Warrington v. Wigan
If the draw hadn’t brought these two together then these are the two teams that you’d have expected in the final. It now looks like a ‘winner takes it all’ quarter final with little left in the rest of the draw to stand in the victors path.
Unbeaten in four, Warrington have home advantage and one victory under their belt in the only meeting between the two side so far this season. Wigan are unbeaten in their last seven as these two sides battle it our for the minor premiership hubcap.
It should be an absolute belter with everything that you could want from a game of rugby league. Get settled down in your favourite armchair with a nice cold one at 4:30 Saturday and just hope that they haven’t given the commentary to Ray French.
Warrington to use home advantage and scrape a narrow win.
Wire by 1.
Castleford v. Huddersfield
Up until last weekends embarrassing thrashing at the hands of the hapless Bradford Bulls you could see no other winner of this tie than the Giants. But the speculation about the impending departure of coach Brown has once again reared its head and whenever it does the Giants go to pieces.
Castleford have won their last two on the back of a three game losing streak, and they already know that their coach is definitely leaving at the end of the season. The Giants have lost three out of their last four with their only win in this sequence coming over basement side the Crusaders.
On paper it is another cracker that could go either way and home advantage will definitely play a part. But I still think that the Giants will turn the corner with the opportunity for another Challenge Cup final in the offing.
Giants by 6.
Hull FC v. Leeds
Talking about departing coaches…
Last week the Rhinos took a big stick plunged it into the Hull FC wasps nest and gave it a good wiggle. This is the game where we find out whether the Airlie Birds have any sting left in their tails.
Forget previous records, almost forget last week, this will be a totally different game to anything we’ve witnessed so far this season as Agar and McDermott both have a last chance to try and salvage something from their season. Cup exit for the Rhinos must surely mean the end of McDermott, who after last weeks booing at the big screen, is ‘already dead’ to many Leeds fans.
Leeds should be fielding a different looking team with players returning from injury but they will need a stronger defence against a Hull side who would find it impossible to play as badly as they did last week if someone tied all their shoelaces together.
I’m not particularly confident about this but I’ll go for Leeds by 8.
Saints v. Hull KR
Third against nine as KR make the long journey to Widnes to take on the weakest Saints side that we’ve seen for many season, but who have still managed to position themselves in third spot in Superleague XVI.
Saints are on the back of three consecutive wins and the visitors four as they show improvement after a shocking early season. Saints won the only match up between these two sides but that was back in April and not a true indication of current form.
On paper you’d call this as a home win but this game is a funny old thing and I think that KR have got a cracking chance of upsetting the Saints. Justin Morgan seems to be sitting more comfortably in the hot seat and I think that he’ll send his charges out full of confidence. The millions who’ll make the trip from Hull could outnumber the poor support for the home side (who are saving their pennies for next seasons new stadium) to nullify home advantage.
Controversial, but KR by 4.