The NRL gets underway this weekend, alongside a full set of Super League, Championship and Championship 1 fixtures. All, of course, weather permitting. The Betfred Super League is spread over four days, as is the NRL, with the bulk of Championship and Championship One games being played on Sunday afternoon. With so few games being played last weekend the majority of teams will be looking forward to blowing away the cobwebs after a fortnight confined to the training field.

After last weekends loss at the London Broncos, Toronto Wolfpack ventured into Lions den to take on a Swinton side who were still looking for their first league victory of 2018. Haywood Road in Sale was the venue for what looked, on paper, like an away banker.


In one of just two Championship fixtures to survive the weather, the other being at Leigh Sports Village, it was bitingly cold as Swinton returned to Sale after their opening home fixtures this season had been played at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford.

Opting to let the ‘train take the strain’ the Warrington Wolves players and staff arrived in Hull in good time for one of two Super League encounters to brave the ‘beast from the east’ as the match went ahead at the KCOM Stadium. With many supporters trapped the wrong side of an M62 closure, and following a ‘do not travel’ recommendation issued by Greater Manchester Police, the visitors were forced to manage without their vocal away support. A victory for FC would lift them above the Wolves into fifth spot but a Warrington win would see them into the top four as the two sides above them, Wigan and Widnes, met in the other fixture which had survived the arctic armageddon.

There are four days of Rugby League to keep you entertained over the first weekend in March, weather permitting as the beast from the East, and another arriving in the south-west, envelop the country in their icy grip. Thursday (NOW POSTPONED) and Friday boast a full Super League programme while the Betfred Championship takes place over Saturday and Sunday.  All seven Championship One games are scheduled for Sunday afternoon and the sides hit the league programme after last weeks Challenge Cup exploits.

The draw for the fourth round of the Challenge Cup took place via the BBC website and it saw the introduction of the eleven Betfred Championship sides (excluding Toulouse Olympique XIII who have not entered this years competition). 


The thirteen sides who made it through the third round at the weekend would all have been hoping for a decent pay-day, and a game against a top Championship side while the top Championship sides will have been praying to avoid any potential banana skins, or tough games against other leading sides.

A dreadful start to the season for the newly relegated Leigh Centurions, has led to the departure of first team coach Neil Jukes as he resigned his post. Despite gaining promotion for the the Centurions in 2016 he oversaw a tough season in Super League in 2017 which culminated in the crushing loss to the Catalans Dragons in the Million Pound Game. This season his side have won just one of their opening four games amid widespread complaints from fans about the nature of their play. The defeat on Sunday to a Toulouse Olympique XIII side, down to twelve men for the entire second half, was the final straw for Jukes who quit the club.

The fourth round of the Betfred Championship played out on Sunday afternoon with five games kicking off at the regular three o’clock while the Leigh Centurions game against Toulouse was scheduled for half past five.


There were two outstanding fixtures with top side London Broncos taking on second placed Toronto and that game between Toulouse and the Centurions at the Leigh Sports Village.


Featherstone were looking for a big win against early season whipping boys the Sheffield Eagles and Barrow had a tough looking trip to Batley to contend with. Elsewhere Halifax were at Rochdale and the Dewsbury Rams entertained the Swinton Lions.

The game of the day in the fourth round of the Betfred Championship was at the Trailfinders Sports Ground where top placed London Broncos looked to continued their great start to the season against second placed Toronto Wolfpack.


Both sides came into the game knowing that this could be a crunch game for the season and with sunshine and a 4G pitch there would be no excuses for the millionaires from Toronto should they not pick up the win to go clear at the top. 


Both sides were giving the other the greatest of pre-kick-off respect but knew that once they entered the arena that the gloves would be off for this crucial contest.

Four games, four losses. The season is just weeks old and, on the face of it, Steve McNamara's  Catalan Dragons look like they're heading for a second end-of-season stint in the Middle 8 qualifiers.

But, boosted by the return of the talismanic Tony Gigot from a troublesome year with the FFR judiciary, there were enough signs in their close 14-16 defeat to Wakefield Trinity to give some hope for the year ahead.

Trinity's win, their third at Stade Gilbert Brutus in as many years, came on the back of some strong defence and some inspirational attacking runs, not least by Tom Johnstone.

Hull FC returned to blighty after their fruitless trip down under, to take on a Castleford Tigers who had so far failed to live up to the pre-season expectations heaped upon them by most commentators and pundits following a heavy defeat to St Helens and a single point victory over Widnes. Hull FC have also one win in their opening two fixtures after beating Huddersfield in the opening round before losing to Wigan in the tour match in Australia. The visitors made five changes from last week including Dean Hadley for Danny Houghton at hooker and Danny Washbrook coming off the bench to replace Sika Manu in the second row. The Tigers welcomed back Greg Eden after he missed out in round two
BACK                                     MORE STORIES
All views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the RLFANS.COM or its subsites.

Copyright 1999 - 2018 RLFANS.COM

You must be 18+ to gamble, for more information and for help with gambling issues see