Super League talking points: Salford rising, Castleford worries, Hull FC improving

Aaron Bower

It’s been another busy weekend of Super League, with some huge results, big individual performances and of course, no shortage of talking points.

So as is now traditional here at Love Rugby League, let us run you through the big stories coming out of Round Four in our Monday morning debrief.

How worried should Castleford supporters be?

Very, based on Friday night’s performance at home to Huddersfield. The Tigers weren’t just beaten, they were hammered by the Giants on their own patch, conceding 50 points in the process.

The most understanding of Castleford supporters would have known this was to be a season of transition, with younger players and a brand new head coach in Craig Lingard arriving at the Tigers. But with Lingard dubbing his own side’s display “embarrassing”, are the Tigers in for a much tougher season than even their harshest critics predicted? It doesn’t get any easier either, with Catalans away next up on Saturday.

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Will Salford’s achievements ever be fully appreciated?

Year after year, Salford Red Devils continue to punch significantly above their weight. And it appears that 2024 could be a continuation of that theme again, with Paul Rowley’s side once again surprising us all.

Few gave them a chance at home to Hull KR. Even fewer thought they’d win at St Helens for the first time since 1980. Yet they won both those games to suggest that they are in the mix for the play-offs once again, despite another fire-sale of talent in the off-season. Will what Salford do year in, year out every get the respect it deserves? Beat reigning world champions Wigan on Thursday night, and you’d imagine it surely will.

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Does anyone know what Leeds Rhinos are capable of yet?

It’s hard to tell based on the chaos of Friday night. For 40 minutes against Leigh, Rohan Smith’s side were abject at best. Yet after half-time, they came out a different team and ultimately came away with a third win in four games.

They are one of six teams with three wins to their name so far, but the prospects of the Rhinos feel far less certain than some of the other teams around them. Brilliant in patches but bizarrely under-par in others, the wild attacking style Leeds have introduced this year also adds a sense of unpredictability into their game, somewhat. One thing is for sure, though: it’s certainly fun watching them as a neutral – as you don’t know what you’re going to get from one week to the next.

Did Saturday kick-start Hull FC’s season?

Granted, it was a third defeat in four games for the Black and Whites with a loss in Perpignan against Catalans Dragons. But the manner of their display will have offered huge hope that Saturday may have been a turning point for Tony Smith’s side.

Without the controversial card handed out to Jack Ashworth, it may have been a different story altogether for the Black and Whites. But with key performers returning and a courageous, spirited display at one of the toughest places in Super League to go, Hull fans will hope they are now on an upward trajectory.

However, we are fast approaching the point in the season where the table really starts to take shape and as great as that performance was, they will need to start winning games soon to ensure they don’t get cut adrift from the play-off mix.

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