest rivals St Helens, while the Dragons knew that a win would take them four points clear and one step closer to the minor premiership.
Perpignan had not been the happiest of hunting grounds for the Warriors in recent times but there was great anticipation of a close match between two fiery sides.
It would go some way to determining the final league positions for the play offs, but the bookies had established the home side as the favourites prior to kick off.
Temperatures in the south of France had chilled a little but the stands were red hot as the two sides entered the stadium.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 26th Aug 2023 7:50 PM
The Cumbrian derby, tenth placed Whitehaven against a relegation threatened Barrow Raiders who were languishing in thirteenth spot in the table but who had their eyes on eleventh spot should they wrestle a crucial two points from their neighbours in this round twenty-two match.
It had been honours shared so far this season with Whitehaven winning the game in Barrow in April by 16-14 while Barrow took the points at the summer bash by 32-16.
There was plenty at stake for both sides, and indeed for Cumbrian rugby league.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Mon 21st Aug 2023 9:35 PM
Each game was becoming a must win for most sides in Super League as we approach the end of the 2023 season, none more so than the Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves, the Rhinos to keep alive their hopes of a play-off position and the Wolves to try and revitalise a season which has been in freefall after a fabulous start.
The Rhinos had their eye on eighth spot, the Wolves on consolidating their fifth place in the race for the playoffs but it was anyone´s game as both sides came into the encounter on the back of poor runs of form.
The sun was out at Emerald Headingley as a decent Sunday afternoon crowd gathered.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 20th Aug 2023 4:58 PM
The outcome of Saturday afternoon’s game between last weekend´s Challenge Cup winners and the side currently sat at the top of the Super League table, may well come down to how long the Leigh Leopards spent celebrating their first major trophy for over fifty years, and whether they have returned to earth in any state to take on the Champions elect.
If the Leopards were languishing in mid-table, with an outside chance of making the Grand Final in October then you could forgive them for burning the candle at both ends over the previous week, but as they are perfectly poised for an attack on the Super League crown and the double, Adrian Lam is likely to have been cracking the whip all week to ensure his side give a good account of themselves.
The Dragons were slight favourites with the bookies, but it promised to be another cracking game at the Leigh Sports Village for the Cup Winners homecoming.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 19th Aug 2023 4:57 PM
Billed as the ‘relegation decider’ it was impossible to underestimate the importance of a round twenty-two clash between Wakefield Trinity and the Castleford Tigers with the loser being cut two points adrift at the bottom of the table.
The ‘Sold Out’ notices were up days before the game and Sky changed their planned fixture to cover the game for the interested thousands who could not get ground entry.
While it was by no means all over for the losers, the winner would certainly have an advantage going into the last five games and the home support were optimistic that their side could perform an incredible Houdini-like escapes, the bookies making Trinity the slight favourites with a two-point handicap on the coupon.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 18th Aug 2023 10:02 PM
St Helens and Huddersfield Giants took advantage of not being involved in the Challenge Cup final to play their postponed round one fixture which wasn´t played to allow Saints to travel to Australia and become World Club Champions.
A win for St Helens by six or more points would lift them above yesterday’s Challenge Cup winners Leigh Leopards and into third spot, but a win for the Giants would benefit them more as if they could register a victory by twenty points or more, then they would move up to seventh spot and the fringes of the play off places, a win of any margin would see them into eighth.
Saints were the favourites with the bookies, and it was the Giants who were given an eight-point start on the coupon for the Sunday tea-time kick off.
Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 13th Aug 2023 6:47 PM