Five things to look forward to this weekend

There are FIVE huge games of Rugby League taking place this weekend so strap yourselves in for a thriller.

We are coming towards the business end of the season now and there are only five games of the season left in all three leagues, but they are expected to be nail-biters.

Betfred Super League – Semi-Final: Castleford Tigers v St Helens

Daryl Powell’s Castleford Tigers side host Justin Holbrook’s St Helens outfit in the first semi-final tonight at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, 19:45pm kick-off. The hosts are the favourites to progress through to the Grand Final but there is a certain saying that goes along the lines of ‘never write off the Saints’. And even more so for the fact that Saints and Hull FC are the only teams to beat the Tigers in their own back yard this season. Steve Prescott Man of Steel contender Luke Gale is expected to return from injury to start but faces tough competition from opposing half-back Jonny Lomax so it will certainly be an interesting one to watch.

Kingstone Press League 1 – Promotion Final: Barrow Raiders v Whitehaven

Paul Crarey’s Barrow Raiders team welcome fellow Cumbrians Whitehaven to Craven Park on Sunday at 3pm in the Promotion Final. The winner will gain promotion to the Championship for 2018. The Raiders have had a great season, finishing second to Toronto Wolfpack in the Super 8s while Haven have also had a fine campaign under League 1 Coach of the Year Carl Forster, coming in third place. Barrow fans will be hoping Oliver Wilkes, Eze Harper and Tom Walker can continue their good form while Whitehaven supporters will look to Paul Crook, Dion Aye and Forster for guidance back to the Championship.

Million Pound Game: Leigh Centurions v Catalans Dragons

If you are going to watch one Rugby League match this weekend, make sure it is the Million Pound Game at the Leigh Sports Village on Saturday at 3pm. Gareth O’Brien known for his emphatic drop-goal in last year’s Million Pound Game, when he sealed top-flight status for Salford Red Devils and effectively relegated Hull Kingston Rovers. Neil Jukes’ Leigh Centurions team are favourites against Steve McNamara’s Catalans Dragons men but it has all the ingredients to be a spectacular event. Greg Bird returns from suspension for the Dragons while Luke Walsh, Richie Myler and Justin Horo will play their last game for the club. Captain Micky Higham has put his hand up to return for Leigh while Antoni Maria, Glenn Stewart and Eloi Pelissier will be looking to send their old club down.

Betfred Super League – Semi-Final: Leeds Rhinos v Hull FC

Leeds Rhinos or Hull FC will already know who they would be facing in the Betfred Super League Grand Final by the time their semi-final starts at 19:45pm at Headingley Carnegie. Challenge Cup winners Hull have been in good form recently, with an impressive 48-16 victory at Castleford Tigers last week. However, Leeds will welcome the fact that they’ve gone under the radar a bit this year. They finished second in the Super 8s and have won 20 out of 30 Super League games in 2017. Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire will play their last game at Headingley so they will want to go out on a high while FC fans will be hoping Dream Team duo Mahe Fonua and Albert Kelly bring their ‘A’ game again.

Kingstone Press Championship Shield – Final: Toulouse Olympique v Sheffield Eagles

Mark Aston’s Sheffield Eagles side travel to the Stade Ernest Argeles as they face Sylvain Houles’ Toulouse Olympique in the Championship Shield Final on Saturday, 14:30pm kick-off UK time. The Eagles narrowly won 28-26 at Batley Bulldogs in the semi-final last week while Toulouse beat Dewsbury Rams 36-22 at home. Toulouse were hoping to make The Qualifiers by finishing in the top four at the start of the season but they were pipped to the post by Halifax while Aston has done a good job with Sheffield while on a low budget. Mark Kheirallah has been a stand-out for Olympique this term, with Garry Lo and Menzie Yere causing all sorts of problems for defences down the right. The Championship Shield probably doesn’t get talked about in the way it should but the Final this weekend is set to be very tasty indeed.

How do you see the games going? Let us know in the comments below.

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