A win for St Helens in tonightís fixture with Hull FC would almost guarantee them a top eight position at the mid-season split and ensure that they would be playing in the Super Eights competition. It was also crucial to keep alive their distant hopes of a top four finish and a play-off place.
Hull FC are already comfortably in the elites competition, from round twenty-four onwards, but a win tonight would lift them into second spot, an ideal position to go into the seasons second phase.
FC were 24-14 victors in Hull back in March, but it was Saints who recorded a stunning 45-0 at the Magic weekend in Newcastle in May. The home side had a one point start on the coupon but the bookies were struggling to pick a winner.
It was fifth against first as Wakefield Trinity looked to jump into the top four against an all-conquering Castleford Tigers side who are already guaranteed top spot at the split, and are solid favourites to win the minor premiership. Both sides are already safe in the Super Eights competition.
Trinity would have to do it without Reece Lyne who was suspended, while Castleford had the returning Minikin and Lynch to bolster their side.
Castleford won the only other meeting this season, back in April, by 42-24. Both sides were on the back of wins last weekend, Trinity over Warrington and Castleford with a narrow victory over Hull FC.
We are sure that all of our users will have been shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Adam ďCarneyĒ Cooper who died during a North West Menís League Division Four match on Saturday.
Adam was playing for the Culcheth Eagles Open Age team (based in Warrington), in an away fixture at Runcorn ARLFC on Saturday when he collapsed on the side-lines.
Adam's club have set up a JustGiving page to raise money to assist his family at this most awful of times and we've made a small donation on behalf of the users, moderators and administrators of RLFANS.COM and hope that you could do the same.
Salford Red Devils are hoping to unleash Manu Vatuvei on Wigan Warriors in their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final.
Vatuvei currently plays for the New Zealand Warriors of the National Rugby League. A New Zealand national representative winger, he has played his entire NRL career to date with the Warriors. Vatuvei was a member of the New Zealand side that won the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. He became the Warriors' highest try scorer and averages over 10 tries per season.
The RLEF have published their yearly report from 2016, the report contains input from all the main directors and officers of the federation and includes input from Bulgaria, Czech Republic (CZRLA), England (RFL), France (FFRXIII), Greece,
Ireland (RLI), Lebanon (LRLF), Netherlands (NRLB), Norway (RLN), Russia (ARLK), Scotland (SRL), Serbia (SRLF), Spain
(AERL), Turkey, Ukraine (UFRL), Wales (WRL) amongst others.
Leigh Centurions forward Jamie Acton faces a minimum ban of eight matches after being charged for his part in an incident involving Greg Bird.
Six players from Saturday's game between Catalans and Leigh are facing charges, four of them - Catalans' Bird, Fouad Yaha and Benjamin Garcia and Leigh's Ben Crooks - for punching.
Catalans' Richie Myler has also been charged for tripping, while Wakefield duo Reece Lyne (Grade C) and Keegan Hirst (Grade A) have both been charged with dangerous contact offences from Trinity's victory over Warrington.
In total, 10 players from weekend matches face charges, including St Helens' Jon Wilkin (dangerous contact) and Castleford' Jake Webster (high tackle).
For the second round running there was a full Sunday afternoon of Kingstone Press Cahampionship fixtures, and there were some mouthwatering prospects as top placed Hull KR hosted second placed London Broncos, Featherstone Rovers had a home game against the Batley Bulldogs, there was another all-Yorkshire derby between Halifax and Bradford, and Toulouse were on the road to Oldham.
Elsewhere Dewsbury Rams were the hosts as the Rochdale Hornets came to town, and Sheffield Eagles were up against the Swinton Lions.
Hull FC had twice beaten the runaway leaders of Super League, Castleford Tigers, in 2017 which increased the anticipation of tonightís fixture at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle.
The Tigers are on an eleven months unbeaten home run but FC won the league encounter 26-24 in April and a fortnight ago by 32-24 in the Challenge Cup. The Tigers were eager to ensure that lightening didnít strike for a third time as they looked to open up an eight point gap at the top.
Michael Shenton was back in the lineup for the Tigers but there was no Andy Lynch or Matt Cook. Albert Kelly and Mark Minichiello were welcome returnees for Hull but they didnít have the services of late withdrawal Carlos Tuimavave
It was fourth against sixth as the Leeds Rhinos looked to overcome last weeks disappointment against the Tigers as they welcomed a St. Helens, on the back of a one-point win over Salford, to Headingley Carnegie. A loss for the Rhinos could see them finish the weekend outside the top four, but a loss for Saints would make their top four quest increasingly difficult.
Saints defeated the Rhinos in round one by 6-4 but there has been a lot of water under the bridge, and a lot of personel changes, since the seasonís opening fixture.
The match saw the Rhinos without Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire, Brett Ferres, Ash Golding and Jamie Jones-Buchanan through injury and suspension while Saints missed the services of Mark Percival who was serving a one game suspension.