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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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After a sensational Challenge Cup final, the men of the Halifax Panthers and the Batley Bulldogs had something to live up to as they took the field for the final of the AB Sundecks 1895 Trophy on the hallowed Wembley turf.

Halifax won the first meeting between the two sides in March by 20-16, but lost by 20-12 at the summer bash in May before a massive 42-0 win for the Bulldogs on the 9th July.

Batley were favourites with the bookies as they are currently fourth in the league table and secure in the play-off positions while Halifax look much more precarious in sixth place.

It promised to be another great game.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 12th Aug 2023 7:46 PM
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The engraver would be scratching a name onto the World-famous Challenge Cup which had not adorned it for the at least the last forty-two years as the Leigh Leopards took on Hull Kingston Rovers in the competition with one hundred and twenty-six years of history.

Leigh’s terrific recent form meant that they came into the game as narrow favourites over a Hull KR side who knew that this was their best chance of silverware in a season which has seen them hovering around the last of the Super League play-off places.

Wembley was filled with a lot of excited fans from both sides of the Pennines as two sides not used to the long journey south made a welcome change to the usual old guard who normally frequent this flagship occasion.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 12th Aug 2023 5:04 PM
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In a repeat of last year’s Women’s Challenge Cup Final, Leeds Rhinos and St Helens met in the first time that the Final had been staged at Wembley Stadium, the Rhinos hoping to overcome the disappointment of an 18-8 loss fifteen months ago.

Saints are currently second in the Group 1 table with the Rhinos in third spot and when the sides last met at the end of May it was the Saints who were again winners by a 38-18 scoreline.

Saints were the favourites to record a third consecutive Final win and record their seventh victory, while the Rhinos are the second most successful side in the competition, looking for their third win and their first since 2019.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 12th Aug 2023 1:47 PM
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Wembley Stadium will stage another feast of Rugby League including the Betfred Women’s and Men’s Challenge Cup Finals on Saturday June 8 in 2024 – reverting to an earlier slot in a restructured calendar.

Tickets will go on sale next week for an event which will also include the fifth AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final and the inspiresport Champion Schools.

The Final of Rugby League’s oldest knockout competition returns to Wembley today after a year at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – with history to be made as the Women’s Challenge Cup Final between Leeds Rhinos and St Helens will be played at the national stadium for the first time before the Men’s Final between Hull KR and Leigh Leopards.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 12th Aug 2023 9:10 AM
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Saturday afternoon will see the first ever Wembley meeting in a Challenge Cup final between the Leigh Leopards and Hull Kingston Rovers with one of the clubs’ names to be engraved onto the famous trophy for the first time in at least forty-three years.

Hull KR were in a Cup Final as recently as 2015 when they lost heavily to the Leeds Rhinos and their only win in seven finals so far came in the 1980 final when they beat their nearest and dearest, Hull FC, by 10-5 in front of a crowd of 95,000 people.

Leigh have a much briefer, but more successful cup final pedigree having won on both of their previous visits to the former twin towers.

They last won the competition in 1971 when they defeated Leeds by 24-7, and they also win the trophy in 1921 when they beat Halifax by 13-0, but it has been a long time between drinks.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Wed 9th Aug 2023 4:27 PM
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Eighth placed Halifax Panthers looked on a hiding to nothing as they welcomed the runaway league leaders, Featherstone Rovers, to The Shay for an unusual Sunday evening kick-off in front of the ViaPlay cameras.

While Featherstone are already close to uncatchable for the Minor Premiership, and a shoe in for promotion, a win this evening would give them a ten-point cushion with just six games remaining in the regular season.

A win for the Panthers would lift them back into the top six and a potential play off place but they came into the game with one eye on next week’s 1895 Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 6th Aug 2023 7:14 PM
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Leigh haven’t won at Headingley for thirty-nine years but sitting in second spot in the table, they sent a full-strength side over the Pennines, despite being within a week of a Challenge Cup Final appearance, optimistic for the win as they took on new look Leeds Rhinos side who will now have to see out the season without the game controlling Blake Austin who was released to the Castleford Tigers during the week.

Leeds had been made the favourites by the bookies, the Leopards getting a four-point start on the coupon, as those with a betting mind thought that the lure of a cup final berth would activate the ‘cup self-preservation’ mode amongst their leading players.

The loss would hurt the Rhinos much more than it would Leigh.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 6th Aug 2023 4:53 PM
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The clear league leaders, the Catalans Dragons, arrived at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium to take on a Warrington Wolves side seemingly in freefall after they had lost their previous five outings and split with the coach Daryl Powell after a poor run of results.

Depending on the results below them, a win which was much fancied by the bookies could see the Dragons six points clear at the top of the table and a loss for the home side would put them perilously close to dropping out of the all-important top six as the season heads towards its climax.

But Dragons coach Steve McNamara knew better than to take the challenge of interim coach Gary Chambers side lightly, as his team tried to move two points closer to the minor premiership for the second time in three years.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 4th Aug 2023 9:43 PM
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It was #RememberRycroft night at Odsal, a cause close to our hearts at RLFANS, as the Bradford Bulls took on the Barrow Raiders in a fifth against thirteenth battle which could see the visitors out of the relegation places if they could pull off a win against a Bulls side who were looking to consolidate in the play-off places.

Donations were still open with JustGiving as a fabulous fundraising effort for three great charities heads for the £50,000 mark in remembrance of Rycroft Alport Foster, thanks to massive and generous support from the rugby league community.

The bookies could only see one winner, the Bulls winning it for Rycroft’s memory and they had given the visitors a massive points start on the coupon.

The Cumbrians were just making up the numbers.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Mon 31st Jul 2023 9:37 PM
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A seemingly unstoppable Leigh Leopards side fresh from their cup victory over St Helens last weekend travelled the short distance to the DW Stadium to take on a Wigan Warriors side still smarting from their own cup exit at the hands of Hull KR.

A win for the home side would lift them level on points with their opponents but victory for Leigh would lift the, level with the Catalans Dragons in top place going into the final quarter of the season.

Wigan were the favourites with the bookies with the Leopards having been given an eight point start on the coupon, the Leopards underdogs to overcome a 40 year Wigan drought.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 29th Jul 2023 2:56 PM
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There was nothing to choose between these two sides in 2023, the aggregate over the two games played so far being 37-37 as Leeds Rhinos travelled to the Totally Wicked Stadium to take on St Helens.

It was a weakened Saints side who had been dominating the headlines during the week after the injuries that they picked up in losing their semi-final against the Leigh Leopards against a Rhinos side who needed the win to keep alive their hopes of a play-off place in seven rounds time.

Saints were slight favourites but there was every chance that this would be a classic between two sides who had been almost inseparable throughout the season.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 28th Jul 2023 9:55 PM
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Leeds Beckett University, on behalf of the RFL, will host an ‘open discussion’ of concussion in Rugby League next Wednesday (2 August, 6:30pm-8pm) at the Carnegie School of Sport Building in Headingley.

Chaired by broadcaster Tanya Arnold and involving players, coaches and researchers, the event will explore preliminary data gathered from the recent Academy-level law trials, which seeks to quantify head impact and acceleration exposures in the sport with the aim of increasing understanding and reducing future risk.

The event will involve open discussion among interest parties from across Rugby League and is open to members of the public and media, who can register online to attend either in-person or virtually.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Wed 26th Jul 2023 10:39 AM
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Once place remained at Wembley on the 12th August, a three o’clock appointment to face the Leigh Leopards in the Challenge Cup final and it would be either the cup kings Wigan Warriors, or underdogs Hull KR who would be taking it.

Wigan are currently third in the table after losing just one game in their last seven, while Hull KR are sixth on the back of just three wins in their last seven.

The bookies fancied that it would be the Wigan Warriors travelling to Wembley to face near neighbours Leigh and the bookies agreed as they gave the Robins an eight-point start on the coupon.

We were set for the best game of the weekend.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 23rd Jul 2023 6:58 PM
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Few gave Wigan Warriors Women any hope of making cup progress to face St Helens women at Wembley as they came up against their nemesis, Leeds Rhinos, in the second Challenge Cup semi-final.

The Rhinos were massive favourites with the bookies, pundits, and most of the Warriors supporters after the Rhinos won the league fixture between the two sides by a massive 52-0 just a fortnight ago and because you have to look back five years in the record books for the last times that the Warriors were victorious over today’s opponents.

There was some criticism that the Rhinos were given home advantage for what should be a neutral ground semi-final but with a large contingency expected from Wigan for the later men’s semi-final against Hull KR, there should be plenty of support for the Warriors.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 23rd Jul 2023 4:04 PM
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A place at Wembley in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup final awaited the winners of today’s second semi-final between York RLFC knights and the Batley Bulldogs as the side placed third in the Championship table made the forty-mile trip to visit the side currently in a disappointing ninth spot.

Batley have a good recent record against York having won the last two meetings between the two sides and progressing the last time that these two met in this competition back in 2019, and the bookies agreed as they made the Bulldogs the favourites for the win.

After heavy overnight rain the conditions were slippy underfoot and ball handling likely to be unpredictable.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 23rd Jul 2023 1:41 PM
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