Super League talking points including Leigh Leopards, St Helens and Huddersfield Giants

Aaron Bower
Adrian Lam, Ian Watson and Willie Peters

After the international break left a fairly sour taste in the mouths of most, Super League returns this weekend: and with a bang.

It feels like a seismic weekend at both ends of the table, with huge games that have ramifications on the battle for top spot, the play-offs and beyond.

Here’s our major talking points, starting with Friday night’s battle of the borough in Wigan..

Are Leigh in must-win territory?

It’s perhaps not quite at that point of the season yet for Leigh Leopards – but it feels like it’s getting close.

Adrian Lam’s side have improved plenty in recent weeks but a damaging defeat to Leeds Rhinos before the international break has not only punctured their momentum, but damaged their play-off push, too.

They face local rivals Wigan on Friday night knowing that they can’t afford too many more slip-ups between now and the end of the season if they’re going to make the top six. There would be no better place to get a statement victory to reignite their season, too.

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How much pressure is Ian Watson under?

The Giants could, realistically, end the weekend eight points adrift of the Super League play-off places – and there’s no doubt the pressure is starting to rise in West Yorkshire for Ian Watson.

While there’s no suggestion whatsoever his position is under threat, a failure to make the play-offs again this year would certainly rank as a failure, and this feels like a big weekend for their hopes.

With sixth-placed Catalans away at Hull KR, there could be an opportunity for the Giants to bridge the gap with victory against Warrington. However, they’ll have to step it up without question based on how they’ve performed recently.

Do St Helens afford opportunities on Friday?

Nothing can really be taken for granted too much in Super League these days, but this could be an opportune moment for Paul Wellens to offer up chances to some fringe members of his St Helens squad.

They host an injury-hit Castleford on Friday evening and the expectation is that the Saints will win. However, with a defeat to Salford before the break still fresh in the minds of the Saints players, will Wellens look to rotate ahead of next week’s derby, or go out all guns blazing against Castleford to send a message to Wigan?

How many teams can still finish second?

You could look all the way down to Catalans in sixth and identify teams that have a realistic chance of making the top two: but that could all look different by the end of this weekend.

A defeat to Rovers for the Dragons would, likely, leave them with a lot of ground to make up. Similarly, if Warrington were to slip up at home to Huddersfield, there would be daylight between them and the top two.

But if results went a certain way, we could finish the weekend with the sides sitting between second and sixth separated by a solitary win..

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