The spotlight is on…the first five games: The competition has started taking shape without too many shocks. Here we take a quick look at the main points across the league, from St Helens’ excellent Luke Walsh-led start, to Bradford and London’s struggles at the foot of the table.
1. So far, 1704 have been scored by all teams.
2. 166 goals have been kicked.
3.Wakefield have scored the most tries so far (32); London and Hull Kingston Rovers the least (14).
4. St Helens have kicked the most goals so far (30); Hull Kingston Rovers and London the least (11).
5. St Helens and Castleford are the only sides who have thus far maintained a 100% win return.
6. Catalan and London are the only sides with a 100% losing record.
7. St Helens have averaged 36 points per game, more than any other team so far.
8.. Hull Kingston Rovers and London have averaged just 16 points per game, the lowest return in the league.
9. London have conceded 45 points per game on average.
10. Bradford are bottom of the league on -2.
What a load of bullkash: It is extremely difficult to take Mandy Koukash’s bid to buy Bradford Bulls seriously.
After a few days of interviews, where she stated her intent on purchasing the troubled west Yorkshire club, Mrs K has admitted her bid ‘will not be the winning one’ but wished her competitors well.
With the threat of relegation looming large, Bradford’s possible involvement in the lower leagues next season could mean we see one of the league’s most successful clubs become one of the biggest ever feeder teams.
The wife of Salford Red Devils owner Marwan was at Odsal as the home side were battered by Huddersfield.
Try of the week: Matty Bowen’s length-of-the-field effort epitomised what the NRL supporters will tell you about the little man. He collected a high bomb, hit a large gap as the watching defenders stalled and raced 90 meters to score under the sticks. That is what Matty Bowen is all about.
Class in a glass: Ex-Warrington man Lee Briers will walk over 800 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats in the Scottish Highlands in just 12 days to raise funds for the Steve Prescott Foundation. We think he is mental but wish him all the luck in the world. This is some challenge. Visit his Just Giving page here: http://www.justgiving.com/LeeBriers
Leaderboard: The bottom three remains unchanged for a third straight week after Bradford lost heavily at home to Huddersfield, Wakefield made a half century against London and Catalan lost at leaders St Helens. Castleford are second and 5 for 5; Hull FC drop four competition places from fifth to ninth.
1 (-) St Helens
2 (-) Castleford
3 (-) Leeds
4 (6) Huddersfield
5 (4) Widnes
6 (7) Warrington
7 (9) Wakefield
8 (10) Wigan
9 (5) Hull FC
10 (8) Salford
11 (-) Hull KR
12 (-) Catalan
13 (-) London
14 (-) Bradford
Suspension: 5 players have been handed bans at Red Hall this week. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook of SoccerAM fame and Jeff Lima will serve two-game suspensions along with Micky Paea. Michael Lawrence and Chev Walker will sit it out this week after receiving a game each.
Injury update: St Helens have been hit by the news that instrumental half back Luke Walsh will be out of action for 6 weeks with a calf injury sustained in the win against Catalan.
Player movements: Anthony Mullally has extended his loan deal from Warrington to Bradford until the end of the season. Castleford have released youngster Charlie Martin, who has signed for local neighbours Featherstone.
Pointless drop goal: Everyone loves a drop goal and we’ve seen four this year. Bradford’s Luke Gale has kicked two and Marc Sneyd dropped against Hull this week as well. Matty Smith’s drop goal against Castleford last week was fantastic but he was left cherry-faced as the home side went down the other end to score straight after to take the points.
Milestone: One-club man Paul Wellens played his 500th game for St Helens in their big win over Catalan on Friday night. Wellens has had an incredible career for his hometown club, filling into a number of positions over the past couple of years, and shows no signs of stopping. Jon Wilkin played his 350th game for Saints on the same night as well.
Wakefield’s Paul Sykes, who has also laced for Bradford and London, played in his 300th career game after coming off the bench against London at the weekend. Well done, Paul!
Challenge Cup: The draw for the fourth round of the Challenge Cup was made on Tuesday this week and will see no more than five Super League clubs knocked out when the ties are played in the middle of next month.
Supporters have a couple of mouth-watering ties to look forward to when St Helens travel to Huddersfield, Wakefield host Leeds and Hull KR take on Warrington. Thrown into the mix is Salford’s trip to the KC Stadium to take on Hull FC and Catalan play fellow Super League strugglers London in Perpignan.
The full draw is below:
Huddersfield Giants v St Helens
Dewsbury Rams v Wigan Warriors
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Leeds Rhinos
Rochdale Hornets v Leigh Centurions
Batley Bulldogs v Castleford Tigers
Doncaster v Hemel Stags
Keighley Cougars v Barrow Raiders
Featherstone Rovers v North Wales Crusaders
Hull KR v Warrington Wolves
Hull FC v Salford Red Devils
Bradford Bulls v Oldham
Hunslet Hawks v Workington Town
Catalan Dragons v London Broncos
Halifax v Widnes Vikings
Sheffield Eagles v London Skolars
Swinton Lions v York City Knights
Final thought: Prolific winger Ryan Hall has penned a new deal with Leeds Rhinos this week. The England international has scored over 150 Super League tries for his club and has been rewarded with a massive 5-year deal as a result.
It is fantastic for Rugby League in this country that such a star of our game has opted to remain here for that length of time and a real shot in the arm for the competition as a whole.