It’s another big week in the Betfred Championship as the top two, London and Toronto, come head to head whilst Leigh, Featherstone and Halifax all look for reactions following defeats last week.
Game to Watch: London Broncos vs Toronto Wolfpack
This week’s stand-out is an easy choice as, once again, the top two in the table face each other.
League leaders London Broncos have won all of their first three league fixtures despite many tipping them to struggle after losing head coach Andrew Henderson to Warrington Wolves over the off-season.
The Broncos boast an excellent record at the Trailfinders Ground, having won 13 consecutive matches on home soil, scoring over 40 points in eight of those victories.
Coincidently though, Toronto were the only side to beat London at home in the regular season after the Wolfpack won 30-26 in the Challenge Cup fourth round.
Toronto remain unbeaten after three matches this season but struggled to impress in last weekend’s win 20-6 against Halifax, a week after an 8-8 draw away to newly promoted Barrow Raiders.
A win for the Wolfpack would see them go top of the table whilst two points for London would further extend their lead over their fellow promotion hopefuls.
Player to Watch: Luke Briscoe (Featherstone Rovers)
Featherstone Rovers host bottom side Sheffield Eagles at the LD Nutrition Stadium as they aim to bounce back from their first defeat of the season last weekend.
The Rovers suffered a 44-24 defeat at London Broncos last week and will look towards in-form winger Luke Briscoe to help inspire a comeback win.
Briscoe has scored four times from his three appearances this season, including a double in Featherstone’s 36-18 win over Toulouse.
Opponents Sheffield have lost all of their three matches this season and suffered the heaviest defeat thus far in the Championship against Toulouse last week, losing 50-6 in the south of France.
Given the Eagles’ leaky backline, expect Briscoe to see plenty of opportunities on the right flank and continue his try-scoring form.
Coach to Watch: Richard Marshall (Halifax RLFC)
After only three rounds of action thus far in the Championship, it would be early to describe any game as “must-win” this weekend.
However, for Richard Marshall’s Halifax, who travel to Rochdale Hornets, the game holds strong significance.
Fax currently sit ninth in the Championship table following defeats to Featherstone Rovers and Toronto Wolfpack and travel to tenth-placed Rochdale aiming to close in on a top-four place.
Rochdale kicked off their season with a 38-6 home loss to Dewsbury Rams and are currently on a run which has seen them win just five of their last 27 matches in all competitions.
Trips to Rochdale and Batley represent ideal opportunities for Halifax to put some points on the board and establish a strong start to the 2018 season.
Team to Watch: Toulouse Olympique
Toulouse have proved their points-scoring power in the first few weeks of the season although question marks remain about their ability against the Championship’s elite.
The French outfit defeated Swinton Lions 46-14 on the opening weekend before thrashing Sheffield Eagles 50-6 in their last outing, establishing themselves as the division’s top-scorers.
However, Sylvain Houles’ side, much like their Super League compatriots Catalan Dragons, continue to struggle on the road and were defeated 36-18 by Featherstone in their first away trip of the season.
Toulouse travel to pre-season league title favourites Leigh this weekend looking to capitalise on the Centurions’ poor start to the season which saw them lose away to Barrow last week.
The Blue and Whites lost more matches than they won away from home last season in the regular season and could make a big statement by leaving the Leigh Sports Village with two points.
Full list of matches – Sunday 25th February
Batley Bulldogs vs Barrow Raiders (3pm)
Dewsbury Rams vs Swinton Lions (3pm)
Featherstone Rovers vs Sheffield Eagles (3pm)
London Broncos vs Toronto Wolfpack (3pm)
Rochdale Hornets vs Halifax (3pm)
Leigh Centurions vs Toulouse Olympique (5:30)