Leeds’ lead cut as play-off race hots up

Leeds saw their cushion at the top of the engage Super League table cut to four points over the weekend, after their slip-up at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday evening.nnSt Helens demolished Bradford 58-20 on Friday night, stretching their winning run to seven in the league, before Leeds’ six-game winning run came to an abrupt halt in the capital on Saturday evening, losing 28-24 to Harlequins.nnThe defeat is only Leeds’ third under head coach Brian McLennan this season, as St Helens turned up the heat on Leeds’ position at the top.nnAfter three league losses in four, the win did the London side the world of good, as they joined Bradford on 16 points and stayed just two points off the play-off pace.nnBradford fell out of the play-off places for the first time in months with their loss at Knowsley Road on Friday; their third straight league defeat.nnLes Catalans’ 45-38 win over Wigan on Saturday pulled the French side to within five points of the reigning champions, after a remarkable high-scoring game in Perpignan.nnMick Potter’s men made a great stride forward to consolidating third spot with this win, and now sit five points ahead of Warrington in third. Meanwhile Wigan fell into the group of six teams separated by just three points, albeit with a game in hand at home to Huddersfield at the end of July.nnBrian Noble blasted Wigan’s defence afterwards, as Warrington hopped above them in the table with their 38-20 win at home to Hull KR. James Lowes, stand-in head coach at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, has worked wonders since his arrival, and picked up his second victory from two with the win over Rovers.nnJustin Morgan’s KR sit on 15 points, and prop up the mini-league of teams fighting for the remaining three play-off places. They’ve picked up just two wins in six now, and will need to start winning again if they have realistic hopes of climbing above Wakefield, Bradford and Harlequins above them.nnWakefield returned to the top six after Sunday’s narrow 28-26 win at home to local rivals Huddersfield, jumping above out-of-sorts Bradford into sixth place.nnHuddersfield are another side in dire straits. This latest defeat condemned them to their fifth defeat from their last six games, while their search for Jon Sharp’s replacement as head coach goes on.nnThings got a lot better for Hull FC on Sunday. John Agar picked up his first Super League success, as they convincingly saw off Castleford 40-14 at the KC Stadium. The win takes them four points behinds cross-city rivals KR, and Black & Whites fans have every reason to believe their side will climb up the table in the coming weeks.nnCastleford stay rooted to the spot, three points behind 11th-placed Huddersfield, and look set to stay bottom when the regular season ends in September.nnThe only thing that’s predictable about the engage Super League at present is its unpredictability. Leeds seemed nailed-on to pick up two more points at Harlequins, but proved nothing is certain in Super League XIII.nnPredicting the results is one thing, but predicting the final shape-up of the play-offs looks impossible at the moment. Hats off to anyone who can call that one.

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