Editor’s column: Featherstone fire timely reminder Toronto won’t have it all their own way

The reality facing Toronto, as with St Helens, is that their regular season dominance matters for little if they don’t win their respective Grand Finals.

For the Wolfpack, failure to do so is beyond comprehension.

They have already suffered heartbreak once, suffering a shock 4-2 loss to London Broncos in last season’s Million Pound Game which denied them promotion to Super League at the first time of asking.

Toronto, under new coach Brian McDermott, have had a relatively subdued season by their standards, with incidents off the field grabbing the headlines.

On the field, they have largely coasted through the season, the only blip being a hammering at Toulouse earlier in the season.

But Saturday’s win, their 20th from 21 games this campaign, over Featherstone perhaps contained a warning sign that they cannot afford to coast come the business end of the season.

Ryan Carr’s Featherstone, who are the only side ever to beat the Wolfpack in Canada in a regular season game, pushed them all the way before going down 22-18.

Featherstone are likely to be there or thereabouts come the end of the season, as the battle to just make the top five threatens to go down to the wire – with Rovers, York, Toulouse, Leigh, Bradford and Sheffield all battling over four spots to join the Wolfpack in the play-offs.

In their two meetings this season, Featherstone have lost by just 13 points in total.

While Toronto will be overwhelming favourites for promotion with Omega Tipsters, perhaps the weekend will act as a timely reminder that they ought to be cautious of an upset again.

Former Super League side Widnes are threatening to be sucked in to the relegation scrap at the bottom of the Championship, as they struggle to pull away.

Having cleared their 12 point deduction in next to no time earlier in the season, the Vikings have been indifferent since, and have suffered hidings in each of their last three away games – to Featherstone, Bradford and Halifax.

They have a three point cushion on Barrow, who desperately need to start winning after putting up a brave fight in defeat to Leigh.

With six games to go, there are still twists in the tail to come.

The hero’s reception afforded to Rangi Chase sat uncomfortably with me over the weekend.

A great player on his day, and a former England international and Man of Steel, but this is a guy who is coming back from a two-year drugs ban – not an injury.

Understand that he’s had battles with depression, but there are plenty of people who’ve done that without turning to drugs.

St Helens must surely win the Super League title now, for the sake of rugby league.

With it looking increasingly likely that Justin Holbrook will return Down Under at the end of the season, he will be desperate to have something to show for it – and a Challenge Cup and Super League double would do the trick.

Saints are streets ahead of every other team in Super League, and Warrington’s defeat at home to Salford shows that they are marginally better than the chasing pack, but nowhere near the league leaders, as was intimated earlier in the season.


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