There can be little argument as to the game of round twenty as the top placed Rhinos took on second placed St Helens at a 'Full House' Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
The Rhinos haven't beaten Saints a Headingley in a weekly round game for five years but were runaway 41-16 winners at Langtree Park earlier in the season. A win for Saints would see them back to the top of the table, but should the Headingley outfit secure the two points it would almost guarantee them going into the split sitting pretty at the top of the table.
Thursday night rugby saw Wigan Warriors travel down the road the Halliwell-Jones Stadium to take on the Warrington Wolves. Third places Wigan needed a thirty-nine point win to go top of Super League, at least until the Rhinos played Saints tomorrow evening.
Warrington, on the other hand, are nervously looking over their shoulders at the middle eights but have their destiny in their own hands. A loss from seventh could see them drop out of the eight by the end of the weekend should Hull KR pick up a win at Huddersfield and Hull FC pick up a win over the Wildcats with a big points swing in their favour. A win would see them up to sixth above the Dragons and looking strong for the super eights.
After the east side of the city went into eighth spot last night, the Black and Whites of Hull needed a win to re-establish themselves in the super eights. But they were up against a new look Wildcats with their ranks swelled by new signings in Kevin Locke, Jordan Tansey and Michael Sio but still missing several influential players including Smith, Lauitiiti and Kirmond.
FC chose to rest several first teamers (Whiting, Pryce and Minichiello) as they played their second game of three in nine days, a calculated gamble from Lee Radford against a team looking for their first win in seventeen games, and a chance to get a winning habit before the all-important middle eights competition.
In a rearranged fixture from the earlier rounds of the Challenge Cup, Hull KR took on the Salford Red Devils in East Yorkshire with their eye on sixth spot ahead of the other side of the city playing tomorrow night.
A win of any description would see KR up to eighth and a win by 40 or more would see them above Warrington into seventh. The Red Devils needs a win to keep them in touch with the eight, and to retain a slim hope of the super eights, but it would need to be a massive points win to get them up just a single place on the league ladder.
The disciplinary panel investigated seventeen incidents as a result of the weekends four Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fixtures. Five of the matters which had them rewinding and slow-motioning were related to Leigh Centurions players and the remaining twelve involved Super League players.
In all three charges were brought and one warning issued with one of the charged players able and willing to submit an Early Guilty Plea (EGP) to take some of the leniency on offer.
With Leigh involved in the Challenge Cup there were just five games this weekend in round nineteen of the Kingstone Press Championship.
In Saturday evenings game Halifax took on London Broncos in the game of the round with fourth place up for grabs for the winners.
On Sunday there were games for Featherstone at Hunslet, Whitehaven travelled to winless Doncaster, the Bradford Bulls had a chance to go clear at the top at home to Batley and in the late kick-off Workington were at Sheffield Eagles.
With Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves already in the hat for this afternoons Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final draw, this afternoon it was the turn of St Helens and Widnes Vikings to vie for that last place.
Super Leagues second place side had a home game against the team nine places below them with the bookies making the home side the clear favourites. Denis Betts would have spent the time since the draw readying his side for this match and they would come to Langtree Park intending to make progress.
Make no mistake, Saints were embarking on the post-Wellens era with a tough encounter against a side who could upset the pundits and take the spoils.
With two Super League scalps already under their belt, the Leigh Centurions bandwagon rolled into Warrington and the Halliwell-Jones Stadium, to try and spring a cup upset on the Wolves.
Tony Smith's side were without a win in their last two matches and up against a Leigh side with just one loss all season, that on the road at the London Broncos. The bookies had made Leigh the underdogs but few people would expect anything less than one hundred percent from the visitors and a close match.
The next eighty minutes would show us which of these two sides would be joining Hull KR and Leeds Rhinos in tomorrow afternoons draw.
The league leaders and cup holders travelled to the KC Stadium to take on the Black & Whites of Hull FC for the second meeting in five days. This time it wasn't two points up for grabs, but progress into the semi-finals stage of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
The Rhinos were the victors on Sunday afternoon at Headingley but only by 32-20 and the matches between these two in Hull have historically been close affairs. Leeds were without Danny McGuire, Liam Sutcliffe and Adam Cuthbertson after injuries collected at the weekend. FC were without the services of their kicker Marc Sneyd who was suspended, and manager Lee Radford made five more personnel changes.
The Rhinos were the favourites with the bookies, but only just.
The league counts for nothing when the Cup comes to town, and tonight it was making its first appearance of a two night run in Hull, as KR had a battle royal against the poor-travelling Catalans Dragons with a place in the semi-finals the glittering reward for the winners.
The Dragons haven't won outside France since the beginning of April and would need to take their excellent home form to Craven Park to take on a a Robins side who have put in some massive performances against decent opposition, often belying their current league position.
The bookies and the pundits could choose little between the sides and a decent crowd anticipated the kick-off of a game that was too close to call.