Is the losing coach of Hull-Leigh already under pressure? Super League burning questions

Aaron Bower

Craig Lingard (left), Sam Burgess (centre) and Willie Peters (right)

It may only be Round Five of the new Super League season, but there’s already a plethora of talking points and issues to get stuck into in the days ahead.

As is now tradition here at Love Rugby League, we’ve picked out the biggest burning questions going into the weekend’s action to try and tee up the games and look at the stories that are dominating each of them going into a big round of action for all 12 clubs.

How much pressure is the losing coach at Hull-Leigh under?

Granted, we’re not into the territory of suggesting coaching positions are under threat. That would be fairly ludicrous at this stage of the season. But after underwhelming starts to 2024 from both Hull FC and Leigh, the loser this weekend would face huge pressure going into next weekend’s Challenge Cup action.

The Black and Whites did improve in last week’s defeat at Catalans, while Leigh had their moments – most of them in the first half – against Leeds Rhinos before surrendering a healthy half-time lead. You wonder how much heat there will be on the losing coach at 5pm on Saturday, as a nervy start turns into a potentially bad one.

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Is Saturday already damage limitation for Castleford?

It’s hard not to glance one eye ahead to next weekend for the Tigers, and that huge Challenge Cup tie against Craig Lingard’s former club, Batley Bulldogs. But before that, they have another Super League game to contend with: the small matter of a trip to Perpignan to face Catalans Dragons.

Trips to Catalans are tough at the worst of times but with Castleford’s form at the start of 2024 poor to say the least, you wonder if there’s already a feeling of simply keeping things respectable for the Tigers this weekend. It’s hard not to think that they have a much bigger game to worry about next week, after all.

Do Hull KR stick or twist at fullback?

Peta Hiku’s start to life at Hull KR has been far from perfect – but at the same time, while he has had his shaky moments, he has shown moments of promise, too.

But Willie Peters has options at his disposal and after back-to-back defeats, you wonder if he may utilise them at Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon. Hiku is capable of playing in multiple positions, as is Niall Evalds, who could slot in at fullback if Peters decided to make a change. That would then open the door for Joe Burgess to potentially come in on the wing, too.

But does Peters stick or twist? It’s a big call.

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Will Friday give us a glimpse into Leeds’ title aspirations?

Three wins from four represents a good start for a Leeds Rhinos side who underachieved last season yet, at the same time, there is still a bit of mystery surrounding Rohan Smith’s side. We almost know what most sides in Super League are capable of in 2024: but Leeds are one of the ones that are uncertain.

As good as the results have been, aspects of Leeds’ performances have been troubling, not least the aforementioned first half against Leigh Leopards last week. As such, you get the feeling the arrival of St Helens on Friday night offers us all a real insight into just how far this Leeds side can go this season.

Win at Headingley against the Saints, and four wins from five will see people suggesting Leeds are capable of challenging this year. Perform poorly, and the question marks will remain hovering over the heads of the Rhinos for another week.

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