This week it's play-off sudden death and the heat is the remaining 4 teams to perform and keep their Old Trafford dreams alive.
Here are our thoughts.|
WARRIORS v. KR
The pressure is really on at the Pie-dome this week, and the hosts recent home form isn't that great either losing four out of the last six. The Pies thought that they'd only have to turn up to beat the Champs last time out and at 14-0 after 15 minutes they had control, but we all know that RL is an 80-minute game and the Mighty Rhinos were roared home to a victory. This week the Red Mullet side of Birds Eye Central are the visitors and they arrive on the back of a dominant display against their arch rivals, and are full of confidence. No more chances this is do or die and the pressure is really on the self proclaimed "super human" pies, and I think they'll be left feeling filling-less and crushed. HKR by 4.
Second chance saloon for the Goons after the true champions showed their colours at the Pie Dome last week. Wigan will be without Paul Deacon. Notice that not much has been mentioned regarding his injury by the Leeds fans, unlike the Wigan fans wishing ten kinds of damnation on Danny McGuire, and he will be a big big miss for them. Amos Roberts has been drafted into the squad but he may have to settle for the Valvoline Cup game at the HJ on Saturday.
The Robins will come into this full of confidence after they won the Cod War last Saturday. Michael Dobson will be the key man for the Robins but they will miss Liam Watts if he hasn't recovered from injury. Many would love to see the Goons screw this up, especially those over the Lump, down the A49 in Dire, and in the LS postcode. And you know what, I've got the same funny feeling about this one that I did last week, so I'll go for Pies 16, Dobbins 20. Dobbins by 4.
Paraphrasing Kevin Keegan on Manchester United....'I would love it, just love it, if KR beat the Pies.'.
I have an ingrained dislike of Wigan borne out of the misery that they caused me throughout the nineties and it is difficult to shake. There is no doubt that they have been the most consistent side this season but they have had a couple of massive and unexpected blow-ups and bizarre times. Last sunday was a game which the Warriors should have won with ease, but they froze on the big stage and after losing Paul Deacon they lost the plot. Sam Tomkins and Pat Richards are key - if they play well then it will be very difficult for the visitors.
I'm exactly of the opposite frame of mind with Justin Morgans' Robins. I have a bit of a soft sport for them and every respect for the way that his sides play rugby. They have been a real thorne in our side at times in the last few years and I think that they have every chance of making it a very uncomfortable night for Maguire. Heart is ruling head and I am going for a narrow KR win by a couple of points in an absolute friday night thriller.
|rhinoms tips||KR by 4|
|Number 2 tips||KR by 4|
|SouthStander.com tips||KR by 2|
|Average||KR by 3|
WOLVES v. GIANTS
TS and his team will be desperate to put their Saints hoodoo behind them and prove they aren't just a Cup team. The Giants stand in their way, and after an unconvincing win against the spirited and unlucky Crusaders, the home side will be firm favorites. The big question for me in this game is whether the Wire have another "big game" performance in them after being so good at Wembley. Other than 10 minutes at KR they were ordinary at best.
I think the Giants will be a stern test even if they do have a fat "Robbie Savage" and cheap shot Mason within their ranks, but I think the home teams class will ease them into the semis. Wire by 10.
Two teams who played crap last weekend meet at the HJ, the major difference is that the Giants won and Wolfs kept up their remarkable record agaisnt the Saints. Tony Smith kept his cards close to his chest last week, their bench didn't seem strong at all and they just didn't have the belief they could win. Shudds just scraped past the Taffs and it took some stupidity from Jordan James, and a Crusaders error, for them to get over the line. Revenge might be on the Shudds mind, defeat at Wembley last year and a right going over at home to them in the cup this year and they are getting the big game experience now.
The Wolfs have Tony Smith in charge, he's never won a Grand Final without losing a play off game in the lead up and he'll know how to pick his team up. They can't play as bad as last week again. Huddersfield also need to improve, and they need to repeat their performance at the DW a few weeks ago if they are to win. Home advantage is the key so I'll go for the Wolfs 24 Shudds 16, so Tonys lot by 8.
I am a lot more neutral on this one. Of course I'd love to see the Giants progress as it will give Saints a real dilemma over who they should choose in the 'pick' between KR and Huddersfield.
As Number2 said, the Wolves can't possibly play as badly as they did last weekend when they capitulated to the Saints. Tony Smiths teams don't put in poor performances back to back and I am pretty certain that they will show little mercy to a Giants team who are close, but not the finished article.
Mid-season disruption with a will-he-won't-he coach and the signing of the disruptive Brough has just knocked the Giants back a bit. Despite them doing extremely well to finish in fifth spot, and almost take fourth of us, they haven't quite got enough to overhaul the Briers/Morley brigade and down the Challenge Cup winners. Wolves by a comfortable 14 and it could be more.
|rhinoms tips||Wolves by 10|
|Number 2 tips||Wolves by 8|
|SouthStander.com tips||Wolves by 14|
|Average||Wolves by 11|
Winnings to date: £21.46.