With five games to go, we take a look at how the race for the League Leaders Shield in the Super League is looking, as well as looking at the remaining fixtures.
As it stands, St Helens are in pole position, four points clear of Wigan in second, with Huddersfield and Catalans seven and eight points behind respectively.
Both Huddersfield and Catalans are likely to be playing for third and fourth place respectively.
August is the last full month of the season, with the final round taking part in the first week in September.
1st- St Helens (36 pts)
Remaining fixtures: 14th Aug: Hull FC (A); 19th Aug: Hull KR (H); 26th Aug: Wigan (A); 29th Aug: Wakefield (H); 3rd Sep: Toulouse (H).
St Helens returned to winning ways on Sunday, with a home victory against Castleford in front of the Channel 4 cameras. It was just the result they were looking for following their heavy defeat at the hands of Salford.
Saints have been fairly consistent this season, only losing four of their 22 regular season matches. Their fate as far as the League Leaders Shield is concerned, is still in their own hands.
They can clinch the shield at nearest rivals Wigan on the 26th August. A win could potentially take them six points clear with two games to go. This is presuming both clubs win both their games before then.
However, a loss against Wigan could make the final two games a bit twitchy. The gap will be reduced to two points, and the Warriors have a better points difference.
Kristian Woolf’s side are looking for their first League Leaders Shield since 2019, in Justin Holbrook’s final season in charge when they finished 16 points clear of Wigan.
LOVE RUGBY LEAGUE: Latest News, Podcast, App & Fantasy RL
2nd- Wigan (32 points)
Remaining fixtures: 14th Aug: Wakefield (A); 19th Aug: Toulouse (H); 26th Aug: St Helens (H); 29th Aug: Hull KR (A); 3rd Sep: Catalans (H).
Wigan picked up their second straight win on Thursday, as they beat Warrington at the DW Stadium. After their last defeat against Leeds, Head Coach Matt Peet wrote off the League Leaders Shield.
However, St Helens’ defeat against Salford has left the door slightly ajar. But it is not in their own hands. If they beat Saints at the DW Stadium in a couple of weeks’ time, that will narrow the gap to two points, assuming they beat both Wakefield and Toulouse.
After that, they will be relying on a slip from St Helens in another one of their remaining fixtures to stand a chance. Should that happen, Wigan have a better points difference so would go above them.
Should Wigan win it, it will be the second time they have claimed the minor Premiership in the last three years. They could also be two-thirds of the way towards the treble, having also won the Challenge Cup.