Are the qualifiers really working? After the first week of the qualifiers some of the scores suggest that Super League clubs are far too good for their Championship opponents.
With the exception of Leigh vs London, the other teams Featherstone, who faced Leeds, and Batley played away to Hull KR were beaten heavily. It finished 62-6 to the Rhinos and 58-18 to James Webster’s men. Even though both the championship teams finished 3rd and 4th in the championship they were completely blown away and it is very hard to see either of them challenging for a super league place for 2017. Also for Hull KR and Leeds they weren’t challenged and looking back they may compare it to a training session.
However this may be different when they face Leigh and London. These two faced each other on Saturday and it finished 34-30 to Leigh. Now, Leigh look like the most likely to secure a place for super league next year especially with there mid season signings. Despite winning the match, Leigh conceded 22 points in the final 5 minutes. Judging by this game, they seem to rely on outscoring teams and whether they can do it against super league standard teams is a question that will be answered over the next 6 weeks. But they do have Travis Burns on loan from Saints, Josh Drinkwater as well as one club man Martyn Ridyard as options for the stand off and scrum half roles so they are definitely capable of scoring plenty of points.
London Broncos were good in attack against the Centurions but there leaky defence could be a problem as they try and get promoted. Also as scrum half Jamie Soward was sent off he may be banned for a few games (he does have an early guilty plea available) which makes it a lot harder for the Broncos.
Despite my worries, we will only be able to really judge the qualifiers at the end of the season. I hope that all the teams (realistically only Leigh and London) give the qualifiers a good go and hopefully we see some good quality action.
4. Hull KR
In six weeks time I hope that I can write another article saying how good the middle eights have been!!