11 conclusions from the weekend’s rugby league: Luke Thompson brilliance, George Williams impeccable

Aaron Bower

It’s been another busy and important weekend of rugby league – headlined by the victories for Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves that booked their places at Wembley next month.

There were also plenty of talking points in the Championship and League 1 too – and is now traditional on a Monday morning, we’ve rounded up all the big issues to form our conclusions from the weekend’s action..

Wigan could be unbeatable in that form

It’s a bold claim, yes. But when you see the level to which Wigan Warriors performed on Saturday afternoon, it’s difficult to imagine many teams competing with them when they’re in that form.

Granted, Hull KR were nowhere near their best, but Wigan didn’t allow them to be. Matt Peet’s side were devastatingly brilliant from start to finish. They have threats all over the field, and when their attack clicks, it’s brilliant to watch. They are clear favourites at Wembley, but..

If anyone can beat them, could it be Warrington?

Sam Burgess’ side were sensational in dismantling an out-of-sorts Huddersfield side on Sunday to book their place at Wembley in a few weeks alongside Wigan.

The Warriors have shown that when their game isn’t 100 per cent on, they have frailties which can be exploited. But if they’re as on it as they were on Saturday, it’s going to take a very good team to stop them. Warrington may well be in that bracket, and will be quietly confident they can lift the cup at the start of next month.

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Luke Thompson might be Super League’s best prop

Thompson produced a lung-busting 80-minute spell of the highest quality on Saturday afternoon, which led to Matt Peet calling out the prop for special praise in his post-match press conference.

He has settled back into life in Super League with ease and all of a sudden, looks like the cornerstone to not only Wigan’s pack, but potentially England’s for the next few seasons. To produce that display in that heat deserves enormous credit.

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Hull KR’s semi-final record is concerning

It is a sign of how far Hull KR have come as a club that we are talking about their disappointing record in semi-finals. However, Rovers have now made five league and cup semis in the last three years – and won only one of them.

That was their Challenge Cup semi-final win against Wigan last year, but there never looked likely to be a repeat over the weekend. They have made great strides in recent seasons – but as Willie Peters admitted post-match, there is a gap that still needs to be bridged for Rovers to be among the elite.

Sam Walters looks at home at Wigan

It wasn’t the biggest spell you’ll ever see from him, but in the brief period Walters was on the field on Saturday afternoon, he instantly looked like he belonged in a Wigan shirt.

Walters’ signature was a notable one this time last year given how he was excelling in the Leeds Rhinos side, and while his start to life at Wigan has been hampered with injury, he looks like he’ll be another brilliant addition to an already competitive squad Matt Peet has to select from.

George Williams – the best in Super League

It’s now a weekly recurring theme, but can there really be any doubt? Once again, in the biggest game of their season so far, George Williams was instrumental for Warrington in helping them book their place at Wembley.

Williams is, simply put, the standout player in Super League this season.

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Ben Currie is reborn as a 13

Sam Burgess has made some impressive changes at Warrington since taking charge: and one of the biggest is the resurgence in Ben Currie’s career.

That’s not to say Currie had completely stagnated in recent seasons, but since moving to 13 under Burgess, he has taken his game to a whole new level. Is he nudging his way back into England contention?

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Are Halifax in a relegation battle?

Into the Championship – and look away now, Panthers fans. It was another defeat at the weekend, this time to a York Knights side who were also struggling for form but, in the end, were far too good for Halifax.

It leaves Fax second-bottom and, as we approach the midway point in the Championship season, there is now a real possibility of the Panthers being sucked into a relegation battle. They are struggling with injuries and need key men back fast.

Doncaster have made the step up with ease

One side who look to be clear of any relegation worries this season is newly-promoted Doncaster, though. Richard Horne’s side have four wins to their name already, the latest a comfortable victory to nil against Batley Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon.

While fellow promoted side Dewsbury toil at the bottom of the Championship, the Dons are eyeing up a potential tilt at the play-offs. They’ve caught a few by surprise – and their form hasn’t gone unnoticed here.

The battle beneath Wakefield is compelling

Yes, Wakefield are almost certainly going to finish top. But there is a huge amount of intrigue and drama in the Championship regarding what happens beneath them.

Bradford’s victory over Sheffield on Sunday underlined the congested and unpredictable nature of the race for the second spot in the top two. The Bulls, the Eagles, Featherstone and Widnes will all fancy a tilt at second place come the end of the season.

Throw in a race to make the play-offs and finish in the top six including about eight or nine teams, and you’ve got another brilliant Championship campaign yet again.

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