Championship talking points including Bradford Bulls, Wakefield Trinity and Halifax Panthers

Aaron Bower
Daryl Powell, Eamon O'Carroll and Liam Finn

Although England’s game in France headlines this week’s rugby league action, there’s still a full round of Championship fixtures to get stuck into.

And there’s some huge games, with ramifications at both the top and, arguably more importantly, the bottom – with the relegation picture showing no signs of becoming any clear as a glut of teams fight to avoid finishing in the bottom two.

Here’s our talking points going into another bumper weekend of Championship action.

Could Halifax start to get cut adrift?

It’s perhaps still a fraction too early for any mention of that but their home game with Whitehaven this weekend has potentially huge ramifications for the Panthers‘ season.

They sit second-bottom going into that game, albeit on points difference and just two points behind Haven, who sit as high as eighth. The Championship relegation picture is still congested but as the weeks progress, more teams will start to pull away.

If Fax slip up on Sunday, they could end the weekend on their own on eight points. Then things would start to get interesting for Liam Finn’s side.

Can Bradford push for the top two?

You’d have to argue that the Bulls are heavy favourites to pick up another win this weekend, given how they travel to bottom side Dewsbury Rams on Sunday afternoon.

And if results go a certain way, they could find themselves joint-second by the end of this weekend. It’s clear the Bulls are recruiting in a manner that’s going to see them stronger at the end of the season than the start, and there’s even whispers of more signings to come this year for Eamon O’Carroll’s side.

How deep could the Bulls go in the play-offs?

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Are York looking up or down?

Mark Applegarth’s impact since arriving at York has been impressive, with back-to-back wins including an eye-catching triumph at Featherstone Rovers last weekend.

They’re still only two points clear of the bottom two but equally, are just two points shy of sixth-placed Featherstone and the play-offs. This weekend, the Knights host Sheffield in a battle of two in-form teams: if they claim another scalp, we’ll suddenly be talking about York as a serious play-off contender.

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When do Wakefield start to rotate?

With a six-point lead already, it’s somewhat obvious that Wakefield Trinity are going to finish the season on top of the Championship table.

It’s easy to write off the validity of the Championship play-offs this year but there are bonus points available with IMG for the winners of the Grand Final – which could be the difference between Super League or not for Wakefield.

So with that in mind, do Trinity began to rotate in the weeks ahead to ensure their key players are fresh and ready for the run-in? They face Barrow Raiders in Cumbria on Sunday, and a glimpse into their team for that game could give a hint as to how Wakefield approach the second half of the season.

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