21st September 2018, 10:49 | super_league
The only certainty after five of the seven rounds of the Super 8s Qualifiers is that Halifax will remain in the Betfred Championship for 2019 but the rest of the picture should become clearer by Saturday evening.
The Million Pound Game, to determine the 12th place in the top flight, could yet be played in France, Canada or England and Saturday’s round six matches in Toulouse, Toronto and London will go some way to determining the venue.
Hull KR, Salford Red Devils and Leeds Rhinos are fancied to secure Super League survival after winning four matches so far but Toronto Wolfpack are only two points behind and Toulouse Olympique XIII remain firmly in contention thanks to home wins over Halifax and Widnes Vikings.
“This is the key round as far as I’m concerned,” said Sheens, whose Hull KR side visit Toulouse looking to atone for two defeats by the French side last season.
“There’s a lot of teams fighting against each other and only separated by for and against at the moment.
“We don’t want Toronto to get the jump on us and maybe overtake us on points difference. We need to win and maintain that gap.
“Toulouse are pushing as well, they’re right in the mix and we know it’s going to be a very tough game.”
Toulouse’s last-gasp defeat by Toronto dashed their hopes of automatic promotion but coach Sylvain Houles is targeting one win from their last two fixtures to secure a place in the Million Pound Game.
“I really thought we deserved a lot better,” said Houles of the 13-12 loss to the Wolfpack in Toronto.
“We need to move on and if we keep working hard like we did against Toronto, we’ll get a win against Hull KR or Salford.
“That’s what we’re looking at, getting one win out of those two games and see where it takes us.”
🗣 "We've got to make sure that we're well prepared and willing to work hard again."— Widnes Vikings (@WidnesRL) September 21, 2018
Francis Cummins spoke earlier this week about the importance of the Toronto game, and the belief within the group that they can get the victory the Club needs this weekend. pic.twitter.com/ptr7hqvglk
London Broncos, also with two wins so far, can keep alive their promotion hopes against Salford in a game brought forward from Sunday while it is last-chance saloon for Widnes when they go to Toronto.
The Vikings ended a 17-match losing run with victory over Halifax and centre Charly Runciman is hoping they can make the most of the lifeline.
“It was great to get a win on the weekend,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming. Hopefully we get the job done over there because it’s do or die now.”
In Super League, St Helens host Warrington Wolves in a top-four clash and Catalans Dragons visit Hull FC in the battle to avoid the Super 8s wooden spoon.
Saints have already secured the League Leaders’ Shield and are likely to face the Wolves in the first play-off semi-final on Thursday week.
“It’s not ideal that we could be playing them again in a couple of weeks but it is something we will have to deal with,” said St Helens coach Justin Holbrook.