One thing every Super League club eliminated from Challenge Cup needs to address in free week

Aaron Bower

For the eight Super League teams remaining in this year’s Challenge Cup, Wembley is still firmly on the agenda.

But for the four who were eliminated in the previous round, there’s a potentially valuable free week to get things in order ahead of another busy glut of Super League fixtures.

By the time the next break arrives, the season will be some way down the line, meaning this is a crucial week off to try and fix up some issues from the opening two months. Here’s what the four clubs in question should focus on in the coming days.

London Broncos: start planning the 2025 squad

Realistically, London’s chances of being in Super League next year are limited at best. IMG will almost certainly ask the Broncos to quietly leave the competition – but with so much of their squad out of contract, Mike Eccles can use this week to take a long-term view of things in the capital.

The opening seven rounds will have taught him plenty about who should, and perhaps shouldn’t, be a part of things beyond this year. It’s a break that allows Eccles to think beyond this season.

Salford Red Devils: fix up the defence

It’s been a mixed bag so far in 2024 for Salford – though you would certainly argue more good than bad, for the record.

But their last three results have seen them concede a whopping 108 points, including 40 without reply in the Challenge Cup against Hull KR. Salford’s attack has potential, that much we know – especially with someone like Marc Sneyd providing a talismanic impact. If the Red Devils can spend this week shoring up their defence, they’ll win more games than they lose.

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Leeds Rhinos: work on spine fluidity

There’s no doubting that if the day arrives when Leeds’ frontline quartet in the spine clicks, they’ll be a real threat to most sides.

Brodie Croft has the joint-most assists in Super League so far this year, and Lachie Miller has shown flashes of what he can bring to the Rhinos. But at times, those two and Matt Frawley look like exactly what they are: an entire new combination trying to find some consistency.

If Leeds can spend this week helping develop those bonds and combinations, they can look ahead to the summer with cautious optimism – because when they’ve clicked in games so far this year, they’ve looked encouraging.

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Hull FC: settle on a head coaching plan

Simply put, Hull FC need to work out what they’re doing for the rest of this season when it comes to the head coaching position.

Tony Smith’s departure on Thursday leaves them with options. Do they entrust the role on an interim basis to Simon Grix for the foreseeable – potentially giving him an extended audition at the role? Or do they make it a short-term stint and go all-out for a big name now?

Those questions will – or at least, should – be sorted in the minds of the Hull hierarchy by the time they take to the field for their next Super League game. Without that clarity, things could go from bad to worse at the MKM Stadium.

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