We kick things off at the Millennium Stadium for this weekend's Betfred Championship action, with league-leaders Featherstone hosting Whitehaven in the first game of Round 12.
It was business as usual for Featherstone in Round 11, overcoming West-Yorkshire rivals Dewsbury in a 26-46 away win with help from a Mark Kheirallah hat-trick.
The France international will also be buoyed by the arrival of former teammate and friend Johnathon Ford, who has arrived at the club following the confirmation of his signature.
Rovers will look to maintain their lead at the top of the division ahead of Leigh Centurions – can they gain another edge over their promotion rivals before they meet at Tottenham next week?
It’s three losses on the bounce now for opponents Whitehaven, though. They were beaten comfortably by Widnes last week, and remain in 11th.
Whitehaven have only won one of their last ten meetings with Featherstone, a 0-29 victory back in 2015, and they’ll be well aware of the task ahead against a side who haven’t lost at home since August.
We’re at Odsal for Saturday evening’s second Betfred Championship fixture, as Bradford Bulls welcome Newcastle Thunder.
Both sides sit level on ten points – three short of a play-off spot. Bradford losing four of their last five games coupled with Newcastle’s dominant 22-52 win against London last week would suggest that there’d be plenty of confidence in the Thunder dressing room, but the Tyneside outfit have never beaten Bradford.
With history on the Bulls’ side, will they manage to create some breathing room from those below?
There’s no time for Batley to lick their wounds following Monday night’s heavy defeat to Leigh, a 0-52 hammering put an end to the Bulldogs’ great run of form.
Batley are still firmly in the play-off spots thanks to a run that saw them put together four wins in a row, following a hard-fought draw against leaders Featherstone – they’ll be hoping to make amends for their tough defeat last time out.
London’s tough start to the season continued with a loss at home to Newcastle last week, and they remain in the relegation zone.
The Broncos do boast an impressive record against Batley, though – the capital club have won the last five meetings between the two sides, and if they make it six, they can potentially leapfrog Dewsbury into 12th.
The Rams may have something to say about that, though, and they host Barrow Raiders in another Saturday afternoon instalment of Betfred Championship action.
It was a defeat last time out for Dewsbury, but they caused Featherstone more problems than most teams have managed this season. A tough first-half meant it was an uphill battle against the table toppers, but a spirited performance saw the Rams claw back sixteen points thanks to a brace from new loan signing Aidan McGowan.
Barrow added to their list of impressive displays this season with a 26-12 victory over rivals Workington, but this side of Kirklees hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Cumbrians – they’ve lost all of their last nine trips to Dewsbury.
The Our League cameras head to Leigh Sports Village as the Centurions host Workington Town. The Leythers sent a message to the rest of the division on Monday, where a 0-52 away win against a tough Batley side illustrated just how good Lam’s men can be.
They may have one eye on Tottenham next week, but the charge for promotion goes on – Keanan Brand’s hat-trick last week means he’s tied with teammate Nene Macdonald in the try-scoring charts on ten, and no team has scored more points than Leigh this season, whilst they also boast the best defensive record.
It’s a tough ask for Workington who are yet to pick up a point, but a valiant effort in the second-half of last week’s fixture against Barrow restored some pride.
Sunday’s final fixture sees Halifax Panthers travel to the LNER Stadium, where a third vs fourth battle against York City Knights awaits.
Last week, York kept the pressure on the top two with their seventh league win in a row – an outstanding defensive display saw off Bradford at Odsal, winning 6-20.
The Knights continue to impress, but face a stern test against an in-form Halifax side. The Panthers have won six in a row now, and a comprehensive victory against Sheffield Eagles saw them jump up to fourth place last week – a hat-trick courtesy of Ben Tibbs saw them run out 38-14 winners.
Both sides have won two each out of the last four meetings, who will gain the edge on Sunday?
We wrap Round 12 up in front of the Premier Sports cameras on Monday, when Sheffield Eagles host Widnes Vikings.
Sheffield were unable to bounce back from their semi-final defeat the week prior, after defeat to Halifax.
On what is a landmark occasion for the club, though, the players will take to the field of Olympic Legacy Park for the first time – a milestone that will live long in the memory, and one that could be made sweeter with a win.
The Eagles go into the game level on points with Widnes, after the Merseyside outfit put an end to a torrid run of form with a ten-try victory over Whitehaven helped by a Matty Fozard hat-trick.
Both sides are on ten points, along with Bradford and Newcastle who also meet this weekend – with two of the four teams set to break away from the others, who will step up?
Sheffield have won two of their last three meetings against Widnes, including that momentous day at Wembley when they were crowned AB Sundecks 1895 Cup winners, but the Vikings will be looking to push on from their first win since Round 4 last week and leapfrog their rivals.
This week’s Betfred Championship fixtures
- Featherstone Rovers vs Whitehaven – 17:30
- Bradford Bulls vs Newcastle Thunder – 18:00
- Batley Bulldogs vs London Broncos – 15:00
- Dewsbury Rams vs Barrow Raiders – 15:00
- Leigh Centurions vs Workington – 15:00 – Live on Our League
- York City Knights vs Halifax Panthers – 15:00
- Sheffield Eagles vs Widnes Vikings – 19:45 – Live on Premier Sports