Highlights of all the games as the Super 8s and qualifiers get under way. Including Castleford v St Helens, Leeds v Wigan, Huddersfield v Wakefield and Hull FC v Salford.
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We have hit the business end of the 2017 season and week
Over the next few weeks, we will find out who is on course
for the Grand Final and follow the fight for Super League
It is rugby league, where nothing is straightforward.
So we've enlisted the help of Internet sensation Korean Billy
Hello, everyone, this is Billy and welcome to the next stage
The top eight teams from the first 23 rounds
This is still called the Super League.
Points are accumulated from the first 23 rounds have been
brought forward and after another seven games, the top team will lift
The top four teams will contest the play-off semifinals,
where the winners will meet in the Grand Final at Old Trafford.
The winner of the Grand Final will be the 2017 Super League champions.
The bottom four teams from the first 23 rounds have been joined
by the top four teams from the Championship.
The eight teams in the Qualifiers will all start on zero points.
These eight teams will all play each other and the top three will earn
The bottom three teams will play in the Championship in 2018.
But the teams finishing fourth and fifth in the Qualifiers
will play for a place in Super League.
This is called the million pound game.
Joining us this week are the Leigh assistant coach
Brian, I have visions of you and Korean Billy as a double act.
It would be sensational though I'm not sure he'd be able
No, and I'm not sure he could translate how
That would be a challenge for Korean Billy.
Because I spent 15 years coaching and never
We will set him that task and see what happens.
Obviously for Leigh, last year, you had so much to gain.
How different is it going into the Qualifiers
Much more stress, yeah, a lot of pressure on everybody.
The bottom four have a great deal to lose.
Super League status is huge and the pressures are immense
We are in-house and we are creating our own little bubble.
We will wait for somebody to come along and burst it.
So it is a programme of two halves this week on all the tries
from the Qualifiers to come but first, it is four
The team in first place at the start of the Super 8s
They had beaten every visitor to the Jungle in the regular season
and started the next stage on home turf against St Helens.
Roby has got the time here to have a look around.
Theo Fages to his left-hand side, here.
Theo Fages will take it on, goes into the gap and gets
the pass away and Zeb Taia, pushing off any would-be defenders
Castleford's defence was at sixes and sevens.
Not much of an extra effort going on after the tackle was complete.
St Helens are going for goal and here is a chance for Percival
to give his side an 8-0 lead, right in front of
And Saints have silenced this crowd, 8-0.
Good to see Matty Smith back as well after that horrific eye injury
that he suffered a couple of weeks ago.
Castleford's defence responding in kind.
Here comes the sixth tackle, though, lobbed high by Wilkin.
Well, it seems to come backwards, or has it just gone
Well, the video referee says it has gone forward and it is no try.
So the kick is high and across the field again.
They have got the numbers here, Castleford, and and Jy
But again, the referee wants a second opinion.
REFEREE: Check for the chaser being within the ten.
Well, there's a man, a couple of men in front of the ball, here.
Hitchcox himself is clearly onside but it is the chasers
who are in front of the ball and being within ten
metres, which means that this try is not given.
Castleford, trying to push themselves close, here.
One of their better opportunities, one of their better positions
and they get a penalty as well, here.
Right in front of the sticks and they are going to run it.
They want to put as much back into this match
A little dummy by him and he has got over!
Adam Milner, Castleford's first try, eight minutes into the second half.
St Helens' defence has been absolutely terrific tonight,
Castleford have thrown plenty at them but St Helens have
soaked up just about all, just that Milner try,
And here comes Thompson with a charge down the middle, inside,
The Tigers defence is back but Matty Smith
He gets it away and Roby, underneath the sticks!
James Roby, well, again, we are going upstairs.
Can you check the merits of an 8-point try?
Is there too much going on from Oliver Holmes?
Well, the try has been given and it is just a try, so no penalty.
Back it comes to Luke Gale, trying to make something happen, here.
At the back, Shenton, quick ball across to Jy Hitchcox!
Great cover from Lomax, terrific cover from Lomax.
Castleford still have it but they are bundled out of play.
Well, doesn't that just sum up how good St Helens' defence
Looking for something on that left-hand side.
And Jonny Lomax, I think, got there first.
St Helens are setting a real platform for an impressive
Matty Smith, back in the action, and Lomax in the thick of it, too.
Well, Castleford has not seen anything like this for over a year,
Ten minutes, just less than that still to play but is there hope
We are going for the video referee again, here.
Well, even if the corner flag had been in play,
I think he would still have scored the try.
Cas have a little hope, here, thanks to Joel Monaghan.
Kyle Amor is put down but within sight of the line.
We need the certainty of the video referee.
He is just short when he lands but I think the ball rolls
The fact the referee has given it will make it even more certain
and it has been given and St Helens are going to get a famous
They are posting their Grand Final intentions.
STUDIO: Not a feeling that Cas have felt this season, losing at home.
Was the difference quite simply St Helens' defence?
Offensively, too, listen, to score that many points
at Castleford against a team that have really flown
through the first 23 rounds and are deservedly the most
consistent team in the competition, you are right in what you're saying,
it is not a feeling they are used to very much.
I think I'm right in saying they have not lost at home for quite
So a big win for St Helens, one that keepd the momentum rolling
So a big win for St Helens, one that keeps the momentum rolling
Justin talked about the decisions they were making
We've seen a couple from young Regan Grace, batting the ball out,
backing themselves to do another six and then some cover defence
here that we are seeing, numbers in the frame.
Five or six white shirts, trying to put the fire
out, put the danger out and that is an exciting
thing to have as a coach, when they are committing
Justin Holbrook has done a great job there, hasn't he?
Fantastic job but I think the main one being the number of minutes that
I think he is playing him a hell of a lot more.
No nine or recognised nine off the bench, Tommy Lee is obviously
Would you be taking him down for...? Maybe a bit premature.
We'll see how the rest of the six weeks go in the really big games
but he is certainly a player that is very, very capable,
James Roby and St Helens are certainly a team capable
of making waves in the top four, should they remain in that.
In a funny sort of way, might this be a useful
wake-up call at this point in time for Castleford?
Daryl will suggest that they are not invincible, they have to take a step
They had a couple of players missing but I don't
What is key is to recognise that at this time of the season,
as Paul said at the top of the show, they are intense games, these.
You have got to be on your game and if you get opportunities,
You won't get many more because of the standard
of the defence that St Helens produce, and that will probably be
the standard that most teams will want to aspire to.
Well, we know that Hull are heading to Wembley for the Challenge Cup
final but will they make it to Old Trafford for
They were looking to maintain their play-off place against Salford
on Friday and it was a game watched by Richard Stead.
COMMENTATOR: Tomkins in at dummy half, goes left.
Houghton at dummy half, skips away to the right, finds Kelly.
Kelly dummies and he has broken through, really
He runs from right to left, to Connor, who cuts inside and gets
Throwing, oh, it is easy, Robert Lui makes it look very easy.
Danny Houghton barks instructions at dummy half.
Danny Houghton away again, to Connor, who dummies.
Oh, it is like Robert Lui's, through the defence.
Houghton again, fires it out to Connor on the left.
Passes the ball via Carney need to Bibby.
Oh, it will be a consolation, Manu Vatuvei is in.
STUDIO: Do Hull look to you like a team capable
They've learned lessons from 2016, the cup final and maybe a little bit
of over celebrating what was a huge occasion and result for the club.
Let's not get it wrong, they deserve to celebrate
and obviously quieten down the opposite side of that city.
I think Lee Radford and his staff have planned meticulously
for winning a war rather than just battles along the way and they look,
and they look, you know, in really good form and a very
big and physical team, who can damage you from
Jake Connor has been a real boost for them in whatever position
he plays and he stepped up into the halves is a fair
he plays and he stepped up into the halves a fair
Reinforcing what Paul says, they've got a deeper squad
to be able to do that, they rested Marc Sneyd,
who had an amazing game at the weekend in relation
to kicking, so to pick up what he said, they are physical
and they have got speed with Kelly and Jamie Shaul out the back.
They have to, when they are in an arm wrestle,
It is interesting to see that they pulled away
in the second half again, which is another reinforcement
of the fact that they are juiced up, energised, looking forward
to the end of the season, where last year it might have
Can Salford turn it round, five defeats on the bounce?
Difficult for Ian Watson and his staff.
The question I think everyone is asking is have they done enough
and what was their goals and objectives at the beginning
of the season and have they revisited them
and what do they want to aspire to achieve
Because they look a bit flat from the footage
It is a huge ask to turn around what was a monumental
occasion in the semifinal, where they did not play too well
and Wigan got over the top of them in another big game.
The next six weeks are all big games for Salford.
Next to the John Smith's Stadium where it was Huddersfield
These were two teams outside the play-off places
Do either of them have a chance for you of making the top four?
Not realistically with the games they have to play but I think one
of the teams that win at the weekend are probably going to be kingmakers
because Huddersfield are in terrific form.
We have seen they put Wakefield to the sword
and unfortunately for Wakefield, I don't think Chris Chester
Well, that is not being impressed as well, if he was embarrassed.
It means they have done some things that they are not quite proud
of and they need to, this week, aim up against Leeds.
But I think Huddersfield have been in a good run of form
Remember they were bottom of the table by million miles at one
point this year so they have knocked off some good wins
I don't think they have got the juice to get into the four.
I could be wrong because I think the other teams will win but I'm
confident they will have a huge decision to make on other
Are Wakefield in a similar position to Salford?
Is it objective aimed, and have they got to where they wanted to be?
Not putting the queue on the rank but how are they reassessing
their goals as a staff and a group of players.
Some off-field stuff that they have got to deal with as well
with the players which can affect the players' performances
in and around the club, day-to-day, as well as games.
They have got some challenges to overcome, Wakefield.
I think both of these teams can have a real say
on who makes the four, particularly Huddersfield
They are playing some really attractive stuff.
Other than Mamo, who got a season-ending injury,
they have added a couple of people to the team.
But Leroy Cudjoe, Lawrence, all the players who were struggling
at the start of the year, Hinchcliffe as well,
they are playing a brand of football here, off-loading
and they are exciting to watch at the moment.
Possibly building for next season rather than making an impact now.
The Super 8s started how the regular season ended for Leeds and Wigan.
A fortnight ago, it was a comfortable win for the Warriors
though this time around they met at Headingley.
COMMENTATOR: Leeds in very decent position here.
Asking some questions of this Wigan defence.
Stevie Ward, oh, they dropped off him and Ward is over to score
Picking it up and getting his side on the way again, here.
They keep it alive through Golding but he has to go down with ball
in hand, Parcell passing to Watkins quickly, flicking it back to
and Ashton Golding finishing off a sparkling move for Leeds.
Some really excellent play there in attack from Sam Tomkins.
Leeds look to switch the angle of attack, here.
It has gone to ground off Cuthbertson but
picked up quickly and suddenly Davies has a chance.
It is Davies and Golding in pursuit but Davies
is going to win the race, I think, he is.
And Tom Davies, two tries in four minutes, has turned
REFEREE: On the zero tackle, the touchline.
Looking for the touchline, Davies, his right foot is OK.
Just about in the field of play and from there on,
it is all fine and Wigan are awarded their second try.
Snapped up from dummy half and a big surge from Sutcliffe.
A push and Hall, a wiggle of the hips and off he goes.
Tomkins looking to wind him in but a lovely, intelligent kick,
back on the inside, and Golding is over.
Onside, offside, is what he's checking and the grounding.
Well, the onside, he is quite clearly onside, there.
The referee says try so the balance of opinion is in favour
The ball, there, seems to have hit the ground.
The try surely will be given and Leeds are back in front, four
The tackles are dropped off again and Sutcliffe is in.
Boy was that required but Leeds still have it, here.
Flicked back to Matt Parcell, with his second of the half.
And Leeds getting some level of comfort now.
Oh, and for a third time in this half, Leeds finding a gap
down the right-hand side of Wigan's defence.
But here's the gap and here is Stevie Ward,
his second of the night, and Leeds are taking absolute
Jamie Jones-Buchanan measuring up and straightening up
Tomkins getting his body in the way of the try scoring effort.
McGuire with the kick and it takes a deflection
Stevie Ward with a hat-trick, no doubts now, Leeds
Delaney and Ward, the two men responsible for the tackle.
So Wigan search right and there's a bit of a juggle
It is into the hands of Tomkins who dummies and will slide over.
But it is all in vain, in pursuit of victory for Wigan.
STUDIO: Stevie Ward making the headlines
and if you were picking the England squad for the World Cup,
We were speaking before the show, he's not played too much rugby this
year and is fresh and you know, we can see that.
Some of the players have played lots of football this year
and lots of games over a couple of periods inside a few days.
Stevie is pretty fresh and he gives you a bit of an extra
dimension on that right edge, a little bit of a hold runner.
He goes about his job really quietly and unassumingly and obviously,
he has hit the headlines this week but again, we will see what the next
six weeks bring in these really intense games.
Brian was saying after the game, Brian McDermott of the semifinal
that it was the flattest week he has known at Leeds but he sent
the players wanted to be left alone to game day.
Is that quite brave of the coach to step back and leave
There's an element of intelligence in it as well.
You can't pump up a torn tyre, can you?
You have to wait until it is fixed you can put some
You have to wait until it is fixed so you can put some
But whatever he did, they hit the ground running on Friday.
You have to say his strategy has been brilliant, whatever
it was because that is as good as I have seen Leeds play this year.
Danny McGuire was brilliant, pulling the team around.
The boy Ward was amongst a lot of players that
As for Wigan, they are now down in eighth.
Obviously they have made it to the Challenge Cup final,
Do you think they can make the top four?
Very difficult for them now to make the top four.
It is becoming an all your eggs in the Challenge Cup basket
They have got that ability and we spoke about, previous
winners of the Grand Final, obviously, they are the holders
and they have been there and done it and when the big games come round,
they find a way, but they seemed a bit unlike themselves,
Making one-on-one misses that we are not used
But we've seen it a few times this season.
We have and there have been other reasons behind
performances they have had, injuries to key players.
They seem to have got the key players back
on the field now but is it too little, too late?
Are all the eggs in the Challenge Cup basket?
Only time will tell in the next few weeks but for me it would be
difficult for them to make the top four.
So we are up to date with the latest from the top eight and here is how
they stand in the Betfred Super League table.
Castleford's lead at the top is cut to eight points,
the Tigers effectively still need two more wins to guarantee
The big movers are St Helens who replaced Salford
Huddersfield have gone above Wigan, leaving
Super League continues on Thursday night with Wakefield against Leeds,
And don't forget the 5Live rugby league podcast.
So to the Qualifiers, where eight teams are fighting it
The London Broncos were one of the last teams relegated
Their latest push for promotion back to Super League began
Your commentator for this one, Tim Steer.
COMMENTATOR: London looking to make some headway early in this game.
Chance for London to break through the line here
and they have and it is Barthau on the inside and he is going to go
Is there going to be a way through here for Catalans with Remi Casty?
Can't find any options, goes to ground.
The referee, Chris Kendall, is going to hand it upstairs.
He says no try but wants to check the offside from the kick first.
It is tight but that looks all right.
What an effort this is from Richie Myler.
Waiting for the official confirmation and it is a try.
Great individual effort from Richie Myler.
London with the ball from the scrum, out toward the left hand side
The Championship side have the lead again.
Ayton, acting half-back, this is a good position,
this is a good move and this is a good try!
It is tit-for-tat for tries at the moment.
Coming up to the hour mark and no points in the second half so far.
And they have got the two, straight through from Jarrod Sammut.
Ayton, quickly from acting half-back, trying to speed
Remi Casty trying to play the ball and the penalty goes Catalans way.
Luke Walsh electing for the penalty kick and has got it through as well.
Two more points on the board, Catalans have the lead again.
The big prop Sam Moa gets up and plays the ball.
Walsh has done equally well to keep hold of it.
Attacking down the left edge, Catalans have had a lot
It is Richie Myler, keeping them down the left-hand side.
Could that be the try that gives them the win against their
The final seconds ticking away and a penalty has
Ioane has gone with the tap and a quick run.
Silence over the crowd but yes he has. It has been a fine effort from
the Championship side this afternoon but it is Catalans that will take
the points. They put themselves in a position
where they could have won this game. It doesn't help them this week. It
sounds cynical in my part, but they would have loved a win They wouldn't
have expected to. But to get that close.
Needs to keep the club together and re-enforce that. Has a massive game
this weekend in relation to Featherstone coming down to London.
They snuck up on Catalan. There is a hint from the coach. All of these
teams, as Paul has told us is, they're desperate. They want to be
at the top table. We saw that in London. The challenge for London is
they have to win a win to keep that momentum going. We learnt a lot
about the competition we entered. Do you think tucked away in the south
of France they had not clocked what they were in for. The only time they
have played a championship team is Batley. They have an inkling as to
what's to come. They travelled to Featherstone, I think, and some
grounds, what they're not going to be used to and some surrounding that
they're not going to be used to. It is not all pretty. All the changing
rooms and. : They travel to Hull to play Hull KR. I know they have been
there no Super League. A vocal crowd like Hull Kingston Rovers, the team
would have learnt a lot about the competition and the desperation of
the championship teams to get one over the opposition. As Brian says
to stay at the top table in 2018. Leigh stormed through the qualifiers
last year to earn their Super League This year you're fighting
to stay up, Paul, and a tough opener
away to Featherstone? Featherstone, we managed to dampen
the crowd with a decent start. The part-time teams in Featherstone
and Halifax want to get one over on you. It is a difficult place. People
will know what Featherstone is about when you go there. And they drew
with Hull KR in the regular season. They have beaten some teams they
shouldn't have over the year. We will move on to this weekend against
Hull KR. Coming in as a half is difficult,
into a new team and sort of embedded him in over the last month or so.
He's showing some good touches. Score sets up another one there for
Dawson with a kick. Really smart and, you know, some of our big
players stood up and finished the regular season really well against
Salford and, obviously have started to qualify in good fashion. So, we
want to continue that. And get to Super League as early as possible.
Featherstone switched coaches - do you see a different with Du if, fy
in charge? The brand of football is different to the squad that
Featherstone have assembled. Get on with it. They look like they have
learnt those lessons. They look good in part. Whatever we say about
emotion and where people are, the quality of a Super League team is
there for a reason. It's about your performance. It is about putting all
those little things into place that you probably don't get away with in
the championship. You are ready for that metal of Super League. Doesn't
allow you to dive over from dummy half many times. It is difficult to
put a game plan together consistently when you are a
part-time team. Two more games in the Qualifiers
to catch up on, starting with the all Super League clash
between Widnes and Warrington. This was the second
Cheshire Derby in as many weeks. Last time out, a comfortable
Warrington win left Widnes holding the Leeds Wooden
Spoon and it was Wolfs who opened Not the start Widnes
hoped for, but they over from close range before a neat
peace of trickery from Lloyd White put Joe Mellor in on the half hour
mark and the Vikings went A second half Lloyd
White penalty extended their lead further,
before events for the home supporters took a turn
for An acrobatic Paul Lineham pulled
the visitors back to within four points and Warrington
started to find their groove. the sticks to give his side the
lead, and slowly the game slipped Ratchford was influential
throughout the match and he helped set up the next,
storming down the right before playing in Hiku and Matty Russell
was on hard to put daylight 45 seconds in, Hull Kingston
Rovers open the scoring. Oh, Kieren Moss has
backed the second. By passes two team-mates,
finds Marshall. First try of the season
for Matty Marsh. Heaton runs in, close
to the uprights. Three metres from the Hull
Kingston Rover's goal line. Ellis rolls over, plays the ball
and Lunt will head down the right edge, to Lawler,
introduced at half time. Wrestled down five metres
from the Halifax line. Scruton is in and the Beekeepers got
the home side supporters Nick Scruton has
snatched the victory. The sense of relief must have been
incredible? . They turned the screw. Halifax clung on for the last 30
minutes. You cannot do that in these games. You have to keep attacking
and find a reason to get over the opposition line. It was a two-score
lead, a one-score lead. Scruton crashes over. Gallant from Halifax.
A tough game for them. Richard marshal's got a job on to get his
team up after such a loss. We have talked about the pressure for Super
League teams, but this has been a focus for Hull KR for a long time.
There must be pressure on them. When you're in a million pound game or
qualify automatically, you have won a championship by so many points, we
see their results towards the back ends of the season and the effort
Halifax put on. No gimmes, you have to earnt that, you have to earn your
right to be in the top four and five. First and foremost, Halifax
played well towards the end of the year and played well in that game.
They have got a big ask to get up again for this week and big
encounter against Widnes. It will be a key one for both clubs. They need
a win. Both teams need a win. As quickly as they can get that is this
weekend. One will not, barring a draw. A big week for both them
teams. I have to jump in, we are out of time. That is it for week one of
the Super 8s. My thanks to Paul and Brian. We will see you at the same
time next week. Goodbye. # So get yourself ready
This is the time # Are you up for the day?
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brand-new show. BIG BEN STRIKES
Bong! Christopher Hoy singing like
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Tanya Arnold presents highlights of all the games as the Super 8s and qualifiers get under way.
Regular season League leaders Castleford Tigers host St Helens, while reigning champions Wigan Warriors travel to their old foes, Leeds Rhinos. Elsewhere, Huddersfield Giants face Wakefield Trinity and Hull FC meet Salford Red Devils as the battle for a place in the grand final begins.
Promotion to and relegation from the Super League is at stake in the qualifiers. They kick-off with a local derby between Widnes Vikings and Warrington Wolves, Catalans Dragons play London Broncos, Featherstone Rovers are up against Leigh Centurions, while Hull KR, hoping to regain their place amongst the sport's elite, host Halifax.